Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1999-2002 Mississippi Fire Dogs

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Mississippi Fire DogsIndoor Professional Football League (1999-2000)
National Indoor Football League (2001-2002)

Born: 1999
Died: Postseason 2002 – The Fire Dogs cease operations

Arena: Mississippi Coast Coliseum

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The Mississippi Fire Dogs were an obscure indoor football outfit that played four seasons in the Gulf Coast city of Biloxi from 1999 through 2002.  Starting in the late 1990’s, a rash of low-budget knockoffs of the pioneering Arena Football League sprang up around the country.  These leagues – often derisively referred to as “ankle biters” by diehard AFL fans – typically set up shop in small Midwestern and Southern cities with underutilized civic centers.  And they typically didn’t last very long.

In this sense, the Fire Dogs were a pretty typical ankle-biter entry.  The franchise started out in 1999 in the Indoor Professional Football League (1999-2001), which featured teams in the Deep South and Pacific Northwest.  After two seasons, the Fire Dogs ditched the struggling IPFL for the equally anonymous National Indoor Football League (2001-2007).

There were a couple of intriguing names associated with the Fire Dogs. During the team’s first two seasons in the IPFL, the General Manager, Head Coach and starting quarterback was former NFL quarterback John Fourcade.

The other “celebrity” associated with the Fire Dogs was Irving Favre, father of Green Bay Packers All-Pro quarterback Brett Favre.  The elder Favre was a minority owner in the club.  He also succeeded Fourcade as Head Coach when the franchise jumped to the National Indoor Football League in 2001.

The Fire Dogs won two league titles during their short life-span, conquering the IPFL (under Fourcade) in 2000 and the NIFL (under Favre) in 2001.  The team went out of business following the 2002 season.

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Written by andycrossley

August 10th, 2014 at 2:43 am

1997-1999 Corpus Christi Sharks

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Southwest Basketball League (1997-1999)

Born: October 16, 1997 – SWBL founding franchise.
Died: 1999 – The Sharks relocate to Sugarland, Texas.

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owner: Charles E. Johnson

 

The Corpus Christi Sharks were part of an obscure, fly-by-night operation called the Southwest Basketball League which operated in Texas and Louisiana for parts of four seasons between 1997 and 2001.  The SWBL was introduced to the press and the public just three weeks before tip off of the first game in November 1997, leaving no time for the six founding clubs to make any sort of impact in their communities.

The Sharks were owned by league founder and Commissioner Charles Johnson, a former NBA agent. The league intended to play a 40-game schedule in 1997-98, but Johnson shut it down after just 14 games amidst a flurry of bounced paychecks in late December 1997.  The Sharks were the best team in the league at the time with an 11-3 record, but few would have noticed.  The team averaged just over 1,000 fans at Memorial Coliseum, which was the best figure in the league.

Surprisingly, the Sharks and the league regrouped for a second season in early 1999.  The Sharks downgraded from the city-owned Memorial Coliseum to a local high school gymnasium.  One of Charles Johnson’s former clients, the former Houston Rockets guard Robert Reid, coached the Sharks during their second and final season.  Reid would suit up for the team’s final home game at age 43 and score 4 points.  Crowds dwindled to little more than friends and family at Ray High School and the Sharks quietly moved to Sugarland, Texas prior to the Southwest Basketball League’s third season in the winter of 1999-00.

The SWBL teetered along in obscurity until 2001 and then disappeared.

 

==Downloads==

1997-98 Corpus Christi Sharks Program

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1996-2010 Philadelphia Kixx

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Philadelphia KixxNational Professional Soccer League (1996-2001)
Major Indoor Soccer League (2001-2008)
National Indoor Soccer League (2008-2009)
Major Indoor Soccer League (2009-2010)

Born: 1995 – NPSL expansion franchise.
Died: 2010 – The Kixx cease operations.

Arenas:

Team Colors: Teal, Red & Black

Owners:

 

The Philadelphia Kixx were a long-running indoor soccer team that enjoyed strong popularity in the City of Brotherly Love for a few years during the late 1990’s.   The club was originally founded as a National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) expansion franchise in 1996 by local businessman Ed Tepper.

Tepper was one of the pioneers of the sport of indoor soccer.  He more or less stumbled across the sport during a brief stint as owner of the old Philadelphia Wings box lacrosse team that played at the Spectrum in 1974 and 1975.  Captivated by the potential of the indoor game, Tepper quickly sold off the Wings to focus on soccer.  He was a co-founder of the first pro indoor league, the Major Indoor Soccer League, in 1978.  But Tepper had been away from the sport for more than a decade when came back to form the Kixx in 1995.  Tepper kept the team until 2002, when he turned over primary ownership to local attorney Jeffrey Rotwitt.  Rotwitt would support the club until its demise in 2010.

The Kixx were the top box office draw in the NPSL for three straight years from 1998 to 2000, averaging over 8,000 fans per game.  But the team’s fortunes dipped in the 2000’s as Major League Soccer and the rapid growth of the outdoor game relegated a succession of indoor soccer leagues to irrelevance and disarray.  The Kixx were further marginalized in 2009 when the Spectrum, their home of 13 years, closed it doors and the team was exiled to the Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University.  The club went on a hiatus at the end of the 2009-10 season, which turned out to be just a euphemism for going out of business.

The Kixx won two league championships during their fourteen-year run, capturing Major Indoor Soccer League titles in 2002 and 2007.

 

 

==YouTube==

The Kixx host the Baltimore Blast at the Spectrum, March 24, 2007.

The Kixx claim their second and final MISL championship against the Detroit Ignition, April 2007.

 

 

==Links==

National Professional Soccer League Media Guides

National Professional Soccer League Programs

2001-Present Indoor Soccer Media Guides

2001-Present Indoor Soccer Programs

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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.

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The Cincinnati Suds softball team played in various locales in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky from 1977 until 1982.  Slo-Pitch softball had a brief moment in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when 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 several locations, including Trechter Field on the campus of Cincinnati Technical College.

 

==Downloads==

1977 Cincinnati Suds Ticket Brochure

1979 American Professional Slo-Pitch League Franchise Sales 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

2000 Jackson DiamondKats

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Texas-Louisiana League (2000)

Born: 2000 – Texas-Louisiana League expansion team.
Died: Postseason 2000 – The DiamondKats cease operations.

Stadium: Smith-Wills Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner:

 

For a quarter century, Jackson, Mississippi was the Eastern outpost of the Class AA Texas League.  From 1975 to 1999 the city hosted farm clubs for New York Mets and Houston Astros and saw future superstars such as Darryl Strawberry, Kevin Mitchell, Bobby Abreu, Billy Wagner, Carlos Guillen and Lance Berkman come through Smith-Wills Stadium on the way to the Majors.

But after the 1999 season the Astros and the Texas League pulled out of Jackson in favor of a brand new $25 million palace on offer in the Austin, Texas suburb of Round Rock.  The independent Texas-Louisiana League quickly filled to void, placing the Jackson DiamondKats franchise at Smith-Wills in time for the 2000 season.

The DiamondKats lone player of note – and the only one on the roster ever to play in the Bigs – was 10-year Major League veteran outfielder Mark Carreon.  Carreon was originally a draft pick of the New York Mets and actually spent the 1984 and 1985 seasons playing for the old Jackson Mets in the Texas League.  36 years old by this time, Carreon hit .340 for the DiamondKats, which placed him 9th in the Tex-La league in hitting, and then retired after the season.

Jackson fans weren’t impressed with the caliber of independent baseball after 25 years in the Texas League.  The DiamondKats averaged well under 1,000 fans per night and folded at the end of their first and only season in 2000.

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Written by andycrossley

March 6th, 2014 at 1:38 am