Overall, there have been nearly 50 pro teams playing in the city. Some are well known. Some are not. But all have played a role in making Philadelphia one of the great sports cities in the country.
Among these teams, the winningest club was the SPHAS, which stood for South Philadelphia Hebrew Association. The SPHAS, playing basketball under Coach Eddie Gottlieb, and playing in three different leagues, appeared in 18 championship games and won 13 of them over a 22-year period that ran between the 1920s and 1940s. Among the team’s top players over that period were Red Klotz, Jerry Fleisman, Harry Litwack, Inky Lautman, and Hughie Black.
During a 50-year period in which Negro League baseball thrived in the Philadelphia area, three different teams over that time won championships. The Philadelphia Giants were champions of what was known as the World’s Colored Championship in 1904 and 1906. The Hilldale Daisies from Darby, PA, won the Colored World Series in 1926, and the Philadelphia Stars captured a title in 1934 in the Negro National League. Among players with those teams were future Hall of Famers, Pop Lloyd, Rube Foster, Louis Santop, Biz Mackey, Judy Johnson, and Oscar Charleston.
The Philadelphia Soul, members of the Arena Football League, won crowns in 2008, 2016, and 2017. Two outdoor football teams have won championships, including the Philadelphia Quakers in 1926 in the American Football League, and the Philadelphia Stars in 1984 in the United States Football League.
The Philadelphia Wings, led in their early years by three-time Most Valuable Player, Gary Gait, played in box lacrosse leagues for 28 years, and won championships in 1989, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1998, and 2001.
Since the first team skated into a rink in 1927, Philadelphia has been the home of 11 pro ice hockey teams. The city’s first ice hockey championship arrived in 1936 when a team called the Philadelphia Ramblers, with former Flyers goaltender and present general manager Ron Hextall’s Grandfather Bryan Hextall in the lineup, won the Canadian-American League title.
The Philadelphia Firebirds won the North American Hockey League title in 1976, and the Philadelphia Phantoms won two Calder Cups in the American Hockey League with crowns in 1998 and 2005.
In soccer, the Philadelphia Kixx won Major Indoor Soccer League titles in 2002 and 2007. The Philadelphia Atoms won the North American Soccer League flag in 1973.
Among the city’s other winners were the Philadelphia Barrage, which won Steinfeld Cup championships in 2004, 2006, and 2007 in the Major Lacrosse League. The tennis team called the Philadelphia Freedoms won titles in 2001 and 2006 in the World Team Tennis League.