Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Men’s Professional Softball (1977-1982)

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American Professional Slo-Pitch League

Between 1977 and 1982, three men’s professional softball leagues existed in the United States.

The first to form was the American Professional Slo-Pitch League, created by Columbus, Ohio promoter Bill Byrne, in 1977.  The APSPL lasted four seasons, playing from 1977 to 1980.

After the 1979 APSPL season, Cleveland Competitors owner Ted Stepien (who would also buy the NBA”s Cleveland Cavaliers in 1980), split from the APSPL to form the rival North American Softball League (NASL).  The Milwaukee Schlitz franchise also left to join the NASL.  The Competitors and the Schlitz were complemented by six new Midwestern NASL franchises, including the delightfully named Fort Wayne Huggie Bears.  Both leagues fielded clubs in Cincinnati and in Pittsburgh during the summer of 1980, competing for the very limited pro softball audience.

Stepien pulled out of pro softball after the 1980 season, resulting in the collapse of the NASL.  The Milwaukee Schlitz franchise essentially re-joined thesix surviving franchises of the APSPL, and then the league announced a name change to the United Professional Softball League (UPSL) for the 1981 season.  The UPSL last two seasons, playing its final campaign in the summer of 1982.


 American Professional Slo-Pitch League Franchise List (1977-1980)

Franchise Years Active APSPL Champions
Baltimore Monuments 1977 None
Chicago Storm 1977-1978 None
Cincinnati Suds 1977-1980 None
Cleveland Jaybirds 1977-1978 None
Cleveland Stepien's Competitors 1979 None
Columbus All-Americans 1977 None
Detroit Caesars 1977-1979 1978-1979
Fort Wayne Scouts 1979 None
Kentucky Bourbons 1977-1980 None
Milwaukee Copper Hearth 1977 None
Milwaukee Schlitz 1978-1979 1979
Minnesota Goofy's 1977 None
Minnesota Norsemen 1978-1979 None
New England Pilgrims 1978-1980 None
New Jersey Statesmen 1977 None
New York Clippers 1977 None
Philadelphia Athletics 1978-1980 None
Pittsburgh Hardhats 1977-1980 None
Rochester Express 1980 1980
Rochester Zeniths 1978-1979 None
Trenton Champales 1979 None
Trenton Statesmen 1978 None


North American Softball League Franchise List (1980)

Franchise Years Active NASL Champions
Chicago Nationwide Advertising 1980 None
Cincinnati Rivermen 1980 None
Cleveland Stepien's Competitors 1980 None
Detroit Auto Kings 1980 None
Fort Wayne Huggie Bears 1980 None
Lexington Stallions 1980 None
Milwaukee Schlitz 1980 1980
Pittsburgh Champions 1980 None


United Professional Softball League Franchise List (1981-1982)

Franchise Years Active UPSL Champions
Cincinnati Suds 1981-1982 None
Cleveland Competitors 1982 None
Detroit Softball City 1982 None
Kentucky Bourbons 1981-1982 1981
Lima Steele's 1982 None
Milwaukee Schlitz 1981-1982 1982
New England Pilgrims 1981 None
Pittsburgh Hardhats 1981-1982 None
Rochester Express 1981-1982 None
South Jersey Athletics 1981-1982 None
Syracuse Salts 1981 None

Written by AC

July 25th, 2012 at 12:54 am

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