Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘One-Year Wonders’ tag

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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2001 Baton Rouge Blue Marlins

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Baton Rouge Blue MarlinsAll-American Association (2001)

Born: 2001 – All-American Association founding franchise.
Died: Postseason 2001 – The Blue Marlins cease operations.

Stadium: Pete Goldsby Park

Team Colors:

Owner:

 

The Baton Rouge Blue Marlins were a deeply obscure independent pro baseball team that played in the doomed All-American Association during the summer of 2001.  Both the ball club and the league itself  folded at the end of one season.

The All-American Association was a six-team loop with teams in Albany (GA), Montgomery (AL), Winchester (TN) and Fort Worth and Tyler (TX) besides the Baton Rouge club.  The Blue Marlins did manage to win the first and only championship of the league in 2001, defeating the Albany Alligators.

The Blue Marlins were a flop at the box office, drawing just 16,616 fans for 36 home dates at Pete Goldsby Park.

Following the 2001 season, the All-American Association split apart, with two teams folding and the Texas clubs joining the independent Central League.  Baton Rouge and Montgomery joined the new Southeastern League, with Baton Rouge changing its name to the River Bats prior to the 2002 season.

30-year old pitcher Rick Greene, who made one appearance for the Cincinnati Reds in 1999, was the only Blue Marlins player to ever appear in the Major Leagues.

 

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Written by andycrossley

September 10th, 2014 at 1:46 pm

1964-65 New York Rovers

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John McMillan New York RoversEastern Hockey League

Born: May 28, 1964 – EHL expansion franchise.
Died: 1965 – The Rovers cease operations.

Arenas:

Team Colors: Red, White & Blue

Owner: Madison Square Garden Corp.

 

This 1964-65 New York Rangers farm club in the Eastern Hockey League was the last of several versions of the New York Rovers ice hockey team.  The original Rovers started out back in 1935 as a senior amateur club in the Eastern Amateur Hockey League and played until 1952.  The club traditionally played Sunday matinees at Madison Square Garden.  The Rovers were first revived as pro team out on Long Island in 1959, but changed their name to the Long Island Ducks after two seasons in 1961.

This final incarnation of the Rovers was born in May 1964, when Madison Square Garden Corp. signed on to operate the club.  The new Rovers would revive the old tradition of playing Sunday matinees at the Garden.  On dates when the Garden wasn’t available, the Rovers played at the New York State Expositon Grounds in Syracuse.

The Rovers finished the 1964-65 EHL season with a 25-39-8 record and did not make the playoffs.  The team folded after only one season and the Rovers name has not been revived since.

 

==Links==

Reactivated Rovers of Eastern Hockey League Play Sundays at Garden“, William N. Wallace, The New York Times, May 29, 1964

Eastern Hockey League Programs

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1972-1973 Ottawa Nationals

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1972-73 Ottawa NationalsWorld Hockey Association (1972-1973)

Born: 1972 – WHA founding franchise.
Died: 1973 – The Nationals relocate to Toronto, Ontario.

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owners: Nick Trbovich & Doug Michel

 

The Ottawa Nationals were a short-lived original franchise in the defunct World Hockey Association (1972-1979).  Originally the WHA and team founder Doug Michel hoped to place the club in either Toronto or Hamilton, but the Nationals struggled to line up an arena in those cities and ultimately ended up at the Ottawa Civic Centre.

Wayne Carleton Ottawa NationalsWhile upstart franchises in Winnipeg, Philadelphia and elsewhere made headlines luring big-name players away from the NHL, the cash-poor Nationals were unable to lure big names to Ottawa.  Nevertheless, the club was competitive under Head Coach Billy Harris, finishing with a 35-39-4 record and a 1973 playoff date with the New England Whalers.  Ex-NHL journeyman Wayne Carleton was the Nats’ leading scorer with 42 goals and 49 assists.

The team was poorly supported in Ottawa and chose to move its home playoff games to Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.  The Whalers eliminated the Nationals 4 games to 1.

In May 1973,  John Bassett Jr., the son of former Toronto Maple Leafs owner John Bassett, Sr., purchased the Nationals.  Bassett was considerably wealthier than the club’s previous owners.  He moved the franchise to Varsity Arena in Toronto and re-named the team the Toronto Toros prior to the 1973-74 season.

 

==Ottawa Nationals Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
11/2/1972  vs. Los Angeles Sharks T 1-1 Program
11/20/1972 @ New England Whalers L 7-5 Program
12/4/1972 @ New England Whalers L 7-2 Program
1/9/1973 vs. Quebec Nordiques W 7-5 Program
2/2/1973 @ Chicago Cougars L 4-1 Program

 

==Links==

World Hockey Association Media Guides

World Hockey Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

August 18th, 2014 at 2:51 am

1978-1979 Baltimore Metros

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Baltimore MetrosContinental Basketball Association (1978-1979)

Born: 1978 – The Washington Metros relocate to Baltimore, MD.
Died: January 1979 – The Metros relocate to Utica, NY in midseason.

Arena: UMBC Fieldhouse (4,000)

Team Colors:

Owner: Fred Keller

 

Doomed, totally forgotten minor league basketball effort that flamed out in Baltimore after a couple of months in early 1979.   The Baltimore Metros formed a year earlier in Washington, D.C. in the Eastern Basketball Association.  The Metros were terrible in the EBA (5 wins against 26 losses) and team owner Fred Keller moved the club to the University of Maryland Baltimore County Fieldhouse for the 1978-79 season.   The EBA also re-branded itself as the Continental Basketball Association that year.

Keller hired ABA and NBA veteran Larry Cannon to coach the team.  Cannon, the #5 overall pick in the 1969 NBA draft, got the team off to a 9-5 start.  But that wasn’t good enough for Keller, who fired him in December and took the coaching reigns himself.  By January, the club was out of money and Keller was looking to unload it.  The CBA threatened to revoke the franchise for unpaid bills.  In late January, the Metros abruptly left town and set up shop in Utica, New York, changing their name to the “Mohawk Valley Thunderbirds” in midseason.  That didn’t work out either and the Metros/Thunderbirds eventually went out of business without finishing the 1978-79 regular season.

 

==Baltimore Metros Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
10/27/1978 vs. Rochester Zeniths ?? Program Roster

 

==Links==

Continental Basketball Association Media Guides

Continental Basketball Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

July 4th, 2014 at 1:48 am