Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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2000-2002 Roanoke Steam

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Roanoke Steam ProgramArena Football 2 (2000-2002)

Born: 1999 – AF2 founding franchise.
Died: 2002 – The Steam cease operations.

Arena: Roanoke Civic Center (8,674)

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The Roanoke Steam were a minor league Arena Football team that competed in Arena Football 2 for three seasons in the early 2000’s.  The team shared ownership and resources with the Roanoke Express hockey team of the East Coast Hockey League.

Indoor football never caught on in Roanoke.  The Steam finished last in the league in attendance in 2000 (3,374 per game) and again in 2001 (2,575 avg.).  Midway through the Steam’s third and final season in 2002, the ownership group declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in May 2002.  The Steam muddled through the rest of the season under league stewardship and then was quietly euthanized in July 2002.

The team was never a factor on the field either, failing to make the AF2 playoffs in all three seasons of operation.

 

==Roanoke Steam Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
2000 5/20/2000  @ Norfolk Nighthawks  L 59-39 Program Game Notes
2000 5/27/2002 vs. Charleston Swamp Foxes W 71-61 Program

 

==Links==

Arena Football 2 Media Guides

Arena Football 2 Programs

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1961 San Juan Marlins / Charleston Marlins

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Charleston MarlinsInternational League (1961)

Born: November 28, 1960 – The Miami Marlins relocate to San Juan, PR.
Died: October 8, 1961 – The Charleston Marlins relocate to Atlanta, GA.

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Owner: Bill MacDonald

 

So how, exactly, did the capital of West Virginia end up with a minor league baseball team named for a tropical saltwater sport fish for a few short months in the summer of 1961?

At the dawn of the 1960’s, a colorful, corpulent South Florida multi-millionaire named Bill MacDonald bought the forlorn Miami Marlins of the Class AAA International League.  The Marlins were the top farm club of the Baltimore Orioles at the time.  MacDonald was a sportsman – he owned a stud farm, a share of the Tropical Park race track and he would later promote the first Sonny Liston-Cassius Clay fight in Miami.  The Marlins were rather unloved in Miami.  A particular sore point for MacDonald was the team’s lack of a profitable local radio deal.

After one summer at the helm in Miami, Bill MacDonald announce a scheme to move the Marlins to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where a lucrative radio contract beckoned.  The International League approved the shift in late November 1960.  It was a decision that MacDonald’s fellow I.L. owners would soon come to regret.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles transferred their Class AAA farm club to Rochester, New York and the Marlins became an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Cardinals stocked San Juan with several top prospects, including 19-year old catcher Tim McCarver, slick fielding shortstop Dal Maxvill and pitching ace Ray Washburn (16-9, 2.34).  All three would go on to spend most of the next decade in St. Louis.

The San Juan Marlins opened on April 17, 1961 against the Toronto Maple Leafs before 6,627 fans at Sixto Escobar Stadium.  Mark Tomasik at the St. Louis Cardinals blog Retrosimba notes that it was also opening night of the Bay of Pigs Invasion.  Not the most auspicious start to the I.L.’s latest Caribbean adventure.

Rival I.L. clubs immediately began complaining about high travel costs to San Juan.  Barely two weeks into the season, the league reversed course and demanded that Bill MacDonald return his team to the mainland.  The promoter balked at first, though Marlins attendance in San Juan plummeted following the promising opening night gate.  After 15 home dates, Marlins attendance in San Juan totaled only 25,759 fans.  MacDonald finally capitulated on May 17, 1961 after just one month in Puerto Rico.  But rather than try to make peace with Miami, MacDonald took his ball club all the way to Charleston, West Virginia.

Charleston’s long-running Class AAA team, the Charleston Senators, went under five months earlier.  The city was eager to get pro baseball back and offered MacDonald a $1.00 lease on Watt Powell Park.  The Charleston Marlins debuted in West Virginia on May 18, 1961, beating the Jersey City Jerseys (yes, their real name) in front of 3,608 locals.

The Marlins were strong ball club under field manager Joe Schultz, finishing 88-66.  But Charleston was still one of the smallest AAA cities in the country.  MacDonald wasted little time leaving town following the season.  On October 8, 1961, MacDonald moved his team to Atlanta, where the franchise became the Atlanta Crackers (1962-1965).

The International League has never returned to the Caribbean.

 

==Links==

The Many Faces of Mr. Mac“, Gilbert Rogin, Sports Illustrated, February 17, 1964

International League Media Guides

International League Programs

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1974 Florida Blazers

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Florida Blazers Media GuideWorld Football League (1974)

Born: May 1974 – The Virginia Ambassadors relocate to Orlando.
Died: Postseason 1974 – The Blazers cease operations.

Stadium: The Tangerine Bowl

Team Colors:

Owner: David Williams, Rommie Loudd, Will Gieger, Howard Palmer, et al.

 

The 1974 Florida Blazers enjoy a something of a cult following among pro football history buffs.  Fearsome on the field, the franchise was a train wreck in the front office.  The Blazers were put together by Rommie Loudd, a 41-year old former AFL linebacker and New England Patriots executive.  Loudd is occasionally cited as the first African-American owner of a “major league” American sports franchise for his time with the Blazers, but the team’s main money man was a Central Florida Holiday Inn franchisee named David Williams.  By December 1974, the Blazers were in the “World Bowl” championship game, the team’s best player had played the entire season without a paycheck, and Rommie Loudd was in jail.

But let’s back up a bit.  The franchise originated in late 1973 as the “Washington Ambassadors”, part of the startup World Football League that would challenge the NFL starting in the summer of 1974.  Original owner Joseph Wheeler couldn’t secure a lease or put together financing in Washington, so the team became the “Virginia Ambassadors” in the spring of 1974.  But Wheeler couldn’t get things off the ground in Norfolk, VA either, so in May 1974 the team was sold to Loudd’s Orlando-based syndicate.  Less than 60 days remained before the WFL’s scheduled opening day on July 10th, 1974.  Head Coach Jack Pardee had already opened training camp in Virginia, but the team loaded onto a train and decamped for Orlando.

Pardee had a solid veteran squad on both sides of the ball.  Bob Davis, a former back-up to Joe Namath on the New York Jets, earned the starting quarterback job. Linebackers Larry Grantham, a perennial AFL All-Star with the Jets in the 1960’s, and Billy Hobbs anchored a stout defense.

Florida BlazersThe Blazers’ breakout find was diminutive rookie running back Tommy Reamon, a 23rd round draft pick from the University of Missouri. Reamon scored 14 touchdowns and led the WFL with 1,576 yards rushing in 1974. At the end of the season, he was named one of the league’s “Tri-MVPs”, along with Southern California Sun quarterback Tony Adams and Memphis Southmen tailback J.J. Jennings. Reamon split a $10,000 prize with his co-MVPs. Decades later, Reamon revealed that his $3,333 MVP share was the only payment he received for the entire 1974 season.

The rest of Reamon’s teammates faired somewhat better, receiving paychecks during the league’s first couple of months. But things went poorly for the Blazers immediately in Orlando. Crowds failed to materialize at the Tangerine Bowl, which barely met pro standards back in the mid 1970’s, with 14,000 permanent seats supplemented by temporary bleachers. By late August, just six weeks into the season, Rommie Loudd was talking publicly of a midseason move to Atlanta. The move never occured, but paychecks stopped arriving not long afterwards. Promises and rumors of new investors or payroll support from the league office never came through, but Pardee kept the team together through three months without pay.

The Blazers overcame a 15-0 deficit on the road to upset the Memphis Southmen, the league’s best regular season team at 17-3, in the playoff semi-final to earn a trip to the World Bowl I championship game. Trailing 22-0 in the second half to the Birmingham Americans at Legion Field in Alabama, the Blazers mounted a furious late rally, only to fall short 22-21. In the WFL, touchdowns counted for seven points and an eighth point (or “action point”) could be earned by scoring from the two-and-a-half yard line. The Blazers failed to convert all three Action Points in the title game, and that was the difference in the outcome. That and a controversial call on the Blazers’ opening possession. Television replays on the TVS Network appeared to show Tommy Reamon break the plane in the first quarter, but officials on the field ruled that Florida’s star rookie fumbled the ball through the end zone for a touchback. Reamon, who had a strong game overall with 83 yards on the ground and a touchdown, also failed to convert the decisive action point in the 4th quarter that would have tied the game at 22-22.

The Blazers’ franchise was revoked by the league a few days after the World Bowl loss due to financial insolvency. Within three weeks, Loudd was in jail on charges of embezzling sales taxes collected on Blazers’ ticket sales. A few months later, narcotics trafficking charges were added to Loudd’s legal woes. He was convicted in late 1975 and sentenced to two fourteen-year sentences. Loudd ultimately served three years before being paroled. Loudd later became a minister and passed away in 1998.

Many of the Blazers players ended up playing for a new WFL expansion team in 1975 known as the San Antonio Wings. The Wings were better organized, certainly, than the Blazers. But the league itself went under in October 1975, failing to finish out its second season of operation.

Tommy Reamon played briefly in the NFL in 1976. He later became an actor, most notably playing the wide receiver Delma Huddle in the 1979 Nick Nolte football drama North Dallas Forty.  

 

==1974 Florida Blazers Results==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
7/10/1974 vs. The Hawaiians W 8-7 Program
7/17/1974 @ Detroit Wheels W 18-14 Program
7/24/1974 vs. Houston Texans W 15-3
7/31/1974 @ Houston Texans L 7-6
8/7/1974 @ Chicago Fire W 46-21
8/14/1974 vs. Jacksonville Sharks W 33-26 Program
8/21/1974 vs. Portland Storm W 11-7
8/28/1974 vs. Memphis Southmen L 26-18
9/2/1974 @ Birmingham Americans  L 8-7 Program
9/6/1974 @ New York Stars W 17-15
9/11/1974 vs. Detroit Wheels L 15-14
9/18/1974 vs. Philadelphia Bell W 24-21  Program
9/26/1974 vs. Chicago Fire W 29-0
10/2/1974 @ Philadelphia Bell W 30-7
10/9/1974 @ Chicago Fire W 45-17
10/16/1974 @ Memphis Southmen L 25-15 Program
10/23/1974 @ Charlotte Hornets W 15-11 Program
10/30/1974 @ Birmingham Americans  L 26-18 Program
11/7/1974 vs. Portland Storm W 23-0 Program
11/14/1974 @ Southern California Sun W 27-24 Ticket
11/21/1974 vs. Philadelphia Bell W 18-3
11/29/1974 @ Memphis Southmen W 18-15
12/5/1974 @ Birmingham Americans  L 22-21 Program

 

==Key Figures==

  • Bob Davis
  • Rommie Loudd
  • Jack Pardee
  • Tommy Reamon

 

==In Memoriam==

Blazers tight end Greg Latta passed away of a heart attack at age 41 on September 28, 1994.

Blazers GM Rommie Loudd died of complications from diabetes on May 9, 1998 at age 64.  New York Times obit.

Blazers linebacker Billy Hobbs died when his moped was struck by a car on August 21, 2004. Hobbs was 57.

Former Blazers head coach Jack Pardee died of cancer on April 1, 2013 at age 76.

 

==Links==

Florida Blazers Fans, Friends & Former Players Facebook Page

World Football League Media Guides

World Football League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

February 20th, 2015 at 3:19 pm

2006-2015 Worcester Sharks

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Worcester Sharks vs. St. John's IceCaps. December 27, 2013American Hockey League (2006-2015)

Born: January 9, 2006 – The Cleveland Barons announce they will relocate to Worcester, MA.
Died: January 29, 2015 – The Sharks announce they will relocate to San Jose, CA.

Arena: DCU Center

Team Colors:

Owners: San Jose Sports & Entertainment Enterprises

 

The Worcester Sharks were the top farm club of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks from 2006 to 2015.  The Sharks arrived in the small central Massachusetts city in 2006 from Cleveland, replacing Worcester’s previous AHL franchise, the IceCats (1994-2005).

The Sharks’ best season came in 2009-10 with an Atlantic Division title and a run into the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs.  Aside from that campaign the Sharks never placed higher than 4th in their division.

In early 2015, a long-simmering re-alignment of the American Hockey League saw five western NHL franchises shift their farm clubs from the Eastern seaboard and the South to a newly-formed West Coast Division of the AHL.  On January 29, 2015, San Jose Sports & Entertainment announced they would move the former Worcester Sharks to San Jose at the conclusion of the 2014-15 AHL season. San Jose’s top prospects will now share the SAP Center with their NHL parent club beginning in the fall of 2015.

Worcester’s pro hockey future in the near term looks bleak.  Glens Falls, NY and Manchester, NH, the other two Northeastern cities that lost their AHL franchises in the league’s Westward shift, immediately secured replacement teams in the lower-level ECHL. No obvious ECHL prospects for relocation remain available for Worcester and it appears certain there will be no pro hockey in Wormtown in the immediate future.

 

==Worcester Sharks Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
2011-12 11/1/2011 vs. St. John's IceCaps L 6-3 Program
2013-14 12/27/2013 vs. St. John's IceCaps W 5-2 Program

 

==YouTube==

 

==Links==

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

February 18th, 2015 at 4:15 am

1974-1984 Vancouver Whitecaps

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Vancouver Whitecaps Media GuideNorth American Soccer League (1974-1984)

Born: December 11, 1973 – NASL expansion franchise.
Died: January 1985 – The Whitecaps cease operations.

Stadiums:

Arenas:

  • 1980-1981: Pacific Coliseum
  • 1981-1982: PNE Agrodome
  • 1983-1984: Pacific Coliseum

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The original Vancouver Whitecaps were British Columbia’s beloved pro soccer club of the 1970’s and early 1980’s.  The club competed in the North American Soccer League from 1974 until 1984.  The ‘Caps also brought an attractive slate of international exhibitions to Vancouver, importing top foreign clubs such as Fluminense, Manchester City, Manchester United, Rangers and Roma for friendly matches and tournaments.  From 1980 to 1984, the Whitecaps played indoor soccer during the winter months.

Vancouver Whitecaps Media GuideOne of the NASL’s top clubs during the late 1970’s, the Whitecaps finest hour came at the conclusion of the 1979 season.  The Whitecaps dispatched the two-time defending champion New York Cosmos in the playoff semi-finals.  Then, on the Cosmos’ home ground at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, the Whitecaps beat the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-1 in Soccer Bowl ’79 to capture their first and only title.  An estimated 100,000 fans gathered in downtown Vancouver for a parade to honor the team.

Midway through the 1983 season, the Whitecaps left their long-time home at Empire Stadium to move into the 60,000-seat B.C. Place stadium.  The team’s first game at B.C. Place on June 20, 1983 drew 60,342 fans, which set a Canadian pro soccer attendance record which would stand for three decades.

But attendance in the new dome dipped quickly and by the start of the 1984 season, original founder Herb Capozzi had turned over controlling interest in the team to oil millionaire Bob Carter.  Carter’s reign was an embarrassment.  With the club bleeding millions of dollars, Carter made noises about folding the club in the middle of the 1984 NASL season.  The ‘Caps would end up finishing out the year, knocked out in the playoff semi-finals by the Chicago Sting.  While the ‘Caps were playing out what would be their final games in late 1984, Carter was busy getting himself into hot water for lurid S&M hijinks with a pair of underage prostitutes.

Deep in debt, and with the rest of the NASL collapsing around it, the Whitecaps declared bankruptcy in January 1985 and went out of business.  The Whitecaps name was revived in 2001 and the “new” Whitecaps now compete in Major League Soccer.

 

==Slideshow==

 

 

 

==Vancouver Whitecaps Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1974

1974 7/7/1974 vs. St. Louis Stars W 2-1 (SO) Program

1975

1975 5/28/1975 @ New York Cosmos W 1-0 Program
1975 7/3/1975 @ Portland Timbers  L 2-1 Program

1976

1976 5/16/1976 @ San Jose Earthquakes L 2-0 Program
1976 5/19/1976 vs. Rangers T 2-2 Program
1976 7/7/1976 vs. San Jose Earthquakes L 1-0 Program
1976 7/27/1976 vs. Borussia Moenchengladbach W 4-3 Program

1977

1977 4/8/1977 vs. Portland Timbers  L 1-0 Program
1977 6/30/1977 vs. New York Cosmos W 5-3 Program
1977 7/5/1977 vs. Seattle Sounders W 1-0 Program

1978

1978 6/22/1978 vs. Tulsa Roughnecks W 5-1 Program
1978 8/12/1978 @ Portland Timbers  L 1-0 Program

1979

1979 3/30/1979 vs. Dallas Tornado L 2-0 (SO) Program
1979 6/10/1979 @ Minnesota Kicks L 1-0 Program
1979 7/15/1979 @ New York Cosmos W 4-2 Program
1979 8/18/1979 vs. Dallas Tornado W 2-1 Program
1979 9/8/1979 Tampa Bay Rowdies W 2-1 Program

1980

1980 5/21/1980 vs. A.S. Roma T 1-1 Program
1980 5/24/1980 vs. Manchester City W 5-0 Program Video
1980 6/29/1980 vs. New York Cosmos L 3-0 Program
1980 7/6/1980 vs. Rochester Lancers L 3-1 Program

1981

1981 4/18/1981 @ Portland Timbers  W 2-1 (OT) Program
1981 5/11/1981 vs. West Bromwich Albion W 2-1 Program
1981 6/3/1981 vs. Manchester City W 2-0 Program
1981 6/6/1981 vs. Calgary Boomers L 3-2 (SO) Program
1981 6/29/1981 vs. Napoli T 1-1 Program
1981 7/12/1981 @ Chicago Sting L 2-1 (OT) Program
1981 7/15/1981 vs. Sparta Rotterdam W 4-0 Program
1981 8/12/1981 vs. Seattle Sounders W 5-0 Program
1981 8/19/1981 vs. San Jose Earthquakes W 3-1 Program
1981 8/26/1981 vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies L 1-0 Program
1981 10/11/1981 @ Nottingham Forest T 2-2 Program 1
1981 10/11/1981  @ Nottingham Forest T 2-2 Program 2

1982

1982 3/23/1982 vs. Borussia Moenchengladbach ?? Program
1982 6/19/1982 @ Chicago Sting W 3-2 (Shootout) Program
1982 6/23/1982 @ New York Cosmos L 3-2 Program

1983

1983 6/20/1983 vs. Seattle Sounders W 2-1 Program
1983 8/6/1983 vs. Seattle Sounders L 2-1 Program
1983 9/8/1983 vs. Toronto Blizzard W 1-0 Program

1983-84 (Indoor)

1983-84 12/30/1983 @ Chicago Sting L 7-3 Program
1983-84 1/13/1984 @ Chicago Sting L 4-3 (OT) Program

1984

1984 5/20/1984 @ New York Cosmos L 2-1 Program
1984 5/23/1984 vs. Golden Bay Earthquakes W 5-3 Program
1984 5/27/1984 vs. Ajax L 2-1 Program
1984 6/6/1984 vs. Fluminense W 3-1 Program
1984 6/27/1984 vs. Chicago Sting W 1-0 Program
1984 8/29/1984 @ New York Cosmos L 2-1 Program
1984 9/18/1984 @ Chicago Sting W 1-0 (OT) Program
1984 9/23/1984 vs. Chicago Sting L 3-1 Program

 

==Key Players==

 

==In Memoriam==

Alan Ball (Whitecaps ’79-’80) died April 25, 2007 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in his home. Daily Telegraph obituary.

Former Whitecaps GM Peter Bridgwater (’79-’83) passed away from cancer on June 21, 2005.  Soccer America obituary.

Whitecaps founder and long-time owner Herb Capozzi died of cancer on November 21, 2011 at age 86.

 

==YouTube==

The Whitecaps vs. Montreal Manic at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. August 1, 1981

 

==Links==

North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

February 16th, 2015 at 4:19 am