Remembrance Of Things Past

The San Diego Chargers are no more.
1975-topps-football-joe-beauchamp
It was announced yesterday that the Chargers will be moving to Los Angeles for the 2017 season and will share a $2 kajillion stadium with the Rams starting in 2019.  Pardon me while I shake my head, but I’ve seen this movie before.  Back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s the Rams shared LA with the Raiders, and the story ended with both teams leaving town.  Whatever happened to all the talk of “LA doesn’t support football”?  Don’t answer that, I know the answer.

Given that I never really stopped thinking of the Rams as the Los Angeles Rams, I began pondering other teams from my youth which are no longer with us…

…And I said “I’ll bet there’s a post in there!”

The 1970’s were a pretty… um… dynamic time with regard to franchises, so for the following exercise in nostalgia I’m going to use 1977 as a “baseline”, as that was the first year I collected hockey (and had already been collecting baseball and football).  It was also, of course, 40 years ago.

I never collected basketball, but I won’t leave them out of the discussion.

FOOTBALL

Baltimore Colts (moved to Indianapolis)
1978-topps-football-mike-barnes

Houston Oilers (moved to Nashville; currently the Tennessee Titans)
1975-topps-dan-pastorini

St. Louis Cardinals (moved to Phoenix)
1978-topps-roger-wehrli

San Diego Chargers (moved to Los Angeles)

Prodigal Sons:  A year ago I would’ve included the Los Angeles Rams on this list.  25 years ago, I would’ve included the Oakland Raiders.

Biggest travesty of justice:  Baltimore Colts (Right, CommishBob?)  This is one of those textbook examples of a community which supported their team in every way that mattered with the sole exception of ponying up for a new stadium.

1977 NFL team I miss for other reasons:  I’ll go with the Oilers, since they’re the only one that actually changed names.

NHL HOCKEY

Atlanta Flames (moved to Calgary)
1977-78-topps-hockey-dan-bouchard

Cleveland Barons (merged with Minnesota North Stars)
1977-78-topps-gilles-meloche

Colorado Rockies (moved to New Jersey; now the Devils)
1977-78-topps-wilf-paiement

Minnesota North Stars (moved to Dallas; now the Stars)
1977-78-topps-hockey-alex-pirus

Biggest travesty of justice and the team I miss the most:  No question about this, it’s the North Stars on both counts.  I’ve always been fond of the North Stars logo and colors, the Barons and Rockies didn’t last much longer than 1977, and it’s hard to feel sorry for Atlanta when they’ve now lost two NHL teams.

WHA HOCKEY

Birmingham Bulls (folded when left out of the NHL/WHA merger)

Cincinnati Stingers (folded when left out of the NHL/WHA merger)
1977-78-o-pee-chee-wha-claude-larose

Indianapolis Racers (folded)

New England Whalers (moved to Raleigh, NC; now the Carolina Hurricanes)
1981-82-topps-mark-howe

Houston Aeros (folded when left out of the NHL/WHA merger)

Quebec Nordiques (moved to Denver; now the Colorado Avalanche)
1979-80-topps-hockey-marc-tardif

Winnipeg Jets (the original Jets moved to Phoenix and are now the Coyotes).
1983-84-opc-paul-maclean

Biggest travesty of justice:  So many to chose from…  Any Canadian city the size of Quebec *should* have a hockey team.  Hartford and Houston both had solid fan bases… as did Winnipeg, but their team has since been replaced.

1977 WHA team I miss for other reasons:  I collect the Stingers… ‘Nuff said.

BASKETBALL
I tried following basketball as a kid, but despite giving it the ol’ college try I just couldn’t get into it… but that doesn’t mean I should leave hoops out of this discussion.

Buffalo Braves (moved to San Diego;  now the L.A. Clippers)
1974-75 Topps Basketball Garfield Heard

Kansas City Kings (moved to Sacramento)

New Jersey Nets (moved to Brooklyn)

New Orleans Jazz (moved to Salt Lake City)

Seattle SuperSonics (moved to Oklahoma City;  now the Thunder)

Honorary mention:  Washington Bullets (Same team, same city, different name)
1980-81 Topps Basketball Bullets Pin Up

Biggest travesty of justice:  Easy peasy… Seattle should never have had the Sonics taken away from them.

1977 NBA team I miss for other reasons:  I’ll say the New Orleans Jazz, partly because I did kinda like “Pistol Pete” Maravich (for reasons I don’t remember), but mainly because even as a 14-year-old kid I thought that “Utah Jazz” was a freakin’ stupid name.

BASEBALL

Montreal Expos (moved to Washington)

1977-topps-steve-rogers

Given the franchise stability of MLB over the past 40 years, it all comes down to the Expos.

Same place, different name:  California Angels

Travesty of justice and MLB team I miss the most:  Les Expos, naturellement!

So what teams from your own youth do you miss?  If you’re older than I am, it might be the Kansas City Athletics, California Golden Seals or Cincinnati Royals.  If you’re younger than I am, it might be the Vancouver Grizzlies, Atlanta Thrashers or maybe the USFL’s Los Angeles Express .

 

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21 thoughts on “Remembrance Of Things Past

  1. Didn’t the Chargers play their first year in the AFL as the Los Angeles Chargers. Don’t really care where they play. Just hope they don’t change the logo and team colors. Although I’ve already heard that’s not going to be the case

  2. This is an interesting exercise – one that I might sit down and do myself. As for team from my youth that I most miss, I might have to say the Expos. That fan base really got the short end of the stick.

  3. Expos definitely..

    I miss the old Winnipeg Jets uniforms.. I really don’t like the Jet Compass we have now.. Oddly enough a player from my hometown was a member of both the California Seals and the Cleveland Barons..

    I remember also the CFL American expansion. The only really successful team was the one in Baltimore. Originally they were known as the Baltimore CFL Colts, but the NFL got an injunction from them using the word Colts in any form. The locals would still call the team the Colts to the point that the PA announcer would introduce them as “Your Baltimore CFL (Pause where the Fans would shout Colts) Football Club..
    They ended up being named the Stallions before the Ravens moved to Baltimore, at which point the Stallions galloped off to Montreal to become the current Allouettes.

  4. I miss the Stingers. We had a good team here including future HoFers Mike Gartner and Mark Messier. Older guys like Rick Dudley, Robbie Ftorek, Mike Liut and Blaine Stoughton finished out their successful careers in the NHL. It kinda sucked to watch their individual achievements and wondering what might have been.

    And yes the Cincy Royals have a long and winding history. Started out in Rochester NY, then Cincinnati, then KC/Omaha and finally Sacramento. They were a little before my time but they featured a number of local area players including Oscar Robertson and Jack Twyman.

    In a related note, I think it was odd that the KC Royals started up in 1969 in Kansas City and the Cincy Royals moved and became the KC Kings a couple of years later. Not sure if there is anything related there but it always caught my attention.

    And yes, I miss the Expos too. Loved their colors and the Expos “Me” logo design. Pretty creative stuff. And it’s a shame that they weren’t able to keep their team together in the early 90’s…Randy Johnson, Larry Walker, Bartolo Colon, Vlad Guererro and more… They might have contended for a division crown.

    • The funny thing is that when I was a kid I latched on to the Stingers even though I’d never seen them play, not even on TV. NYC TV stations didn’t show the WHA, not that I’m aware of anyway. I did follow the team through the newspaper and magazines, but that was as much as I could manage on Long Island.

  5. Its also interesting to see how some teams retained the team name while others were re-branded. I’m curious to know how people feel about retaining the team name with the city or if should remain with the team if it relocates.

    I always thought it was odd that the Cardinals franchise retained the name when they went to Phoenix. That species is found mostly from the east coast to the middle of the country but not in the American southwest.

    And the whole moving around thing bugs me too. The Colts move to Indy…then the Browns move to Baltimore. The Browns v2.0 fills that void. The Oilers move to Tennesee while the Texans replace them in Houston while borrowing the original team name of the AFL KC Chiefs when they played in Dallas.

    • Although I’ve never been on the “victim” side of this, I would imagine that your departing team keeping its name would just make it hurt more. I will admit, however, that when I was a Washington Capitals fan in the late 1970’s, there was talk of the team moving to Ottawa and in that case I would’ve been OK with them becoming the Ottawa Capitals (which would’ve still worked in the new city). Granted, the Caps were my team but they weren’t a local team, so it wasn’t a lot of skin off my back if they had moved.

  6. Oh, how much every mention of my beloved Colts in that other city pains me!! ;-)

    But actually, I’ve gotten past it, mostly. Having the Texans has helped. I tried being a Ravens fan but given that they were hi-jacked from Cleveland I felt like a hypocrite. I tried being an Oilers fan but Bud Adams was too big of a jackass. The Texans finally filled the bill.

    I miss the Aeros in Houston, too. I’m not certain that Houston would support an NHL franchise but I wish we had a chance to give it a go. Won’t happen as long as Les Alexander owns the Rockets though. He’s been the roadblock.

    The Expos were just such a cool franchise. I read this book last year. Seems like another case of screwed up management costing a city a franchise.

    • As a Steelers fan, at the time I was very upset about the Browns moving to Baltimore and “screwing up” the rivalry. As it turned out, I had no problems despising the Ravens, especially because, as you mentioned, it never seemed right for Baltimore to right their wrong at another city’s expense. I don’t care that the Browns were immediately replaced by an expansion team, to have all of the players from one year replaced with an entirely different bunch the next would put anybody’s fandom to the test.

  7. If you want confusing franchise stuff look at the Charlotte Hornets. That has really been blundered badly by the NBA. (they basically stripped one franchise of it’s history because a new one in the original city wanted the name back).

    I’m sad that the Hartford Whalers are no more. Although I live in the state of NY I would have considered them my home team had they still existed.

  8. As a Fan of DC Sports (and B’more) my biggest pain was the 30+ years of no Baseball in DC when the Senators moved to TX to be the Rangers. I am happy there is a “new” Nationals team in DC, but am sad it took the loss of the Expos. As a kid in the early 70s I loved the red/white/blue uniforms of the Expos I considered them a “fave” team even though at my young age I didn’t follow sports much just collected the cards. Actually I was more into Football then than anything else. Been collecting cards for as long as I remember so even before age 5 I had a card collection. I think it would have been cool if the Pilots had stayed in Seattle. It would mean no Brewers but what the hey.

    Like CommishBob I was/am ticked at the whole B’More Colts fiasco. ‘Nuff said about that. For my Rams I always considered them The L.A. Rams even though they spent the last 20 years in St. Louis Home of the Cardinals (they need to move from Arizona back to St. Louis). Of course the Rams began as the Cleveland Rams so there is that. Also there is the Ravens (old Cleveland Browns) ignoring their past due to the new Cleveland Browns.

    Wish the Wizards were still named the Bullets. I agree about the Jazz. When you think Jazz its New Orleans, not Utah. Utah Mormons OK Utah Jazz NO.

    Hockey I’ve got the Capitals. Wish they had been around at the beginning of the NHL it is sad when people talk about the “original 8” and I can’t chime in with my team.

    Oh Soccer even though I was never much into it I miss the Washington Diplomats with their top hat logo and the team jingle “Get your Kicks, With the Dips, Dip Soccer at RFK”. As a kid the only time I went to RFK was for a Diplomats game. I have since forgotten which team they played. I think they won the game we saw 2-0 not sure. I never saw a Redskins game at RFK but I did see a couple of Nationals games before they moved to their Nats Stadium in 08, and I saw Paul McCartney at RFK for the tour he did when he first sang some of the later Beatles songs that had never been performed in concert (circa 1991?). Yeah Yeah Yeah DC has the DC United but it always sounds like an Airlines to me not a sports team.

  9. I definitely agree with you about the North Stars. As good as they’re playing right now, I still can’t get used to The Wild. As far as football goes it always bugged me that the Cardinals moved west and the Rams moved to St. Louis. Could have left the Cardinals where they were and moved the Rams to nearby Phoenix. I kinda miss the Chicago Fire of the WFL: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/e3/9b/c7/e39bc7fd90651718986deaf690a00adb.jpg They only played for one season but I must have watched since they stuck in my memory.

  10. I’m really kinda ignorant of all sports but baseball. I learned a lot reading this, thanks. I mean, I am a fan of, in order, hockey, basketball, football, but I never payed that much attention to those sports. I’d just peek at them while waiting for baseball to start up again. Nothing is as cool as watching a live hockey game when it comes to sports. But I rarely go anymore.
    I think the team I miss the most would be the Expo’s because I was there when they started playing and all through til they became the dreaded Nats.

  11. As somebody from San Diego, the news really bummed me out. But now that I’ve had a couple days to digest it.. I’m like, yeah, whatever. I was always a baseball guy, #1, first and foremost. It’s kind of cool that San Diego is now the only major city to be “baseball only” as far as the major pro sports.

  12. Hands down the team I miss the most is the Montreal Expos. I miss them so much that I started collecting them. I was way too young to appreciate them, but I also miss the California/Oakland Golden Seals, so I’d put them at second. Rounding out the list would be the Seattle Super Sonics.

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