Lively Tales About Dead Teams

1990-1994 Louisville IceHawks

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East Coast Hockey League (1990-1994)

Born: April 1990 – ECHL expansion franchise.
Died: 1994 – The IceHawks suspend operations and later move to Jacksonville, FL.

Arena: Broadbent Arena (6,410)

Team Colors: White, Black, Sunflower Yellow & Burnt Orange

Owners:

 

The Louisville IceHawks were a minor league hockey outfit that played during the early years of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).  The club served as a second-tier farm club of the Chicago Blackhawks and Hartford Whalers during its inaugural season of 1990-91 and later supported the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning (1992-1993) and Pittsburgh Penguins (1993-1994).

Serial hockey investor Horn Chen acquired the club from founder Leo Hunstiger in the early 1990′s and operated the IceHawks during their final seasons at Broadbent Arena.  Chen shuttered the team following the 1993-94 season and the franchise went into inactive status for a year.  In 1995, Chen reanimated the team as the Jacksonville Lizard Kings (1995-2000).

In 1995 the ECHL returned to Broadbent Arena after a year’s absence with the formation of the Louisville River Frogs, who lasted three seasons from 1995 through 1998.

 

==Links==

East Coast Hockey League Media Guides

East Coast Hockey League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

April 15th, 2014 at 11:03 am

1970 Sumter Indians

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Western Carolinas League (1970)

Born: December 1, 1969 – The Monroe (NC) Indians relocate to Sumter, SC.
Died: 1971 - Affiliate change to Sumter Astros.

Stadium: Riley Park

Team Colors:

Owner: Joe Buzas

 

The Sumter Indians were a South Carolina minor league baseball team that played for only one season in the summer of 1970.  Sumter was a new addition to the six-team Western Carolinas League, replacing a faltering Indians farm club that split the 1969 season between the small North Carolina cities of Statesville and Monroe.  The Indians were the first pro baseball team to call Sumter home since the Sumter Chicks of 1949-1950.

Notable players included 18-year old third baseman Buddy Bell and 21-year old pitcher Jim Kern.  Both became Major League All-Stars for the Cleveland Indians and later for the Texas Rangers.

Attendance was miserable with fewer than 300 spectators per game for the first two months of the 1970 season according to The Sumter Daily Item.  Following the 1970 season the Indians withdrew from Sumter and were replaced by the Houston Astros for the 1971 season.  The Astros also lasted just one season and Sumter went without pro baseball again from 1972 until 1985.

 

==Links==

Western Carolinas League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

April 7th, 2014 at 3:03 am

1966 Oneonta Red Sox

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New York-Penn League (1966)

Born: 1966 – The Wellsville Red Sox relocate to Oneonta, NY.
Died:1967 – Affiliation change to Oneonta Yankees

Stadium: Damaschke Field

Team Colors:

Owner: Joe Buzas

 

The Oneonta Red Sox were a Class A farm club in the New York-Penn League for one season in the summer of 1966.  A previous incarnation of the Oneonta Red Sox played in the Class C Can-Am League from 1946 to 1951.

The team featured a pair of teenage Red Sox prospects who would go on to long Major League careers in pitcher Ken Brett (brother of George) and outfielder Amos Otis.  The 1966 O-Sox finished 65-59-1 (yes, they had a tie), good for fourth place in the six team NY-Penn League.

The 1966 Oneonta club was one of dozens owned by legendary minor league operator Joe Buzas between 1958 and his death in 2003.  Buzas had close ties with the Boston Red Sox – he also operated their Class AA farm team in Pittsfield, Massachusetts at the time.

After his first season in Oneonta, Buzas sold the team to a local consortium led by Oneonta Mayor and longtime baseball booster Sam Nader.  During the same winter offseason, the Red Sox pulled their affiliation and the New York Yankees replaced them for the 1967 season.

 

==Links==

New York-Penn League Media Guides

New York-Penn League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

April 7th, 2014 at 2:31 am

1964-1965 Raleigh Cardinals

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Carolina League (1964-1965)

Born: 1964 – Affiliation change from Raleigh Mets.
Died: 1966 – Affiliation change to Raleigh Pirates.

Stadium: Devereux Meadow

Team Colors:

Owner:

 

Raleigh, North Carolina hosted a franchise in the Carolina League from the formation of that loop in 1945 until.  During the city’s last decade in the league from 1962 to 1971, the ball club changed identities six times as Major League organizations kicked the affiliate back and forth every couple of years.

The St. Louis Cardinals came in for two summers in 1964 and 1965. George Kissell managed the Cards in 1964 and Ray Hathaway helmed the team in 1965.

The best player to come out of Raleigh during the Cards era was pitcher Mike Torrez, who went 4-8 for the team as an 18-year old in 1965.  Torrez went on to win 185 games in an 18-year Major League between 1967 and 1984.

The Pittsburgh Pirates took over the affiliation in 1966 and the team was re-named the Raleigh Pirates. Devereux Meadow ballpark was demolished in 1979.

 

==Links==

Carolina League Media Guides

Carolina League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

April 6th, 2014 at 7:44 pm

1978-1981 Minnesota Fillies

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Women’s Professional Basketball League (1978-1981)

Born: 1978 – WPBL founding franchise.
Died: Postseason 1981 – The WPBL ceases operations.

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owner: Gordon Nevers

 

The Minnesota Fillies were one of eight founding franchises in the Women’s Professional Basketball League in 1978, which was the first pro hoops league for women in the United States.  The Fillies were one of only three clubs, along with the Chicago Hustle and New Jersey Gems, that managed to survive for all three seasons of the WPBL’s existence from 1978 to 1981.

The Fillies made their debut on December 15, 1978 losing to the Iowa Cornets 103-81 at the Met Center in Bloomington before an announced crowd of 4,102.  That first season was marred by a revolving door of head coaches.  Three different women and two men coached the Fillies through training camp and a 34-game regular season schedule.  The coaches included team owner Gordon Nevers, a former mortician with no previous basketball experience. The Fillies finished the 1978-79 season with a 17-17 record and missed the playoffs.

The Fillies finest season was their second one.  Nevers hired former University of Minnesota star Terry Kunze to coach the team and the Fillies responded with a 22-12 record.  They defeated the New Orleans Pride in the playoff quarterfinals, setting up a best-of-three series with their arch rivals, the Iowa Cornets, in the semis in March 1980.  The Fillies blew out the Cornets in Game One by a 108-87 margin, but Iowa won the next two games and ended the Fillies’ run.

The Fillies third and final season in the winter of 1980-81 was marred by the financial problems of owner Gordon Nevers and the league itself.  The club left the Met Center in favor of the smaller, older Minneapolis Auditorium, which was better suited to the typical Fillies’ crowd of around 1,000 people a night.  Missed payrolls culminated in a March 21, 1981 protest by Terry Kunze and eight Fillies players prior to a game in Chicago.  The disgruntled team members walked off the court just before tipoff and refused to return.  The game was cancelled and awarded to Chicago via forfeit, dropping the Fillies record to a league-worst 7-25.  WBL Commissioner Sherwin Fischer suspended Kunze and the eight players indefinitely.

The Fillies finished out the season using replacement players.  The Faux-Fillies lost their first game by 48 points and finished the season 7-28.

Whether or not Nevers and his partners could have or would have re-capitalized the team for another season became a moot point when the rest of the Women’s Professional Basketball League folded before a fourth season could be staged.

 

==Fillies Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1978-79 1/12/1979  vs. New York Stars  W 96-90 Program
1978-79 2/16/1979 vs. Houston Angels L 105-95 Program
1979-80 12/4/1979 @ Dallas Diamonds W 102-91 Program

 

==Downloads==

1978-79 Women’s Professional Basketball League Brochure

 

 

==Links==

Full of Heart in an Empty House“, Sarah Pileggi, Sports Illustrated, March 10, 1980

Women’s Professional Basketball League Media Guides

Women’s Professional Basketball League Programs

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