Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

1984 New York Nationals

leave a comment

United Soccer League (1984)

Born: 1984 – USL founding franchise.
Died: Postseason 1984 – The Nationals cease operations.

Stadium: Hofstra Stadium (10,000)

Team Colors: Red, White & Blue

Owner: Kostas Georgiadis

 

The New York Nationals were a very short-lived Long Island-based entry in the lower division United Soccer League (1984-1985).  The team existed for only one season in the summer of 1984.

The USL was a successor league to the hardscrabble American Soccer League (1933-1983).  Throughout the 1970′s and early 1980′s the ASL served as the de facto 2nd division of American pro soccer, while the North American Soccer League (1968-1984) represented the top tier of the sport.  After 50 years of play, the ASL finally fell apart in early 1984.  A quartet of ASL survivors joined five new franchises to form the nine-team USL in the spring of 1984.

The Nationals were one of the new clubs.  They set up shop at Hofstra University on Long Island, which was previously home to the early (pre-Pele) days of the NASL’s New York Cosmos in the early 1970′s and to the American Soccer League’s New York Apollo in the late 1970′s.

American soccer cultists would recognize a couple of young players on the squad who earned some prominence in the sport.  22-year old Long Island native Michael Collins was a veteran of the New York Arrows indoor team and went on to play nearly 20 seasons, mostly indoors.  23-year old forward Jim Gabarra also enjoyed a long indoor career and became a well-regarded women’s coach in the 2000′s with the WUSA and Women’s Professional Soccer.

The top executives of the Nationals were mostly Greek-Americans and so were many of the club’s players.  The Nationals started fast, racing out to a 5-0 record.   But one month into the season, Head Coach Jim McGeough resigned and top players like Collins and Gabarra disappeared from the roster.  The Nationals began carrying a smaller roster, which was populated largely by less experienced Greek-American players from New York.  The club slumped badly the rest of the way under McGeough’s former assistant Kyriakos Fitilis and finished 10-14 and out of the playoff hunt.

The Nationals folded shortly after the 1984 season.  The rest of the United Soccer League followed suit in 1985, failing to complete its second season of play.

 

==1984 New York Nationals Results==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
5/20/1984 @ Rochester Flash ??
???? Game Two
???? Game Three
6/8/1984 vs. Buffalo Storm ?? Program Roster
6/12/1984 vs. Rochester Flash W 3-1 Program Roster
6/15/1984 vs. Oklahoma City Stampede ?? Program Game Notes
6/17/1984 @ Houston Dynamos ??
6/22/1984 @ Oklahoma City Stampede ??
6/23/1984 @ Dallas Americans ??
6/26/1984 vs. Houston Dynamos ?? Program Roster
6/30/1984 @ Buffalo Storm ??
7/6/1984 vs. Rochester Flash ??
7/10/1984 vs. Dallas Americans ??
7/11/1984 @ Buffalo Storm ??
7/13/1984 vs. Charlotte Gold ??
7/14/1984 @ Fort Lauderdale Sun L 2-0
7/17/1984 @ Jacksonville Tea Men ??
7/20/1984 @ Charlotte Gold ??
7/21/1984 vs. Rochester Flash L 4-1
7/25/1984 @ Rochester Flash ??
8/7/1984 vs. Buffalo Storm ??
8/8/1984 @ Rochester Flash ??
8/12/1984 @ Buffalo Storm L 3-1
8/17/1984 vs. Buffalo Storm ??

 

==Links==

United Soccer League Media Guides

United Soccer League Programs

###

Written by andycrossley

February 13th, 2014 at 1:55 am

1976 Berkshire Brewers

leave a comment

Eastern League (1976)

Born: 1976
Died: February 21, 1977 – The Brewers relocate to Holyoke, MA.

Stadium: Wahconah Park

Team Colors:

Owner: Lynn “Spike” Herzig

 

The Berkshire Brewers were the last in a string of Class AA Eastern League baseball clubs that made their home at historic Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts between 1965 and 1976.   The Brewers followed the Pittsfield Red Sox (1965-1969), Pittsfield Senators (1970-1971) and Pittsfield Rangers (1972-1975).

As the name would indicate, the Brewers were a farm club of the Milwaukee Brewers.  Ten Berkshire players eventually played in the Major Leagues, with infielder Jim Gantner and pitcher Lary Sorensen having the greatest success.

The tragic figure of the Berkshire Brewers was 25-year old outfielder Danny Thomas, AKA “The Sundown Kid”.  Thomas was Milwaukee’s 1st round pick in the 1972 MLB draft and the 6th player chosen overall.  Thomas exhibited erratic behavior and signs of mental illness throughout his brief career.  He missed half of the 1975 season after receiving a suspension for hitting an umpire.  But in 1976 he pulled it all together for a full season in Pittsfield, winning the Eastern League’s Triple Crown (.325, 29 HR, 83 RBI).

Thomas earned a promotion to Milwaukee late in the 1976 season.  Soon afterwards he joined the Worldwide Church of God and decided he could no longer play baseball between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday.   He also overdosed on pills and was treated in a Milwaukee psychiatric facility during this era.  One year after winning the Eastern League triple crown with Berkshire, he was out of organized baseball at the end of the 1977 season.  He played two seasons of independent baseball in 1978 and 1979, before retiring to Alabama where his young family fell into poverty.

In June 1980, Thomas was arrested for sexually assaulting a 12-year old girl in Alabama.  He hanged himself in his jail cell on June 12, 1980.

In February 1977, Berkshire Brewers owner Spike Herzig announced the move of his club to nearby Holyoke, Massachusetts, owing to renovations at Pittsfield’s Wahconah Park.  Pittsfield went without pro baseball for the next decade until the arrival of the Eastern League’s Pittsfield Cubs in 1985.

The franchise that once was the Berkshire Brewers still exists in the Eastern League today.  After stops in Holyoke (1977-1982) and Nashua, New Hampshire (1983-1986), the ball club is now the Harrisburg (PA) Senators.

 

==Links==

Eastern League Media Guides

Eastern League Programs

###

Written by andycrossley

June 5th, 2013 at 3:00 am