While men’s rings are big business, there is one ring that most boys grow up dreaming about possessing at some point: a championship ring. Championship rings mean that you are at the pinnacle of your sport. May it be baseball, basketball, football or hockey, championships are what the business is all about.
Whether or not you let championships define you more often has to do with how your career goes. If you’ve won them you wouldn’t change them in for anything. If you haven’t, hey, you would have liked one but you were a great overall player. Two of the most famous all-time great players to never win a championship in their sport were football quarterback Dan Marino and baseball shortstop Ernie Banks. Marino’s Miami Dolphins made the Super Bowl his first season, then lost and never made it back. Although he held many records at the end of his career, he is known as the greatest quarterback to never win a Super Bowl.
History judges Ernie Banks a bit kinder. A Hall of Fame shortstop for the Chicago Cubs in the 60’s, Banks played on some notoriously bad (and some say cursed) Cubs teams which famously didn’t win a playoff series for around a century. Because of this (and the fact that he’s so likeable) Banks usually gets a pass and continues to be one of the most beloved players in Cubs history.
Going to the other side of the spectrum, winning multiple championships takes not only skill but longevity. While hundreds of players have won multiple championships, three stand above everyone else. Of those three, two players lead with eleven championships each: basketball’s Bill Russell and hockey’s Henri Richard. Both players were key factors in two of the biggest dynasties in sports history. Playing forward for the Boston Celtics, Russell won his eleven championships in just thirteen seasons including eight straight titles from 1959-1966. Similarly, Richard’s Montreal Canadian’s were the dominate team of 50’s, 60’s and 70’s winning his eleven cups in eighteen seasons.
In baseball, beloved catcher of the dominate 50’s and 60’s Yankees dynasty, Yogi Berra, holds the record with ten rings. Berra won his ten championships between 1947 thru 1962, helping to anchor a team full of such Hall of Famers as Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford.
While children may dream of winning a championship someday in their favorite sport, few could imagine winning enough to fill each finger on both hands. It’s one thing to be on a team that wins, it’s a whole other thing to be on eleven of them. These truly are the greatest.