Lively Tales About Dead Teams

1966-1974 San Diego Gulls

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1969-70 San Diego Gulls WHL Media GuideWestern Hockey League (1966-1974)

Born: 1966 – WHL expansion franchise
Folded: June 1974

Arena: San Diego Sports Arena

Team Colors:

Owner: Bob Breitbard

Lester Patrick Cup Championships: None

 

The San Diego Gulls were a popular entry in the minor Western Hockey League in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.  The club was the brainchild of veteran San Diego sports booster Bob Breitbard, who oversaw construction of the San Diego Sports Arena in 1966 and owned both of its major tenants: the Gulls and the NBA’s San Diego Rockets.

Tax pressures on the Arena overtook Breitbard in 1971, forcing him to sell off the Rockets basketball team to Houston interests and relinquish control of the Arena to Canadian businessman Peter Graham.  But Breitbard held onto the Gulls for several more seasons and continued to nurture dreams of attracting a National Hockey League expansion franchise to San Diego. Meanwhile, the Gulls continued to pull strong crowds throughout the early Seventies, both for WHL play and for a pair of high profile international exhibitions against the Soviet National Team.

The death knell for the San Diego Gulls WHL franchise rang in the spring of 1974. The National Hockey League went to war with the upstart World Hockey Association over players and expansion markets. The NHL awarded expansion franchises to long-time WHL cities Denver and Seattle. Arena owner Peter Graham served an eviction notice on the Gulls to make way for the relocating Jersey Knights of the WHA. Without a building or a viable league to play in, the Gulls called it quits in June 1974.

The “Gulls” nickname has subsequently been revived by three different San Diego minor league hockey franchises. Most recently, the American Hockey League’s San Diego Gulls opened for business in the fall of 2015.

 

San Diego Gulls Programs

 

==In Memoriam==

Gulls founder Bob Breitbard passed away on May 17, 2010 at the age of 91. San Diego Union-Tribune obit.

 

==Links==

SanDiegoGulls.org – excellent fan history site

Western Hockey League Media Guides

Western Hockey League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

June 20th, 2016 at 4:47 pm

1970-1984 Wichita Aeros

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1972 Wichita Aeros ProgramAmerican Association (1970-1974)

Founded: 1970 – American Association expansion franchise
Moved: September 1984 (Buffalo Bisons)

Stadium: Lawrence-Dumont Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner: Milton Glickman

American Association Championships: None

 

The Aeros were Wichita, Kansas’ Class AAA baseball club from 1970 through 1984.  For majority of their run, the Aeros were the top farm club of the Chicago Cubs (1972-1980).

Future Major League stars Buddy Bell, Eric Davis, John Franco, Bruce Sutter and Lee Smith all spent time with the Aeros on their way up to the bigs.

After 15 seasons, long-time owner Milton Glickman sold the Aeros for a reported $1.0 million to Bob Rich in September 1984. Rich moved the team to Buffalo, New York where it became the Buffalo Bisons.

After the Aeros left town, Wichita went without minor league baseball for two summers. Pro ball returned to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in 1987 with the formation of the Class AA Wichita Wranglers of the Texas League.

 

Wichita Aeros Programs

 

Links

American Association Media Guides

American Association Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

June 8th, 2016 at 11:58 pm

1979-1993 Toronto Blizzard

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1979 Toronto Blizzard Media GuideNorth American Soccer League (1979-1984)
Canadian Soccer League (1987-1992)
American Professional Soccer League (1993)

Founded: February 1979 – Re-branded from Toronto Metros-Croatia.
Folded: Postseason 1993

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Owners:

  • 1979-1981: Global Television Network
  • 1981-????: York-Hanover

NASL Soccer Bowl Championships: None
CSL Championships: None
APSL Championships: None

 

Text coming soon…

 

Toronto Blizzard Programs

 

YouTube

Blizzard at Montreal Manic. April 18, 1981

 

Links

North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs

Canadian Soccer League Programs

American Professional Soccer League Programs

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1980 Auburn Americans

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1980 Auburn Americans ProgramNew York-Penn League (1980)

Born: 1980 – Re-branded from Auburn Red Stars
Folded: Postseason 1980

Stadium: Falcon Park

Team Colors:

Owners: Auburn Community Baseball

New York-Penn League Championships: None

 

The Auburn Americans were a co-op minor league baseball team that played for just one season in the New York-Penn League in the summer of 1980. Co-op teams don’t have a player development contract with one Major League club. Instead they cobble together a roster from several Major League organizations. The arrangement is largely a relic of the past now, but was relatively common in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, particularly in small communities with sub-standard ballparks. Co-op teams were rarely competitive as the roster was cobbled together from other teams’ left overs.

In the case of the Auburn Americans, they received players from both the Cleveland Indians and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Only one Americans player, journeyman catcher Jack Fimple, would ever go on to play in the Major Leagues.

The Americans folded at the end of the 1980 season, leaving the New York community of Auburn without pro baseball in 1981 for the first time since 1957. After a one-year absence, minor league baseball returned to Falcon Park with the formation of the Auburn Astros in 1982.

 

==Links==

New York-Penn League Media Guides

New York-Penn League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

May 28th, 2016 at 4:09 pm

1982-1995 Auburn Astros

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1984 Auburn Astros ProgramNew York-Penn League (1982-1995)

Founded: 1982
Re-Branded: 1996 (Auburn Doubledays)

Stadium: Falcon Park

Team Colors:

Owners: Auburn Community Baseball

New York-Penn League Championships: None

 

Auburn, New York (pop. ~28,000) is one of the smallest cities in the country to host affiliated minor league baseball today. Dating back to 1958, New York-Penn League clubs at Auburn’s Falcon Park have been community-owned by a group known as Auburn Community Baseball.  The community ownership model has allowed Auburn to buck the NY-Penn League trend of the 1990’s and 2000’s which saw many small blue-collar communities in upstate New York lose their franchises to larger cities willing to construct gleaming new taxpayer-financed ballparks.

Auburn has played host to numerous New York-Penn League clubs since 1958, but the city’s longest relationship was with the National League’s Houston Astros.  After a summer without baseball in 1981, the Auburn Astros formed in 1982. Key players that came through Auburn during the Astros era included Luis Gonzalez (Auburn ’88) and Kenny Lofton, (’88-’89).

In 1996, Auburn dropped “Astros” from its name and re-branded as the Auburn Doubledays. The partnership with the Houston Astros lasted through the 2000 season. The Doubledays continue to play to this day, currently as a farm club of the Washington Nationals.

 

==Links==

New York-Penn League Media Guides

New York-Penn League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

May 28th, 2016 at 2:55 pm