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1974 Baltimore Banners

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World Team Tennis (1974)

Born: 1973 – World Team Tennis founding franchise.
Died: Postseason 1974 – The Banners cease operations.

Arena: Baltimore Civic Center

Team Colors: Red, White & Blue

Owners: Howard Fine, Gerald Klauber, Joseph Rivkin & Robert E. Bradley, Jr.

 

The Baltimore Banners were a One-Year Wonder that played during the inaugural season of World Team Tennis during the summer of 1974.  The Banners were notable primarily for signing American tennis bad boy Jimmy Connors to a $100,000 contract to appear in 22 of Baltimore’s 44 scheduled matches.

Connors’ signing with the Banners was controversial.  The International Lawn Tennis Federation viewed WTT as a rogue organization, afraid that the garish American league (which encouraging very un-tennis behavior like heckling and cheerleaders) would lure top touring pros away from prominent summer tour events such as the Italian and French Opens.  The French Tennis Federation retaliated against Connors and WTT by banning him from entering the French Open in 1974.  Connors sued unsuccessfully to play and was ultimately excluded.   The dispute deprived Connors of the chance to become just the third man to win a Grand Slam, as he won Australia, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 1974.

Besides Connors, the Banners also featured Bob Carmichael, Joyce Hume, Kathy Kuykendall, Audrey Morse, Jay Mukerjea and Betty Stove.  Aussie Don Candy was the Banners’ coach.  The club did not perform well and finished the 1974 season with a 16-28 record.  Only four of the league’s sixteen teams fared worse.  The team also fared poorly at the box office – only 761 fans showed up at the 11,000-seat Baltimore Civic Center for the team’s second home match, on a Saturday night in May 1974.  The Banners’ final home appearance on August 17, 1974 drew an announced crowd of only 1,065.

During the ensuing off season, seven of the original sixteen World Team Tennis franchises went out of business, reducing the league from 16 to 10 franchise for 1975.  The Banners were among the casualties.

The original World Team Tennis folded in November 1978.  A lower-budget, lower-profile version re-launched in 1981 and continues to play to this day.   Jimmy Connors returned to the “new” World Team Tennis in 1991 and 1992 to play for the Los Angeles Strings.

 

==1974 Baltimore Banners Results==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
5/8/1974 vs. Hawaii Leis W 35-20
5/11/1974 vs. Buffalo-Toronto Royals L 31-28
5/13/1974 @ Philadelphia Freedoms L 34-26
5/15/1974 vs. Detroit Loves W 31-28
5/17/1974 vs. Philadelphia Freedoms L 34-20 Program Roster
5/19/1974 @ Cleveland Nets W 24-21
5/20/1974 @ New York Sets W 24-23
5/21/1974 @ Boston Lobsters W 27-22
5/22/1974 vs. Houston E-Z Riders L 29-25
5/24/1974 @ Florida Flamingos L 24-21
5/25/1974 vs. Minnesota Buckskins W 20-19
5/29/1974 vs. Cleveland Nets L 26-17
6/1/1974 vs. Pittsburgh Triangles L 27-14
6/4/1974 @ Minnesota Buckskins L 25-20
6/6/1974 @ Pittsburgh Triangles L 27-20
6/8/1974 vs. New York Sets W 31-23
6/9/1974 @ Boston Lobsters L 25-22
6/10/1974 @ New York Sets L 29-27
6/12/1974 Buffalo-Toronto Royals W 22-20
6/14/1974 vs. Detroit Loves L 32-17
6/15/1974 vs. New York Sets L 24-21
7/8/1974 @ Philadelphia Freedoms L 28-23
7/11/1974 vs. Pittsburgh Triangles L 24-23
7/13/1974 vs. Golden Gaters L 25-24
7/14/1974 @ Cleveland Nets W 24-23
7/15/1974 @ Buffalo-Toronto Royals Ppd.
7/17/1974 vs. Florida Flamingos L 23-22
7/20/1974 vs. Buffalo-Toronto Royals
7/22/1974 @ Detroit Loves L 29-18
7/23/1974 Buffalo-Toronto Royals W 28-24
7/24/1974 vs. Chicago Aces W 25-23
7/26/1974 vs. Boston Lobsters W 29-20
7/29/1974 @ Houston E-Z Riders L 28-27
7/31/1974 vs. Los Angeles Strings W 27-20
8/1/1974 @ Detroit Loves L 28-19
8/2/1974 vs. Denver Racquets L 28-20
8/4/1974 @ Pittsburgh Triangles L 28-26
8/7/1974 vs. Boston Lobsters L 23-21
8/9/1974 vs. Philadelphia Freedoms L 29-23
8/11/1974 @ Hawaii Leis ??
8/13/1974 @ Golden Gaters W 26-22
8/14/1974 @ Los Angeles Strings L 25-23
8/15/1974 @ Denver Racquets L 29-19
8/17/1974 vs. Cleveland Nets W 25-23
8/18/1974 @ Chicago Aces L 25-23

 

==Key Players==

  • Jimmy Connors

 

==In Memoriam==

Former Banner Bob Carmichael of Australia passed away on November 18, 2003 at age 63.

 

 

==Downloads==

May 1974 Banner Line Team Newsletter

 

 

==Links==

World Team Tennis Media Guides

World Team Tennis Programs

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