The San Diego Chargers are no more.
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.
Baltimore Colts (moved to Indianapolis)
Houston Oilers (moved to Nashville; currently the Tennessee Titans)
St. Louis Cardinals (moved to Phoenix)
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.
Atlanta Flames (moved to Calgary)
Cleveland Barons (merged with Minnesota North Stars)
Colorado Rockies (moved to New Jersey; now the Devils)
Minnesota North Stars (moved to Dallas; now the Stars)
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.
Birmingham Bulls (folded when left out of the NHL/WHA merger)
Cincinnati Stingers (folded when left out of the NHL/WHA merger)
Indianapolis Racers (folded)
New England Whalers (moved to Raleigh, NC; now the Carolina Hurricanes)
Houston Aeros (folded when left out of the NHL/WHA merger)
Quebec Nordiques (moved to Denver; now the Colorado Avalanche)
Winnipeg Jets (the original Jets moved to Phoenix and are now the Coyotes).
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.
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)
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)
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.
Montreal Expos (moved to Washington)
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 .