Whitewash (sport)

In sport, a whitewash or sweep (N. America) is a series in which a person or team wins every game.

Usage by sport


In Major League Baseball, teams typically play multiple games against each other. If one team wins all the games in that series, it's considered a 'series sweep', or, more commonly, simply a 'sweep'. In many cases, fans of the team in the favoured position, when all but one contest in the current series have been won, will bring brooms (either real brooms or large props for better visibility) to the ballpark with which to taunt the losing team.

On rare occasions, a season sweep can be accomplished, in which every contest between two teams is won by the same team. Intra-division season sweeps are relatively rare, since with the relatively large number of games against intra-division teams (19 per divisional matchup), the division rivals are more likely to find at least one lucky matchup. In cases where two teams only play each other once in the season, there is no distinction made between a series and season sweep.

The World Series has been a best-of-seven series since its inception in 1903, except for the period between 1919 and 1922 when it was a best-of-nine series. There have been nineteen occasions where the championship was decided in four games: 1914, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1938, 1939, 1950, 1954, 1963, 1966, 1976, 1989, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2012.


The NBA Playoffs comprises four rounds of best-of-seven series; any team that wins the first four games of a playoff series would have accomplished a series sweep. There have been nine occasions where the NBA Finals ended in four games: 1959, 1971, 1975, 1983, 1989, 1995, 2002, 2007, and 2018. The Golden State Warriors are the only team to have swept two NBA Finals series.

Ice hockey

The Stanley Cup Playoffs comprises four rounds of best-of-seven series; any team that wins the first four games of a playoff series would have accomplished a series sweep. The Stanley Cup Finals became a best-of-seven series in 1939; since that year, there have been nineteen occasions where the cup was decided in four games: 1941, 1943, 1944, 1949, 1952, 1960, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1976, 1977, 1982, 1983, 1988, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998. As of 2020, there has not been an instance where a team has achieved a 4–0 series sweep in the Stanley Cup Finals since 1998; as a result, the NHL has gone 21 seasons (or 22 years) without a sweep in the finals, making it the longest active drought in the history of the North American major professional sports leagues.


In cricket, a whitewash is when a team wins all the matches played in a series of at least 3 matches.

Examples include:


The term whitewash is also used in rugby when one team loses every match in a particular series. The team that comes last in the Six Nations Championship has the ignominy of being awarded the wooden spoon, even if they have not suffered a complete whitewash.


In ATP and WTA tennis, the term whitewash is used when a player fails to win a game in a match (6–0, 6–0, 6–0; or 6–0, 6–0), also called a triple- or double-bagel respectively. Double bagels are more common.

See also

Uses material from the Wikipedia article Whitewash (sport), released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.