Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Chicago’ tag

May 10, 1981 – Chicago Sting vs. Dallas Tornado

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George Best San Jose EarthquakesChicago Sting vs. Dallas Tornado
May 10, 1981
Wrigley Field
Attendance: 1,861

North American Soccer League Programs

 

We’ve already got a ton of Chicago Sting programs posted on FWIL, but I’ll throw another one on here just as an excuse to add a new George Best game day mag to the archive. Best, playing his final season in U.S. in 1981, is pictured on the cover of the afternoon’s match program as a member of the San Jose Earthquakes, the last of the three NASL clubs he played for during his five-year American adventure.

Best and the rest of the ‘Quakes were hundreds of miles from Chicago’s Wrigley Field on this Mother’s Day afternoon and that was to their immense good fortune.  Wind, rain and temperatures in the 30’s left Sting officials eager to re-schedule the match, despite the opportunity to curb stomp what was easily the worst side in the NASL in 1981: Lamar Hunt’s Dallas Tornado.  The Tornado were the last remaining active club from the NASL’s first season back in 1968, but were suffering through a miserable 5-27 campaign that would ultimately end with the club’s closure in September 1981.

Rudy Glenn Chicago StingThe shivering assembly of 1,861 souls at Wrigley may have been smallest NASL crowd of the post-Pele era.  (Anybody know for sure? Comment below).  On the plus side, no one had to rush the gates early to claim one of the 1,000 daisies set aside for Mother’s Day or the 5,000 t-shirts sponsored by R.C. Cola.  The weather was so nasty (and the pre-sale presumably so grim) that Sting executive Charles Evranian called Tornado General Manager Kent Kramer three hours before kickoff to suggest postponing the match until the next day.  Kramer dismissed the proposal, but his players seemed to feel differently.  Although the match went off as scheduled, the Tornado never seemed to get off the bus.

Rudy Glenn, the second-year American midfielder from Indiana University, was the offensive hero for Chicago.  Glenn scored the first and last goals for Chicago in a 5-0 blowout.  It was the first multi-goal performance of Glenn’s outdoor career.  It’s not clear if he ever did it again – the Oklahoma native scored just 13 more goals in his 130-game NASL career.   Glenn would, however, score the decisive penalty kick to win Soccer Bowl ’81 for the Sting over the New York Cosmos four months later in September 1981.

 

==Links==

Chicago Sting Home Page

Dallas Tornado Home Page

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Written by andycrossley

November 29th, 2014 at 10:49 pm

1974 Chicago Fire

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Chicago Fire Media GuideWorld Football League (1974)

Born: October 1973 – WFL founding franchise.
Died: January 1975 – The Fire ceases operations.

Stadium: Soldier Field

Team Colors:

Owner: Tom Origer

 

Chicago apartment developer Tom Origer was the first man to buy into the World Football League in October 1973, paying a reported $440,000 to acquire his Chicago Fire franchise.  It did not turn out to be a happy investment for the 41-year old builder.

The Fire featured a handful of names familiar to local football fans, including ex-Chicago Bears Virgil Carter (QB) and Jim Seymour (WR).  Rookie receiver James Scott was a breakout star.  After the demise of the WFL Scott would play seven seasons for the Bears from 1976 to 1983.  Another rookie – Chicago native Mark Kellar - was one of the league’s most productive running backs until a mid-season injury.

The Fire started out hot, winning seven of the first nine games in 1974.  The team was also a fairly popular draw, averaging 29,220 fans for 10 home dates at Soldier Field, despite competing for fans with the Bears during the WFL’s fall season.  But injuries and bad luck took their toll and the Fire lost their final 11 games to finish 7-13 in what would prove to be their only season.  Origer, fed up, forfeited the team’s final contest rather than travel to Pennsylvania to play the Philadelphia Bell on November 13, 1974.

The team muddled along in semi-existence until January 1975, when Origer laid off the Fire’s final few staff members and closed up shop.  The World Football League quickly put a new team into Chicago – the Chicago Winds – for the 1975 season.  But the Winds went belly up after only 5 games in 1975, and the league itself closed down on October 22, 1975 without managing to complete its second campaign.

 

==Chicago Fire Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
8/29/1974 vs. Birmingham Americans  L 22-8 Program
9/2/1974 @ Southern California Sun W 32-22 Program
9/7/1974 @ Birmingham Americans L 41-40 Program
9/18/1974 vs. Memphis Southmen L 25-7 Program

 

==Key Players==

  • Virgil Carter
  • James Scott
  • Jim Seymour

 

==YouTube==

Footage from the July 17, 1974 Chicago Fire at Jacksonville Sharks WFL game from the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville.

 

 

==Downloads==

July 1974 Chicago Fire “Line of Fire” Newsletter

 

==Links==

World Football League Media Guides

World Football League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

October 22nd, 2014 at 1:54 am

November 24, 1979 – New Jersey Gems vs. Chicago Hustle

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New Jersey Gems vs. Chicago Hustle
November 24, 1979
Thomas Dunn Sports Center
Attendance: 1,138

Women’s Professional Basketball League Programs
4 pages

 

Second game from the pro career of former UCLA star and U.S. Olympian Ann Meyers, one of the great early legends of women’s basketball.  Meyers was a national celebrity in the fall of 1979 thanks to the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, who signed her to a $50,000 pro contract that September.  Meyers didn’t last long in Pacers’ training camp though and by the time the Women’s Professional Basketball League was set to open it’s second season in November, Meyers was the newest member of the New Jersey Gems franchise.

Earlier on the day of this very game, Meyers was featured in a segment on NBC Sportsworld seen by viewers nationwide.  But despite Meyers’ notoriety, the Gems didn’t see a big spike at the box office after signing her.  Barely 1,000 spectators turned out in Elizabeth, New Jersey on this Saturday night to see the Gems take on the Chicago Hustle.

Those who showed up saw an end-to-end, high scoring affair that confounded the common stereotype of the slow-paced, dull women’s game.  Meyers (28 points, 8 assists) matched Chicago’s Rita Easterling (27 points, 8 assists), the Most Valuable Player of the league’s inaugural season, point-for-point.  Meyers also led all rebounders with 13 boards from her guard spot.

The supporting casts made the difference, as the Gems had six players in double figures including forwards Debra Comerie (21) and  Wanda Szeremeta (20) both going over 20 points.  The Gems beat the Hustle 114-95.

This program and the accompanying materials were acquired from the collection of women’s basketball historian John Molina.  Check out the Downloads section below for some colorful original press notes and other Gems memorabilia from this game.

 

 

 

==YouTube==

 

 

==Downloads==

November 24, 1979 New Jersey Gems Scorecard

November 24, 1979 New Jersey Gems Press Notes

November 24, 1979 New Jersey Gems vs. Chicago Hustle Official Scorer’s Report

 

==Links==

New Jersey Gems Home Page

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Written by andycrossley

February 27th, 2014 at 2:19 pm

1998-2003 Cook County Cheetahs

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Heartland League (1998)
Frontier League (1999-2003)

Born: 1998 – The Will County Cheetahs relocate to Crestwood, IL.
Died: 2004 – The Cheetahs are re-branded as the Windy City Thunderbolts.

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Owners: David Arch et al.

 

The Cook County Cheetahs were a low-level independent pro baseball team in Crestwood, Illinois, a south suburb of Chicago.  The team’s origins trace back to the Will County (IL) Claws (1995) of the obscure North Central League, who were later renamed the Will County Cheetahs (1996-1997).

In 1998 the Cheetahs, now playing in the shaky Heartland League, were lured from Romeoville, Illinois to Crestwood with the promise of a new $3.7 million, 2,500-seat baseball stadium.  The team adopted the Cook County Cheetahs name with the move, but construction on Hawkinson Ford Field was not complete in time for the season, so the Cheetahs played the 1998 season at a temporary facility, Howie Minas Field, in Midlothian.  That summer the Cheetahs won the last championship of the Heartland League, which barely managed to complete the season and folded soon afterwards.

In 1999 the Cheetahs joined the Frontier League, a much more stable and reputable Midwest-based independent league that began play in 1993.  Hawkinson Ford Field opened and the Cheetahs hit an attendance peak of 86,248 fans for the 1999 season.

Attendance dwindled in subsequent seasons.  Crestwood mayor Chester Stranczek, a former minor league baseball player from the 1950’s and an early champion of building Hawkinson Ford Field, began to publicly criticize the management of Cheetahs’ owner David Arch.  During the summer of 2003, Stranczek announced that he would not renew the team’s lease when it expired following the 2004 season.  In September of that year, Arch sold the Cheetahs for a reported $700,000 to a group led by former State Senator Patrick O’Malley.  O’Malley had been another early proponent of building Hawkinson Ford Field and helped secure state funding for the project in the late 1990’s.

The new ownership group re-branded the team as the Windy City Thunderbolts prior to the 2004 season, bringing the Cheetahs era to an end.   The Thunderbolts continue to play in Crestwood today.

Undrafted Australian pitcher Chris Oxspring (14 appearances, 2000) was the only Cook County Cheetah to go on to play in the Major Leagues.  He appeared in 5 games for the San Diego Padres in 2005.

 

==Links==

Frontier League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

February 25th, 2014 at 2:10 pm

1985-1987 Chicago Shoccers

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American Indoor Soccer Association (1985-1987)

Born: 1985
Died: 1987 – The Shoccers cease operations.

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owner: Leon Leibovich

 

The Chicago Shoccers were a short-lived indoor soccer team that played two seasons in the American Indoor Soccer Association in the mid-1980’s.

Chicago had two pro indoor teams at the time.  Although the popularity of the Chicago Sting of the Major Indoor Soccer League had begun to dip substantially, they were still in existence and vastly overshadowed the Shoccers, who were essentially a minor league club playing in second rate venues.  The Shoccers played their first season at the tiny Odeum Expo Center arena out in suburban Villa Park.  For their second and final season, the Shoccers moved into Chicago proper and the UIC Pavilion.

The Shoccers featured quite a few ex-Sting over their two seasons, including Arno Steffenhagen, Dave Huson, Elvis Comrie, Mike Lashoff, Greg Ryan and Mike Glenn.

The Shoccers folded after the 1986-87 AISA season.

 

 

==Shoccers Matches on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1985-86 12/17/1985 vs. Louisville Thunder ?? Program Roster
1986-87 11/28/1986 @ Canton Invaders L 8-5 Video

 

==YouTube==

Chicago Shoccers at Canton Invaders. November 29, 1986

 

 

 

==Links==

American Indoor Soccer Association Media Guides
American Indoor Soccer Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

August 19th, 2013 at 2:05 am