Lively Tales About Dead Teams

1968-1970 Los Angeles Stars

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Los Angeles Stars vs. Dallas Chaparalls. January 7, 1970American Basketball Association (1968-1970)

Born: 1968 – The Anaheim Amigos relocate to Los Angeles, CA.
Died: June 11, 1970 – The Stars relocate to Salt Lake City, UT.

Arena: Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena

Team Colors:

Owner: Jim Kirst

 

The Los Angeles Stars basketball team was a short-lived effort by the American Basketball Association to plant its flag in L.A. during the early years of its rivalry with the National Basketball Association.  The Stars labored in the shadows of the NBA’s Lakers and never established a substantial following.

1968-69 Los Angeles Stars Media GuideThe Stars, coached by Hall-of-Famer (and future Lakers coach) Bill Sharman, did enjoy a thrilling Cinderella playoff run at the end of its second and final season in L.A.  As late as March 1970, the Stars sat in last place in the ABA’s Western Division.  But Sharman’s club had talent, sparked by guard Mack Calvin and fellow rookie Willie Wise at small forward.  A late season surge saw the Stars grab the final Western Division playoff spot with a 43-31 fourth place finish.  The Stars then upended the Dallas Chaparrals and the  top-seeded Denver Rockets to earn a trip to the ABA Championship Series against the Indiana Pacers.  The Pacers, a league-best 59-25 in the  regular season, ended the Stars’ unlikely run with a 4-2 series victory.

The 6th and deciding game of the 1970 ABA Championship Series was held at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena on May 25, 1970.  The Pacers won 111-107 before 8,233 fans – the largest crowd in Stars franchise history.  It was also the last crowd in the team’s brief existence in Southern California.  By this time, the Stars departure was already in the works.  Owner Jim Kirst sold the troubled club to Denver-based cable television entrepreneur Bill Daniels in March of 1970.  Two weeks following the Game 6 loss in the finals, Daniels announced the club would move to Salt Lake City for the 1970-71 ABA season.

Daniels’ Utah Stars became a league powerhouse during the early 1970’s, appearing in three more ABA finals series, and winning the championship in 1971.  The franchise folded in December 1975 and the ABA closed down the following spring.

 

==Los Angeles Stars Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
1969-70 1/7/1970 vs. Dallas Chaparrals L 114-112 Program
1969-70 3/4/1970 vs. Denver Rockets W 135-122 Program
1969-70 4/14/1970 @ Dallas Chaparrals  L 129-113 Program

 

==In Memoriam==

Forward Wayne Hightower (Stars ’69-’70) died of a heart attack on April 18, 2002. He was 62.  New York Times obituary.

Former Stars Head Coach Bill Sharman passed away at age 87 on October 25, 2013.

 

==Links==

Los Angeles Stars on RememberTheABA.com

American Basketball Association Media Guides

American Basketball Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

October 20th, 2014 at 2:42 am

1983-1984 Philadelphia Stars

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Philadelphia Stars USFLUnited States Football League (1983-1984)

Born: May 11, 1982 – USFL founding franchise.
Died: October 1984 – The Stars relocate to Baltimore, MD.

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Owner: Myles Tannenbaum

 

 

 

==Philadelphia Stars Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
3/6/1983 @ Denver Gold W 13-7 Program Video
4/16/1983 @ Oakland Invaders W 17-7 Program
5/29/1983 @ Boston Breakers  L 21-17 Video
7/9/1983 vs. Chicago Blitz W 44-38 (OT) Program Video
7/17/1983 Michigan Panthers L 24-22 Program Video
4/15/1984 vs. Chicago Blitz W 41-7 Program
5/13/1984 vs. Los Angeles Express W 18-14 Video
6/30/1984 vs. New Jersey Generals W 28-7 Video
7/7/1984 vs. Birmingham Stallions W 20-10 Program
7/15/1985 Arizona Wranglers W 23-3 Program Video

 

==Key Players==

 

==YouTube==

1983 USFL Championship Game on ABC Sports.  Michigan Panthers vs. Philadelphia Stars at Denver, Co. July 17, 1983…

1984 Inside The USFL feature on the Stars’ remarkable track record…

==In Memoriam==

Former Stars linebacker Sam Mills passed away April 18, 2005 at age 45 after a two-year battle with cancer.

Stars founder and owner Myles Tannenbaum died on August 31, 2012 at the age of 82 years old.

 

==Links==

United States Football League Media Guides

United States Football League Programs

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1978-1981 Springfield Redbirds

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Springfield Redbirds ProgramAmerican Association (1978-1981)

Born: 1978 – The New Orleans Pelicans relocate to Springfield, IL.
Died: November 11, 1981 – The Redbirds relocate to Louisville, KY.

Stadium: Lanphier Park

Team Colors:

Owner: A. Ray Smith

 

The Springfield Redbirds were a Class AAA farm club of the St. Louis Cardinals that played for four summers at Springfield, Illinois’ Lanphier Park.

Key future Major Leaguers who came through Springfield during this era included Leon Durham (1979-1980), Tom Herr (1978-1980), Terry Kennedy (1978-1979), Donnie Moore (1980-1981) and Ken Oberkfell (1978) among others.

The Redbirds won the 1980 championship of the American Association, with Hal Lanier as field manager.

Prior to the Redbirds final season in Springfield in 1981, team owner A. Ray Smith signed a six-year contract with the city of Springfield to lease Lanphier Park for $50,000 per season through 1986.  But at the end of that summer, smelling a sweeter deal in Louisville, Kentucky, Smith broke the lease and uprooted his club for the second time in five years.  The American Association owners voted 7-1 to allow the move in November 1981.  The city of Springfield responded with a lawsuit against Smith and the league in December.

Ultimately, Smith paid a six-figure settlement to the city of Springfield and was allowed to run off to Kentucky.  In Louisville, the Redbirds became one of the top minor league attractions of the 1980’s and the first minor league team to attract one million fans in a single season in 1983.  Springfield, meanwhile, received a Class A Midwest League farm club – the Springfield Cardinals – in 1982 to replace the departing Redbirds.  The Cardinals played from 1982 until 1993.

 

==Links==

American Association Media Guides

American Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

October 12th, 2014 at 2:04 pm

1980 Syracuse Hornets

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Eastern Hockey League (1980)

Born: August 1980 – EHL expansion franchise.
Died: November 11, 1980 – The Hornets fold in midseason.

Arena: State Fairgrounds Coliseum

Team Colors:

Owner: Gaetan Gagne

 

The Syracuse Hornets were an ill-fated minor league hockey team that lasted just 10 games in the fall of 1980 before going out of business.  The club, owned by local contractor Gaetan Gagne, joined the Eastern Hockey League as an expansion franchise in the summer of 1980.  The Hornets replaced the departing Syracuse Firebirds (1979-1980) of the higher-level American Hockey League.  But the Hornets did not take over the Firebirds’ old lease at the Onondaga County War Memorial, the longtime home of pro hockey in Syracuse.  Instead the Hornets would play at the smaller, cheaper State Fairgrounds Coliseum.

The Hornets were unable to secure a parent club affiliation with an NHL team.  This left Head Coach and General Manager Bill Horton, a former Syracuse Blazers player, to compile an independent roster of castoffs and tryout camp wanna-bes.  Even at the relatively low level of competition in the EHL, the Hornets were desperately outclassed.  They went o-9-1 in the first ten games of the season, yielding an obscene 99 goals.

The Hornets’ financial situation was equally desperate.  The team sold fewer than 100 season tickets and crowds at the Coliseum numbered in the hundreds.  In early November, the team ran out of funds and did not appear for road games in Baltimore and Salem, Virginia.  A last ditch effort to move the Hornets to Utica fell through and the Hornets closed their doors on November 11, 1980.  The team played only 10 of 72 scheduled games and folded without ever celebrating a win.

 

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1979-1981 Richmond Rifles

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Eastern Hockey League (1979-1981)

Born: 1979 – The Cape Cod Freedoms relocate to Richmond, VA.
Died: 1981 – The Rifles cease operations.

Arena: Richmond Coliseum (9,674)

Team Colors: Blue, Red & White

Owner: Sandy Reiss

 

The Richmond Rifles were a low-level minor league hockey outfit that played for two seasons at the Richmond Coliseum between 1979 and 1981.  The team served as a farm club for both the New York Rangers (1979-1981) and Winnipeg Jets (1980-1981) of the NHL.

The Rifles franchise originated in Concord, New Hampshire in 1978 as the New Hampshire Freedoms, but team owner Sandy Reiss lasted only a month in the Granite State before hauling his club south to the Cape Cod Coliseum.  During the 1979 offseason, Reiss moved again, hoping the third time would be the charm in Richmond.

The Rifles played for the championship of the Eastern Hockey League at the end of their second season in April 1980.  They lost to the Erie Blades in four games.  Both the Rifles and the rest of the EHL would go out of business shortly thereafter.

 

==Richmond Rifles Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1979-80 11/10/1979  @ Baltimore Clippers  ?? Program

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Written by andycrossley

October 4th, 2014 at 7:20 pm