Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1968-1974 Amarillo Giants

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Amarillo Giants ProgramTexas League (1968-1970 & 1972-1974)
Dixie Association (1971)

Born: 1968: Affiliation change from Amarillo Sonics.
Died: October 1974: The Giants relocate to Lafayette, LA.

Stadium: Potter County Memorial Stadium

Team Colors:

Owners:

  • 1968-1973: San Francisco Giants
  • 1974: Steve Daly

 

The Amarillo Giants were a Class AA farm club of the San Francisco Giants in the Texas League from 1968 through 1974.

Key prospects to come through Amarillo during the Giants era included:

  • Dave Kingman (Team best 15 home runs in 1970)
  • Chris Speier (66 RBIs in 1970)
  • Steve Stone (9 wins in 1970).
  • Gary Matthews (15 HR and 86 RBI for Amarillo in 1971)
  • Future National League Rookie-of-the-Year John Montefusco (8 wins in 1974)

The San Francisco Giants owned and operated the ball club directly from 1968 through 1973.  In 1974 the Giants sold the club to veteran minor league exec Steve Daly, who operated the team for its final season in Amarillo.  Immediately after the 1974 season concluded, Daly sold the team to a new owner who moved it to Lafayette, Louisiana where the team was known as the Lafayette Drillers (1975-1976).

After a one-year hiatus without baseball, the Texas League returned to Amarillo and Memorial Stadium with the formation of the Amarillo Gold Sox (1976-1982) in 1976.

 

==Links==

Texas League Media Guides

Texas League Programs

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1978-79 Dayton Rockettes

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Women’s Professional Basketball League (1978-1979)

Born: 1978 – WPBL founding franchise.
Died: 1979 – The Rockettes cease operations.

Arena: Hara Arena

Team Colors: Kelly Green & Silver

Owner: Louis Deitelbaum

 

The Dayton Rockettes were one of eight original franchises in the Women’s Professional Basketball League (1978-1981).  The WPBL, which debuted in December 1978, was the first professional basketball league for women, pre-dating the WNBA by nearly 20 years.

Even by the standards of this league, which scraped and scratched for media and fan attention without consistent success, the Rockettes were a particularly obscure franchise.  They played in the league’s smallest market in a minor league hockey arena.  The Rockettes encountered financial problems early in their maiden season and folded quietly in the spring or summer of 1979, earning a place in our One-Year Wonders file.

The Dayton Rockettes were 12-22 in their only season of existence.

FWIL is actively looking for a program or other memorabilia from this team to improve this entry.  Email andy@funwhileitlasted.net if you can help.

 

==Dayton Rockettes Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
1/4/1978 @ Chicago Hustle W 102-95 Program
4/1/1979 @ Iowa Cornets  L 115-84 Program Roster

 

==Downloads==

1978-79 Women’s Professional Basketball League Brochure

 

==Links==

Women’s Professional Basketball League Media Guides

Women’s Professional Basketball League Programs

Written by andycrossley

November 10th, 2014 at 3:04 pm

1988 Maine Phillies

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Maine Phillies ProgramInternational League (1988)

Born: January 1988 – Re-branding of the Maine Guides.
Died: 1989 – The Phillies relocate to Scranton-Wilkes Barre, PA.

Stadium: The Ball Park at Old Orchard Beach

Team Colors:

Owner: John McGee, et al.

 

The Maine Phillies were the top farm club of the Philadelphia Phillies in the summer of 1988.

The franchise, based in the vacation hamlet of Old Orchard Beach, was formerly known as the Maine Guides from 1984 through 1987.  The team re-branded as the Maine Phillies in early 1988 following a contentious two-year legal battle between Guides founder Jordan Kobritz and a Scranton, Pennsylvania group called Northeastern Baseball, headed by John McGee.

Kobritz agreed to sell the Guides from and their membership in the Class AAA International League to McGee in 1986 for $2 million.  The contract also called for the transfer of the Class AA Waterbury (CT) Indians of the Eastern League from Northeastern Baseball to Kobritz – at least in Kobritz’s opinion.  The original concept in 1986 was that McGee would take the Guides to Pennsylvania, where it would become the top minor league affiliate of the Phillies and become known as the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Red Barons in 1989, when a new $22 million triple-A stadium opened in 1989.  Kobritz, meanwhile, would continue playing minor league ball at The Ball Park in Old Orchard Beach in the Eastern League with the former Waterbury franchise.

The deal started to go sideways in September 1986 when McGee’s group turned over the struggling Waterbury franchise to the Eastern League itself, as compensation for rights to the Scranton market.  That meant that Kobritz could bid on the former Waterbury club, but wouldn’t have the exclusive option on the team he expected.  (The former Waterbury franchise would eventually land in Williamsport, PA).  Kobritz refused to move forward with the sale and filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in October 1986. Two sides battled in court for control of the franchise for the next year.  Kobritz won the early rounds of litigation and held onto to control of the Guides for the 1987 season.  But the tide turned on the Guides founder in a series of rulings in late 1987 and early 1988 that stripped his control of the franchise and the minor league territorial rights for Maine and awarded them to McGee.  Kobritz took his appeals all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but lost his final battle in February 1988.

Finally in control of the ball club in January 1988, McGee dropped the Guides nickname and announced plans for the club to play on final lame duck season in Old Orchard Beach as the Maine Phillies.  In 1989, the new stadium in Scranton would be finally be ready after construction delays and the team would finally move to Pennsylvania.

During their only season, the Maine Phillies finished in last place in the International League’s East Division with a 62-80 record.

Pro baseball never returned to Old Orchard Beach after the departure of the Phillies in 1988.  The Ball Park fell into extreme disrepair in the 2000’s, but a community effort to renovate the 25-year old structure in 2009 led to the return of amateur/summer collegiate ball in the summer of 2011.

 

==Links==

International League Media Guides

International League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

November 9th, 2014 at 3:09 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