The Yankees of the Negro leagues were the Pittsburgh-based Homestead Grays, led by Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard. Those two, known as the black Ruth and Gehrig, respectively, led the Grays to nine pennants and two World Series titles from 1937 to '45. Gibson may have been the best player in all of baseball: A .354 lifetime hitter, he slammed 75 home runs as a 19-year-old rookie for the Grays in 1931 and finished, by one count, with 823 career homers.
Russian Pairs Skaters
In the past 35 years Russian pairs have won 29 world championships and 10 straight Olympic gold medals. No pair better defined the elegance and discipline of the Russian skaters than the beautiful Ekaterina Gordeeva and her late husband Sergei Grinkov. Harmonious, balletic and effortlessly athletic, this Moscow couple won four world titles and two Olympic golds, capturing the hearts of audiences the world over before Grinkov died of a heart attack at the age of 28.
With 24 Stanley Cups since 1916, the Montreal Canadiens have been the dominant team of the century, but the best of the best were the Flying Frenchmen who won five straight Cups starting in 1956. Led by 10 future Hall of Famers—including Maurice and Henri Richard, Jean Béliveau, Bernie Geoffrion and Jacques Plante—these Habs boasted two All-Star lines and the NHL's stingiest defense for five years running.
From 1941 to 1958, Calumet Farm in Lexington, Ky., bred and raced two Triple Crown winners—Whirlaway (1941) and Citation (1948)—and five other Kentucky Derby winners: Pensive (1944), Ponder (1949), Hill Gail (1952), Iron Liege (1957) and Tim Tarn (1958). Seven of the farm's horses from this period were eventually voted into racing's hall of fame—most of them offspring of the farm's magnificent stallion, Bull Lea.