Lively Tales About Dead Teams

1967-1969 Oakland Clippers

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Oakland ClippersNational Professional Soccer League (1967)
North American Soccer League (1968)
Independent (1968-1969)

Born: 1967 – NPSL founding franchise
Folded: June 4, 1969

Stadiums: 

Team Colors:

Owners: Joseph O’Neill, H.T. Hilliard & William Brinton

NPSL Champions: 1967
NASL Championships: None

 

The Oakland Clippers were one of ten founding franchises in the National Professional Soccer League of 1967. The league featured investors from Major League Baseball and the National Football League and was one of the first efforts at launching a true top flight soccer league in the United States. The team was initially known as the California Clippers when the NPSL kicked off in the spring of 1967, then switched to the Oakland Clippers moniker midway through the season.

With a roster full of Yugoslavs, the Clippers were the class of the NPSL in 1967. They compiled a league-best 19-8-5 record and went undefeated at the Oakland Coliseum. Serbian midfielder Ilija Mitic led the squad in scoring with 13 goals and 3 assists.

The Clippers faced the Baltimore Bays in the two-game NPSL championship series in September 1967. After dropping the 1st leg on the road in Baltimore, the Clippers took the title with a commanding 4-1 victory over the Bays in Oakland on September 9, 1967. Midseason pick-up Dragan Djukic put the game away with a first half hat trick.

 

Oakland Clippers Memorabilia

 

California Clippers Video

Clippers vs. Dynamo Kiev friendly at Kezar Stadium. February 23, 1969.

 

Links

National Professional Soccer League Media Guides

National Professional Soccer League Programs

North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs

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1977-1993 Geneva Cubs

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Geneva CubsNew York-Penn League (1977-1993)

Born: 1977
Moved: 1993 (Williamsport Cubs)

Stadium: McDonough Park

Major League Affiliation: Chicago Cubs

Owners:

New York-Penn League Champions: 1978, 1987 & 1992

 

The Geneva Cubs were the short-season Class A farm club of the Chicago Cubs for nearly two decades. The small city of approximately 13,000 is part of the Finger Lakes region of New York.

Despite Geneva’s long run with the Cubs, remarkably few impact Major League players ever came through McDonough Park. The Cubs’ top prospects of the era, Mark Grace and Rafael Palmeiro, both bypassed Geneva. The best known Major Leaguers to come out of Geneva during the Cubs years were Billy Hatcher (Geneva ’81), Jamie Moyer (Geneva ’84) and Brendan Donnelly (Geneva ’93).

Local owner Paul Velte moved the team to Williamsport, Pennsylvania after the 1993 season.

 

Geneva Cubs Memorabilia

 

Links

Our Towns; A 4-30 Managed Learns to Play Utility Infielder“, Michael Winerip, The New York Times, July 22, 1988

New York-Penn League Media Guides

New York-Penn League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

June 24th, 2017 at 3:15 pm

1969-1997 Tucson Toros

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Tucson TorosPacific Coast League (1969-1997)

Born: 1969
Re-Branded: 1998 (Tucson Sidewinders)

Stadium: Hi Corbett Field

Major League Affiliations:

  • 1969-1972: Chicago White Sox
  • 1973-1976: Oakland A’s
  • 1977-1979: Texas Rangers
  • 1980-1996: Houston Astros
  • 1997: Milwaukee Brewers

Owners:

PCL Champions: 1991 & 1993

 

Text coming soon…

 

Tucson Toros Memorabilia

 

Links

Pacific Coast League Media Guides

Pacific Coast League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

June 13th, 2017 at 2:45 am

1955-1963 Boise Braves

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Boise BravesPioneer League (1955-1963)

Born: 1955 – Affiliation change from Boise Pilots
Folded: 1963

Stadium:

Major League Affiliation: Milwaukee Braves

Owners: Capital City Baseball Inc. (Sib Kleffner, et al.)

Pioneer League Champions: 1956, 1958 & 1960

 

The Boise Braves were a Class C farm club of the Milwaukee Braves from 1955 until 1963. (The Idahoans were Class A for their final season following the 1963 re-organization of Minor League Baseball).

Notable players who came through Boise during this era included Sandy Alomar Sr. (Boise ’62), Clay Carroll (Boise ’62), Tony Cloninger (Boise ’59), Lee Maye (Boise ’55) and Bob Uecker (Boise ’56 & ’58).

In 1960, a 24-year old infielder named Bill Lucas hit .311 for Boise in 123 games. Lucas never made the Majors as a player. But in 1976 he became the first African-American general manager in Major League Baseball with the Atlanta Braves. Technically, Lucas’ title was Director of Player Personnel, as Braves owner Ted Turner retained the General Manager title, if not the duties, for himself. Tragically his time with the Braves was short. Lucas died of a massive heart attack on May 4th, 1979 at the young age of 43.

The team encountered financial problems by the early 1960’s. In August 1963 local shareholders known as Capital City Baseball Inc. notified the Pioneer League that the franchise planned to disband at the end of the 1963 season.  A few months after the Braves final campaign ended, the Idaho Department of Fish & Game purchased the Braves’ former ballpark and demolished it. Boise went without professional baseball for more than a decade until the formation of the Pioneer League’s Boise A’s in 1975.

 

In Memoriam

Bill Lucas (Boise ’60) died of cardiac arrest and cerebral hemorrhage on May 4, 1979 at age 43. New York Times obituary.

Al Unser, who managed Boise in 1962, passed on July 7, 1995 at the age of 82.

Lee Maye (Boise ’57) passed away of pancreatic cancer at age 67 on July 17, 2002.

 

Links

Pioneer League Media Guides

Pioneer League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

June 4th, 2017 at 2:28 pm

1991-92 Music City Jammers

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Music City JammersGlobal Basketball Association (1991-1992)

Born: 1991 – GBA founding franchise
Moved: 1992 (Jackson Jammers)

Arena: Nashville Municipal Auditorium

Team Colors:

Owner: Larry Schmittou, et al.

GBA Champions: 1992

 

The Music City Jammers were a Nashville-based minor league basketball outfit that lasted for just one season in the early 1990’s. The club was part of the Global Basketball Association, an all-but-forgotten loop with teams in the Southeast and Midwest. The managing partner of the Jammers was Larry Schmittou, long-time owner of Nashville’s popular Nashville Sounds minor league baseball club.

Schmittou wasn’t able to translate his magic touch from the baseball diamond to Nashville’s leaky Municipal Auditorium. A January 1992 profile of the Jammers in The Tennessean reported that the Jammers averaged fewer than 400 paid tickets per game through the team’s first 11 home dates.

On the court, the Jammers were mediocre. The team finished the regular season in 4th place in their division and barely earned the GBA’s eighth and final playoff spot. In fact, Music City’s record of 24-40 was second worst in the league. But the Jammers got hot at the right time. They eliminated the Huntsville Lasers in the first round and dispatched the Mid-Michigan Great Lakers in the semis. To cap it off, the Jammers knocked off the Greensboro City Gaters in the finals to claim the Global Basketball Association’s first (and only) championship.

Low attendance in Nashville forced Larry Schmittou to move the Jammers to Jackson, Tennessee.  The re-named Jackson Jammers returned to defend their title in November of 1992. But the Global Basketball Association came apart one month into its second season and folded on December 19, 1992.

Links

Global Basketball Association Pocket Schedules

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Written by Drew Crossley

May 29th, 2017 at 11:02 pm

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