Forgotten Franchises: The NHL’s Kansas City Scouts

The Kansas City Scouts began as a 1974 NHL expansion team, entering the league along with the Washington Capitals. At the time, the NHL was waging a war with the rival World Hockey Association, and both leagues were eager to get a foothold into new arenas before their rivals did… As a result, the 1970’s involved plenty of expansion and relocation for both leagues.
1974 Topps Hockey Kansas City Scouts
The original name of the team was meant to be the Kansas City Mohawks, but the Chicago Black Hawks objected that the name was too similar to theirs. As a result, the name “Scouts” was adopted. The name and the team logo both come from a famous statue called “The Scout”; it depicts a Sioux indian and overlooks downtown Kansas City.

The Scouts got off to a slow start in both play and attendance. Season ticket sales were much lower than projected, and the only NHL team with a worse record than the Scouts was the woeful Capitals.
1975 Topps Hockey Richard Lemieux

Both the team and attendance continued to be bad in the second season. The Scouts had trouble finding financial backing for the team. At one point they were to be bought by the NBA’s Kansas City Kings, their “roommates” in the Kemper Arena, but that deal fell through.
1976-77 Topps Gary Bergman
Problems continued for the Scouts, and the NHL realized that expanding to Kansas City was a mistake. Things got so bad that the league threatened to terminate the franchise if it were not sold. A buyer was found that moved the team to Denver after just two seasons… and no, the Scouts did not become the Colorado Avalanche. I’ll get into that in my next “Forgotten Franchises” post.

Kansas City has not seen major professional hockey since the Scouts left town. Both the Penguins and Islanders were flirting with the idea in recent years (or using KC as a bargaining tool, take your pick), but neither move took place.

I am a “franchise nerd”. For reasons I cannot explain, I am interested in the franchise histories of all sports, even the sports I don’t otherwise care about.

I don’t follow any particular soccer team or player, but I always keep an eye out for news about MLS expansion.

I don’t care for basketball and couldn’t give a damn about the NBA, and yet when I see a basketball card featuring a player for the Memphis Tams, I become intrigued.

When the “AAA” American Hockey League simultaneously shifted five teams to California last  month, it had zero effect on my life… but there I was Googling for more information about it.

I figure there must be others who find this stuff interesting. With that in mind, I’m starting this series on the basic histories of “dearly departed” franchises from most of the major North American sports. If there’s any particular teams you’d like to see covered, or if you have any other suggestions, you know what to do.

My Arm Hurts

My arm has been bothering me lately, and since it’s the arm I “mouse with”, I figure it’s from spending too much time in front of computers.

So today I’m just going to shut up and share some assorted images of cards I bought at a recent show.

1980 Topps Carlton Fisk

1982 Donruss Lenn Sakata

1991 Stadium Club Kevin Elster

2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites George Brett

1965 Topps New York Mets

Joe’s Favorites: 1975 Topps Football, Part 1

Last week I wrote about completing the 1975  Topps Football set and I shared some key cards I got along the way…  But “key” doesn’t necessarily mean “favorite”, and I wanted to share some of the cards that make me like this set enough to complete it.

Let’s start with an action shot… And I don’t know if there’s a better one in the entire set.  An airborne Dolphins defensive end Bill Stanfill absolutely nails Bills QB Joe Ferguson.
1975 Topps Football Bill Stanfill

I’ve had this Jerrel Wilson card since I was a kid… and since I was a kid I thought that Wilson looked like Frank Gorshin, a.k.a. The Riddler from the 1960’s Batman TV show.  Can’t you just hear the  manic giggling?  Imagine if he were with the Packers or Eagles, teams with green jerseys?

1975 Topps Football Jerrel Wilson

If you lean more towards Star Trek than Batman, you can imagine him saying “Are you blind?  I’m black on the right side, and he’s white on the right side!”

This Bob Griese card also made an impression on me as a kid.  Gosh, he looks like such a nice guy!  It didn’t hurt that I also had the 1974 Wonder Bread Bob Griese which used the same photo.

1975 Topps Football Bob Griese

The heck with Mean Joe Greene, Bob Griese would’ve given me his jersey right up front without having to give him a Coke first. “Hey, kid! You wanna drive my Porsche? Sure, it’s OK… Here are my keys – catch!”

This last one I include just because it’s Tim Berra…  That’s right, it’s Yogi’s boy!  …and former Pirate Dale Berra’s brother!  I think this may be Tim’s only card, as he played only in the 1974 season.  Although he’s listed as a Wide Receiver, he was mainly used on punt and kickoff returns.

1975 Topps Football Tim Berra

…and speaking of returns, I will return with more of my favorites from 1975 Football!