Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘One-Year Wonders’ tag

1991-92 Birmingham Bandits

leave a comment

Birmingham BanditsContinental Basketball Association (1991-1992)

Born: May 1, 1991 – The Pensacola Tornados relocate to Birmingham, AL.
Died: May 28, 1992 – The Bandits relocate to Rochester, MN.

Arena: Bill Harris State Fair Arena

Team Colors:

Owner: Tom McMillan


The Birmingham Bandits reside in our One-Year Wonder file of doomed minor league basketball teams.

Alabama businessman Tom McMillan and his wife Jane acquired the Pensacola Tornados franchise in the Continental Basketball Association in June 1989.  The Tornados routinely dwelled near the bottom of the CBA box office rankings, so McMillan and wife moved the team to Birmingham in the spring of 1991.  The team fared even worse in Alabama, finishing dead last in attendance in the 17-team league during the 1991-92 winter season.

On the court, the Bandits were reasonably competitive.  The team finished the regular season 25-31, which was good enough to sneak into the 1992 CBA playoffs. The Bandits were eliminated by the Quad City Thunder in the quarterfinal round in March 1992.  By this time, McMillan was actively seeking to unload the team to anyone who might take it.

McMillan announced a deal to sell the team to Rochester, Minnesota interests in May 1992.  As originally announced, McMillan would hold onto a token stake in the team, which would henceforth be known as the Rochester Renegade. However, his new investors quickly backed away, leaving the Alabaman in control of the money losing club yet again.  McMillan finally managed to get out of the CBA in 1994, selling the former Tornados/Bandits/Renegade franchise to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania man who promptly capsized it within the space of nine months.



Continental Basketball Association Media Guides

Continental Basketball Association Programs




1973 Wilson Pennants

one comment

Wilson PennantsCarolina League (1973)

Born: 1973
Postseason 1973

Stadium: Fleming Stadium

Owner: Marshall Fox


The small city of Wilson, North Carolina fielded numerous minor league baseball teams between 1908 and 1973.  Wilson’s local nine were typically known as the “Tobs” (short for “Tobacconists”) through various iterations and leagues, but when long-time minor league operator Marshall Fox arrived in town in early 1973, he chose the rather generic “Wilson Pennants” for his new Carolina League entry.  Fox would stay only one season and the summer of 1973 would prove to be the last one for pro baseball in Wilson.

The Pennants were a co-op club, meaning they had no formal affiliation with a Major League franchise.  Co-op arrangements are largely unheard of today (they’ve been supplanted by fully “independent” baseball leagues), but they were relatively common in the 1970’s.  Forced to scramble for the spare parts and left overs of other teams, co-op clubs typically sucked. And the Pennants were no exception, cycling through three field managers (including a one-game stint by team owner Marshall Fox) and finishing dead last in the six-team Carolina League at 52-88.

There were a few highlights.  A 22-year old named Steve Hardin hurled a perfect game for the Pennants against the Winston-Salem Red Sox on April 18th, 1973. Hardin struck out 12 and only allowed one ball out of the infield. Hardin finished the 1973 season with a 4-10 record and never played another inning of pro baseball.

The Pennant who enjoyed the greatest success was pitcher Tom Johnson, who went on to appear in 129 games for the Minnesota Twins between 1974 and 1978. In 1977, Johnson won a remarkable 16 games out of the bullpen for Minnesota.

The Pennants quietly folded up shop after the 1973 season and pro ball never returned to Wilson.  The collegiate Wilson Tobs of the amateur Coastal Plains League continue to play out of Fleming Stadium to this day.



1973 Wilson Pennants vs. Salem Pirates Roster Sheet



Carolina League Media Guides

Carolina League Programs



Written by andycrossley

April 28th, 2015 at 1:17 am

1976 Tacoma Tides

leave a comment

Tacoma TidesAmerican Soccer League (1976)

Born: 1976 – ASL expansion franchise.
Folded: November 1976.

Stadium: Cheney Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner: Booth Gardner & Tacoma Baseball, Inc.


The Tacoma Tides were a One-Year Wonder that competed in the American Soccer League in the summer of 1976.  The lower-division soccer club was jointly owned by Booth Gardner, a future Governor of the state of Washington, and the operators of the Tacoma Twins minor league baseball team.  The Tides shared Cheney Stadium, the city’s baseball field, with the Twins.

The Tides were a good side in their only year of action.  The team finished 10-6-5 and earned a playoff spot, losing to th eventual champion Los Angeles Skyhawks in the semi-final match.  English import David Chadwick was the Tides’ leading scorer with 9 goals and 8 assists.  Future U.S. National Team coach Bruce Arena was the Tides’ second string goalkeeper, but he bulk of the net duties were handled by lower division warhorse Jamil Canal.

The Tides lost a reported $100,000, which was deemed unacceptable and the club was shuttered in November 1976.



American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs


Written by andycrossley

April 9th, 2015 at 12:36 am

1977 Santa Barbara Condors

one comment

Santa Barbara CondorsAmerican Soccer League (1977)

Born: 1977 – ASL expansion franchise.
Folded: July 1977.

Stadium: Valley Stadium

Team Colors:



The Santa Barbara Condors were a financially bereft 2nd division American soccer club that folded after playing just a dozen games in the summer of 1977.  During their brief run, the Condors played home games at Valley Stadium, a high school field in Goleta, California.

Former Liverpool captain Ron Yeats was the Condors’ player-coach.  The owners stopped paying the team almost immediately and bailed on the club.  On July 1, 1977, after playing without pay for nearly two months, Condors players went out on strike, refusing to play a pair of weekend games against the Los Angeles Skyhawks.

American Soccer League officials were unable to find new investors for the club and the Condors folded with a 4-4-4 record.  The remaining 12 games on the club’s regular season scheduled were cancelled. Midseason failures were not unusual in the ASL and the Condors were one of numerous 2nd division clubs in the States who were unable to complete their schedules during the 1970’s.



American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs


1973 New York Golden Blades

leave a comment

New York Golden BladesWorld Hockey Association (1973)

Born: May 30, 1973- Re-branded from New York Raiders
Moved: November 20, 1973 (Jersey Knights)

Arena: Madison Square Garden

Team Colors:

Owner: Ralf Brent, Lee Matison & Lawrence Stern


The New York Golden Blades lasted for just 24 games and marked the grim conclusion to the World Hockey Association’s hopes to plant its flag in New York.  The WHA, a 1970’s rival to the NHL, originally hoped to place its New York Raiders franchise in the brand new Nassau Coliseum on Long Island in 1972.  But the senior circuit blocked the WHA from Nassau by hastily awarding the New York Islanders expansion club to Long Island.  The Raiders wound up in Manhattan, getting pushed around by the New York Rangers at the Madison Square Garden.  The team’s original investors bailed and the league had to take over the Raiders two months into the WHA’s 1972-73 maiden season.

The league found a new buyer in the spring of 1973 with a consortium led by Ralf Brent.  Brent’s group took over the club and immediately changed the name from Raiders to “Golden Blades”.  The team, in fact, would wear white skates with gold colored blades.  The Golden Blades scored an early coup in the summer of 1973, signing the league’s reigning scoring champion Andre Lacroix away from the similarly troubled Philadelphia Blazers club.  Then things went south in a hurry.

The new owners were still saddled with the Raiders’ old lousy dates and expensive lease at the Garden.  And they turned out not to have any real money.  Brent & Co. missed their very first payroll in October 1973.  (At least the Raiders’ owners made two payrolls before evaporating the previous winter).  The WHA took over player payroll, but Brent and his partners were still responsible for funding the remaining operations of the Blades.  By November 1973 they were on the verge of eviction from Madison Square Garden.  The league stepped in on November 20th and seized the franchise.  The Golden Blades were swiftly shipped off to tiny 5,000 Cherry Hill Arena on the outskirts of Philadelphia and finished out the 1973-74 season as the “Jersey Knights”.

The WHA never returned to New York.  The league folded in 1979 following a merger that saw four of its teams join the NHL.



World Hockey Association Media Guides

World Hockey Association Programs