The highest honor an individual athlete can receive is being inducted into the Hall of Fame in their respective sport. Players can play for multiple teams throughout their career and be recognized as a member of each one. For a player to count as a member of a team for Hall of Fame purposes, they must be on the roster for at least a full season.
Over the years, some teams have rebranded and changed their names, and the players from older teams are still included in their number of Hall of Famers. Here are the teams that can claim to have the most Hall of Famers to play for their organization.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been an organization since 1917 and have also played under the names Toronto Arenas (1918-19) and Toronto St. Pats (1919-27). They are considered a part of the “Original Six,” which were the only six teams that comprised the NHL from 1942-67. An astounding 62 players from the Toronto Maple Leafs organization have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, the most out of any team in any sport. The number of Hall of Famers for the team has dramatically decreased since the expansion of the league, and the most notable Hall of Famers are mostly old-timers like Darryl Sittler, Turk Broda and Tim Horton.
The Chicago Bears have been around since 1920 and are one of the most storied franchises of the league. Even though the Bears have only won one Super Bowl, 30 players have been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. Chicago saw most of its success before the Super Bowl era, winning eight NFL Championships. Notable players inducted into the Hall of Fame include Walter Payton, Mike Ditka, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher.
The Boston Celtics own the bragging rights as the team with the most Hall of Famers in the NBA. Since 1946, the team has won 17 NBA titles, the most of any team in the league. In the most dominant stretches in all of sports, Boston won 11 NBA Championships in 13 years from 1956 to 1969. The 1956-57 roster was loaded with seven future Naismith Basketball Hall of Famers, and the team has a total of 40 former players inducted into Springfield. Bob Cousy, Larry Bird, Bill Russell and Kevin McHale are notable Celtics to be inducted.
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are known as the most successful franchise in all of sports. The team’s inaugural season was in 1903 and has 27 World Series pennants under its belt. The Yankees unsurprisingly claim the most Hall of Famers in the MLB with 28. Some of the best players in the history of the game played for the Bronx Bombers like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. The most recent Yankees to join Cooperstown are Derek Jeter in the class of 2020, and in 2019, Mariano Rivera became the first unanimous Hall of Fame selection in MLB history.