Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1978-1979 Indy Daredevils

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Indy DaredevilsAmerican Soccer League (1978-1979)

Born: 1978 – The New England Oceaneers relocate to Indianapolis, IN
Folded: Postseason 1979

Stadium: The Butler Bowl

Team Colors:

Owner: Bob Stoppenhagen

ASL Championships: None

 

The Indy Daredevils were a short-lived 2nd Division soccer club that played at the Butler Bowl in Indianapolis during the late 1970’s.

The 1978 Daredevils squad posted a 8-13-3 record, good for 3rd place in the American Soccer League’s Eastern Division. The Daredevils lost to the New Jersey Americans in the first round of the 1978 playoffs. Forward Steve Newman tied for second in the ASL with 14 goals despite missing five matches. The club selected goalkeeper Pete Mannos as it’s Most Valuable Player.

Off the field, the ‘Devils led the 10-team league in attendance in 1978, with a reported average of 4,376 fans per game.

Indy’s second campaign was a mess from the outset. The Daredevils ran out of money early in the season. Club owner Bob Stoppenhagen and head coach Sam Donnelly raged against one another in the pages of The Indianapolis Star. Stoppenhagen fired the second year coach. At one point, the ‘Devils went through five head coaches in the span of one month. The team finished the under the direction of Dr. Martin Funderberger, a local opthamologist who volunteered to coach the team for free for the final two months of the season.  The team finished 8-17-3 and out of the playoffs.

The Daredevils played their final game at the Butler Bowl on August 26, 1979, pulling out a 4-1 victory against the Columbus Magic. The club folded during the winter of 1979-80. The American Soccer League went out of business in early 1984.

 

Indianapolis Daredevils Shop

Daredevils Retro T-Shirt by Throwback Max


American Soccer League Logo T-Shirt by Ultras

 

Indianapolis Daredevils Memorabilia

 

Downloads

1978 American Soccer League Attendance Summary

 

Links

American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

December 1st, 2017 at 3:34 am

1979-1987 Indianapolis Checkers

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Indianapolis Checkers ProgramCentral Hockey League (1979-1984)
International Hockey League (1984-1987)

Born: 1979 – CHL expansion franchise.
Folded: Summer 1987

Arenas:

Team Colors: Blue, Orange & White

Owners:

 

The Indianapolis Checkers were the top farm club of the NHL’s New York Islanders during the Isles’ NHL dynasty era of the early 1980’s.  During the Checkers’ five years in the Central Hockey League, New York owned the club directly.  The Islanders went to the Stanley Cup finals in all five of those seasons, winning four times.  Meanwhile, the Checkers won the Adams Cup championship of the CHL in back-to-back seasons in 1982 and 1983.

In May of 1984, the Central Hockey League collapsed, leaving only the Checkers and the Salt Lake Golden Eagles able to go on.  Both clubs were accepted into the International Hockey League that summer.  As part of the transition, the Islanders sold the Checkers to former Pittsburgh Penguins owner Al Savill.  Although the Islanders still sent a few prospects, they moved their primary farm club to Springfield, Massachusetts.  The Checkers also received players from the Boston Bruins and Minnesota North Stars.

In 1985, Savill sold the team to Larry Woods.  Woods moved the Checkers out of their long-time home at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum into the massive and more expensive Market Square Arena.  The Checkers played two seasons at Market Square before shutting down due to heavy financial losses in the summer of 1987.

After one winter without hockey in 1987-88, the IHL expanded back into the Indianapolis with the formation of the Indianapolis Ice (1988-1999) the following year.

 

Indianapolis Checkers Memorabilia

 

Links

Central Hockey League Media Guides

Central Hockey League Programs

International Hockey League Media Guides

International Hockey League Programs

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1975-1978 & 1983 Indiana Loves

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World Team Tennis (1975-1978)
TeamTennis (1983)

Born: November 1974 – The Detroit Loves relocate to Indianapolis, IN
Folded: November 9, 1978
Re-Born: November 23, 1982 – Team Tennis expansion franchise.
Folded Again: 1983

Arenas:

Team Colors: Green, Burgundy & Gold

Owners:

WTT Championships: None

 

The Indiana Loves were a four-year member of Billie Jean King’s kooky, colorful World Team Tennis experiment during the mid-1970’s.  The franchise started out as the Detroit Loves in WTT’s inaugural season of 1974, but was unsuccessful there.  At the end of the season, the original owners sold out to Indianapolis businessman and tennis aficionado William Bereman, who kept the Loves name and moved the club to Indianapolis’ Market Square Arena for the 1975 campaign.

The Loves’ main attraction was the young Lithuanian-American golden boy Vitas Gerulaitis, who came to Indiana for the 1977 season after the Pittsburgh Triangles, his original WTT employer, went out of business.  Gerulaitis was 23 years old at the time and coming into his own as a rising star in both the singles and doubles game.  He won the Australian Open in 1977 (in what would be his only Grand Slam singles title) and was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon in 1977 and 1978.  Gerulaitis’ sister Ruta Gerulaitis also played for the Loves.

The Loves also featured a handful of top notch doubles players, including Aussies Allan Stone (also the Loves’ coach for all four seasons), Dianne Fromholtz and Geoff Masters.

The Loves had a losing record in all four seasons they played in Indianapolis, bottoming out in World Team Tennis’ final season of 1978 with a last place 13-31 record.  Shortly after the 1978 season concluded, eight of the ten World Team Tennis franchises folded causing the demise of the league.

A re-organized, lower-budget version of World Team Tennis came back in 1981.  In November 1982, former owner Bill Bereman announced that the Loves would return to the revived league in July 1983 after a four year absence. Bereman announced plans  to play at the 8,000-seat Indianapolis Sports Center.

I’m not sure what became of Bereman after that announcement. A team did play under the Indiana Loves name the following summer, but it never set foot in the state of Indiana. The Loves played the entire 1983 Team Tennis season as a travel team in other league cities and then quietly went out of business once and for all.

 

==Indiana Loves Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1978

1978 6/16/1978 vs. Phoenix Racquets ?? Program

 

==In Memoriam==

Vitas Gerulaitis died of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning at a friend’s home on September 17, 1994.  He was 40.

Loves Owner & President Bill Bereman passed away in April 1996 at age 54.

Former Loves Director of Publicity Jep Cadou died on October 21, 2003 at age 80.

 

 

 ==Links==

World Team Tennis Media Guides

World Team Tennis Programs

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November 29, 1969 – Indianapolis Capitols vs. Orlando Panthers

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Indianapolis Capitols vs. Orlando Panthers
Continental Football League Division Playoffs
November 29, 1969
Bush Stadium
Attendance:

Continental Football League Programs
52 pages

 

I’m posting this rare but rather dull-looking Indianapolis Capitols (1968-1970) football program today because we’re shipping it out to a collector in Indiana tomorrow and I think we’re unlikely to see one of these again.  This program was from the dying days of the Continental Football League (1965-1969), a nationwide organization that could never quite make-up its mind whether it wanted to be a rival to the AFL & NFL or a subsidized farm system for the established leagues.

For minor league football cultists this semi-final playoff game featured a dream match-up at quarterback between the young African-American signal caller for the Caps, Johnnie Walton, and Don Jonas of the Orlando Panthers.  Walton was on loan to the Caps from the Los Angeles Rams’ taxi squad.  He was the Most Valuable Player in the Continental League in 1969 and went on to a fascinating journeyman career in the NFL, WFL and USFL right up through the mid-1980’s.  You can read more about Walton in this earlier Caps article.

If anything, Jonas was even better than Walton in the Continental League.  He won three consecutive MVP awards from 1966 to 1968 and led the Panthers to the league championship game in all three seasons, winning in 1967 and 1968.  Walton finally pried the MVP award loose in 1969 and he also beat Jonas and the Panthers on this night in Indianapolis, 27-7.  The Caps went on to win the final championship of the Continental League two weeks later on December 13th, 1969, also at Bush Stadium.

The Continental Football League folded in early 1970 and both the Caps and the Panthers were instrumental in its demise, as both jumped to the lower-budgeted Atlantic Coast Football League.  Both franchises played one final season in the ACFL in 1970 before folding for good.

Jonas moved on to the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts in 1970.  In 1971 he joined the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers and had a spectacular season, passing for 4,036 yards and winning the league’s Most Outstanding Player Award.  Throughout his career, Jonas typically threw a pile of interceptions along with his gaudy yardage and touchdown stats.  1971 was no different and it’s kind of remarkable that he won Most Outstanding Player honors while throwing 31 interceptions.

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November 15, 1969 – Indianapolis Capitols vs. Ohio Valley Ironmen

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Indianapolis Capitols vs. Ohio Valley (WV) Ironmen
Bush Stadium
November 15, 1969
Attendance:

Continental Football League Programs

 

The Indianapolis Capitols (1968-1970) were a short-lived effort in professional minor league football, a form of entertainment which largely ceased to exist by the mid-1970’s.  The Caps were notable as one of the first pro football franchises to put their team in the hands of a black quarterback and they were also one of the first dabblings in pro sports by future NFL and NHL power broker Edward DeBartolo.

For Caps owner Al Savill, this was his second go at pro football in Indianapolis and his mulligan in the Continental Football League.  The mortgage banker previously owned the Indianapolis Warriors of the old United Football League from 1961 to 1964, later moving the team to Fort Wayne for a final season in the Continental Football League in 1965 before disposing of the team.

The first year Caps finished 8-4 in 1968, good for first in the Continental League’s Central Division, before falling to the Orlando Panthers in the first round of league playoffs.  At the box office, the team claimed an average of 6,907 fans per game at Bush Stadium.

In the Spring of 1969, the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League drafted the University of Southern California’s Heisman-winning running back O.J. Simpson with the first pick in the AFL-NFL Draft.  Simpson and his Indianapolis-based agent Chuck Barnes got into a protracted contract stalemate with Bills owner Ralph Wilson.  Savill jumped into the fray in April, offering Simpson and Barnes a one-year $150,000 and a $250,000 loan to sign with the Caps.  Simpson went on to sign with the AFL, of course, but the offer gained nationwide press for the Caps in the pages of Sports Illustrated, The New York Times and beyond and generated new local interest in Savill’s club.

The Caps fared just fine during the 1969 Continental League season without Simpson.  The Los Angeles Rams sent John Walton, an undrafted rookie free agent quarterback from Elizabeth City (NC) State College, to Indianapolis.  Walton started the season as a back-up to incumbent Frank Stavroff, a holdover from the 1968 Caps squad and a local product from the University of Indiana.  Walton took over in midseason and led the Caps back to the playoffs, where they defeated the defending champion Orlando Panthers 27-7 in the semi-final.

Walton’s role was practically revolutionary in pro football in 1969, a time when black players on the Caps still confronted the vestiges of overt racism in Indianapolis.  In a 2009 interview with Indianapolis Star reporter Phillip Wilson, Caps wide receiver Joe Wynns recalled being denied entrance to an Indianapolis carnival because of the color of his skin.

The Caps met the San Antonio Toros at Bush Stadium on December 13th, 1969 to play for the Continental League championship.  The game was a barn burner, with the Caps building up a seemingly insurmountable 38-28 lead with just over one minute to play.  Preposterously, the Toros converted a 29-yard touchdown pass, executed an onside kick and got a 38-yard field goal from Jerry Moritz with six seconds remaining to send the title game into sudden death overtime.  Moritz missed a 25-yard chip shot to win it for San Antonio, which allowed Caps fullback John Nice to dash 13 yards for the game winner.

After the game Caps owner Al Savill took credit in the press for the winning play call, claiming he over-ruled Head Coach Ken Carpenter’s desire to go for the game winning field goal on first down.  Walton, earlier named the Continental League’s MVP for the 1969 season, became the first African-American quarterback to lead a football team to a professional title.

After the 1969 season, the Continental League fell apart.  The Caps helped seal the league’s demise by defecting to the lower-budget Atlantic Coast Football League in February 1970, along the Jersey Jays, Norfolk (VA) Neptunes and the Orlando Panthers.  The Caps played one final season – without Walton – in the autumn of 1970 before folding.

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Johnnie Walton continued his quixotic journey through pro football for another 15 years.  He spent three seasons on the Los Angeles Rams taxi squad from 1970-1972 without ever appearing in a regular season game.  He played minor league football in Columbus, Ohio and briefly earned a starting job with the San Antonio Wings of the World Football League in 1975 before that league collapsed in midseason.  Walton finally saw limited NFL action as a backup for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976 to 1979.  After a three-year retirement from playing, Walton re-emerged as the starting quarterback for the Boston Breakers of the United States Football League in 1983.  He followed the Breakers to New Orleans for the 1984 season, his last before retiring.  Walton enjoyed his most enduring success in the USFL as a 35 and 36-year old, passing for more than 7,000 yards during his two seasons in the league.

Al Savill continued his sports investments throughout the 1970’s.  In 1973, Savill purchased the Columbus Golden Seals of the International Hockey League from Oakland A’s owner Charles O. Finley.  Two years later, he moved up to the big leagues, buying the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins out of receivership for a reported $3.8 million.  Savill owned the Penguins from 1975 to 1978.  He passed away in 1989 at the age of 72.

Mall developer Edward DeBartolo Sr. also served on the Capitols nine-man board of directors with Savill in the late 1960’s.  DeBartolo would go on to take over the Pittsburgh Penguins from Savill in 1978.  The prolific sports investor also bought the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL in 1977 and briefly owned the USFL’s Pittsburgh Maulers and Major Indoor Soccer League’s Pittsburgh Spirit.

 

==Downloads==

Indianapolis Caps sources

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