Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Softball’ Category

1981 Syracuse Salts

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United Professional Softball League (1981)

Born: March 18, 1981 – UPSL expansion franchise.
Died: Postseason 1981 – The Salts cease operations.

Stadium: Hopkins Road Field

Team Colors:

Owners: A.J. Kalil, Peter Silvanic & G.A. Saumell

 

The Syracuse Salts were a truly terrible attempt to field a men’s professional softball team in upstate New York in the summer of 1981.  Owner A.J. Kalil and his partners paid $25,000 to place an expansion franchise in the United Professional Softball League that spring.  As things turned out they were comically overmatched.  The Salts played a 60-game schedule, which consisted of 15 home doubleheaders and 15 road doubleheaders.  The team finished the season with 4 wins and 52 losses.

The Salts’ lineup included outfielder Ed Ricks, who was a 6th round draft pick of the New York Yankees as a pitcher in 1972 and actually made it onto the Yankees Major League roster in September 1977 but never appeared in a Major League game.  Ricks would later pitch in the Senior Professional Baseball Association for retired ballplayers in 1989-90.

Home games were played at Hopkins Road Field in Liverpool, New York.

The Salts had a cheerleading squad known as the “Saltshakers”.

The club mercifully folded at the end of the 1981 season.  The United Professional Softball League followed Syracuse into oblivion one year later.

 

==Suds Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
May 24 1981 vs. Cincinnati Suds L 6-2 & L 12-2 Program

 

==Downloads==

1981 Syracuse Salts Roster as of May 24, 1981

 

==Links==

Men’s Professional Softball Media Guides

Men’s Professional Softball Programs

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Written by andycrossley

March 12th, 2014 at 1:25 am

1977-1982 Cincinnati Suds

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American Professional Slo-Pitch League (1977-1980)
United Professional Softball League (1981-1982)

Born: 1977 – APSPL founding franchise.
Died: Postseason 1982 – The Suds cease operations.

Stadium: Trechter Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner:

 

The Cincinnati Suds were a men’s professional Slo-Pitch softball team.  Slo-Pitch softball had a brief era between 1977 and 1982 where a group of enthusiasts and pro sports speculators attempted to establish a marketplace for men’s softball as a nationwide professional sport.  Three league different leagues came and went during this time, with most of the clubs being clustered in softball’s Rust Belt strongholds in the Northeast and upper Midwestern states.  Investors included Mike Ilitch, future owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers, and Ted Stepien, the future owner the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, along with a considerable number of mom & pop types.

 

Of the several dozen teams formed during Slo-Pitch softball’s brief pro moment, the Cincinnati Suds were one of only two clubs (along with Kentucky Bourbons) who played for all six seasons from 1977 to 1982.  The Suds were a founding member of the first league out of the gates, the American Professional Slo-Pitch League.  After the APSPL folded in 1980, the Suds joined the United Professional Softball League and played two more seasons before that league went out of business at the end of the 1982 season.

There has been no professional softball league for men in the U.S. since 1982.

The Suds played their games at Trechter Field on the campus of Cincinnati Technical College.

 

==Downloads==

1977 Cincinnati Suds Ticket Brochure

 

==Links==

Men’s Professional Softball Media Guides

Men’s Professional Softball Programs

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Written by andycrossley

March 7th, 2014 at 7:00 pm

1978-1981 New England Pilgrims

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American Professional Slo-Pitch League (1978-1980)
United Professional Softball League (1981)

Born: 1978 – APSPL expansion franchise.
Died: Postseason 1981 – The Pilgrims cease operations.

Stadium: Blake Field

Team Colors:

Owner:

 

Obscure men’s professional Slo-Pitch softball team that operated for four seasons out of New Haven, Connecticut.  The New England Pilgrims spent their first three seasons in the American Professional Slo-Pitch League (APSPL).  In 1979, the Pilgrims earned a few wire service mentions around the country for signing 39-year old former Detroit Tigers All-Star infielder Dick McAuliffe.

In 1981 the Pilgrims joined the United Professional Softball League, a successor league to the by-then defunct APSPL.  Despite having one of the worst records (23-35) in the eight-team UPSL, the Pilgrims advanced through the playoffs to the league championship series, where they lost to the Kentucky Bourbons.

The Pilgrims went out of business after the 1981 season and the UPSL followed suit a year later.  There has been no men’s professional softball in the United States since 1982.

 

==Links==

Men’s Professional Softball Media Guides

Men’s Professional Softball Programs

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Written by andycrossley

March 5th, 2014 at 12:38 am

196?-1977 Milwaukee Copper Hearth

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Amateur (196? – 1976)
American Professional Slo-Pitch League (1977)

Born: 1960′s 
Died:
1978 – Re-branded as the Milwaukee Schlitz.

Stadium: Wilson Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner: John Korinek, Sr.

 

Milwaukee Copper Hearth was a powerhouse amateur softball club in the Big Eight League in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during the 1960′s and into the mid 1970′s.  The club was named for its sponsor, a blue-collar tavern and wedding hall on North Teutonia Avenue, owned by John Korinek Sr.  His son, John Jr., was a player on the team and later managed the club.

Copper Hearth dominated the Milwaukee slo-pitch scene, winning seven city championships.  In 1969, Copper Hearth won the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) national open championship.

In 1977, serial sports promoter Bill Byrne, who was a front office worker in the World Football League and later started the first Women’s Professional Basketball League in the United States, decided to start a fully professional men’s slow pitch league.  Byrne’s American Professional Slo-Pitch League (APSPL) debuted in May 1977  The league featured several top amateur clubs who were willing to take on the greater expenses of professionalization, including Copper Hearth, along with a handful of clubs that were started from scratch.  APSPL franchises were clustered mostly in the traditional working class softball powerhouses of the upper Midwest, including Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.

Copper Hearth was one of the best teams in the APSPL in 1977, finishing with a 39-17 record.  They were upset by the Cleveland Jaybirds in the first round of the 1977 playoffs.

After the 1977 season, Schlitz Brewing took over sponsorship of the team from John Korinek and the team was re-named “Milwaukee Schlitz” prior to the 1978 APSPL season.   As the Schlitz, the team continued to compete until the end of the professional slow pitch era in 1982, winning league championships in 1979, 1980 and 1982 in a succession of leagues.

The Copper Hearth tavern closed in 1987.  Owner and softball team sponsor John Korinek, Sr. passed away in November 1996 at age 78.

 

==Downloads==

1977 Milwaukee Copper Hearth Roster & Player Bios

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==Links==

American Professional Slo-Pitch League Media Guides

American Professional Slo-Pitch League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

August 23rd, 2013 at 9:09 pm

1976 San Diego Sandpipers

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International Women’s Professional Softball Association (1976)

Born: December 1975 - IWPSA founding franchise.
Died: Postseason 1976 – The Sandpipers cease operations.

Stadium: Smith Field (2,200)

Team Colors:

Owners: Louis J. Cella & Everett Skillings

 

The San Diego Sandpipers were a women’s pro softball outfit in the obscure International Women’s Professional Softball Association of the 1970′s.  The IWPSA was a creation of serial league creator Dennis Murphy and tennis superstar Billie Jean King.  Murphy and King previously collaborated on the development of World Team Tennis (1974-1978), which was America’s first co-ed professional sports league.   Murphy was also the promoter behind nearly a half dozen other league concepts during the 1970′s, which varied from the very successful (American Basketball Association, World Hockey Association) to the failed and forgotten (the Super Soccer League, anyone?).

The Sandpipers were one of ten founding franchises when the league launched in 1976. Nancy Welbornhandled virtually all of the pitching and managed the team, which played at Smith Field on the campus of San Diego State University.  The Sandpipers had a record of 66-54 and then disbanded after one season of action.

The IWPSA lasted for four seasons from 1976 to 1979 and then closed down shortly before a fifth season was due to begin in 1980.

 

==Downloads==

1976 San Diego Sandpipers Roster

 

==Links==

IWPSA Programs

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