Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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2001 San Francisco Demons

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San Francisco DemonsXFL (2001)

Born: 2000 – XFL founding franchise.
Folded: May 10, 2001

Stadium: Pacific Bell Park

Team Colors:

Owner: XFL

XFL Championships: None

 

The San Francisco Demons were a popular but fleeting pro football entry that played at Pac Bell Park in the winter and spring of 2001. The Demons were one of eight franchises in the XFL, a $100 million joint venture between NBC and World Wrestling Entertainment.

The Demons posted a 5-5 record, good for 2nd place in the league. Former Cal quarterback Mike Pawlawski handled the signal calling and finished second in the XFL in passing yards and first in completion percentage. After dispatching the Orlando Rage in the playoff-semi-finals, the Demons advanced to the XFL’s “Million Dollar Game” championship game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. They were blown out 38-6 by the Los Angeles Xtreme.

The XFL folded three weeks later.  Although the league is largely a punch line today, the Demons attracted a decent following at Pac Bell Park in 2001. The franchise led the XFL in attendance with an announced average of 35,005 for five home dates.

 

 

San Francisco Demons Shop

ESPN Films 30 For 30: This Is The XFL

 

Demons Video

The Demons take on the Los Angeles Xtreme in the XFL’s “Million Dollar Game”, which was both the league’s only title game and the last game of its brief history.

Links

XFL Media Guides

XFL Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

November 8th, 2017 at 4:20 am

1974-1978 Golden Gaters

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Frew McMillan Golden GatersWorld Team Tennis (1974-1978)

Born: 1973 – WTT founding franchise
Folded: March 1979

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owners:

WTT Championships: None

 

The Golden Gaters tennis team was the Bay Area franchise in the co-ed World Team Tennis league of the mid-1970’s.  Of the league’s original 16 franchises that debuted in 1974, the Golden Gaters were one of just two that remained standing in its original city when the league played its final season in 1978. (The Los Angeles Strings were the other).

The league considered the Golden Gaters to be its “San Francisco” franchise, but the team played nearly all of its matches in blue-collar Oakland.  The exception came in 1975, when the Gaters played a handful of playoff dates at the Cow Palace in Daly City.

World Team Tennis packaged tennis as a co-ed team sport played in major hockey arenas across the United States.  Each contest consisted of five matches: a single set of men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.  Each game won equated to a point and cumulative team points determined the winner.  The league also dispensed with the stuffy decorum expected on the pro tour.  Loud cheering, rock music and cornball promotions were welcomed in World Team Tennis, often to the shock and befuddlement of the European tour pros who filled the league’s rosters.

The importance of the doubles game to WTT’s scoring system meant that the league attracted a lot of doubles specialists.  South African star Frew McMillan, a doubles champion at Wimbledon, the French Open and the U.S. Open, served as the Golden Gaters player-coach for all five seasons of play.  McMillan would earn WTT Coach-of-the-Year honors in 1975. He was also named the league’s Male Most Valuable Player in 1977 and 1978.

Dutch stars Tom Okker and Betty Stove joined the Gaters in 1975 and helped the team to the first of two straight appearances in the WTT Championship Series.  The Golden Gaters lost in the finals to the Pittsburgh Triangles in 1975 and to the New York Sets in 1976.

Following the 1978 season, the league suffered a crisis of confidence among its investors. Consequently, eight of the ten franchises folded in October and November of 1978.  The Golden Gaters and the Phoenix Racquets hoped to soldier on.  But with just two active clubs remaining, World Team Tennis bowed to reality and shut its doors in March 1979.

World Team Tennis re-booted on a more modest scale in 1981 and returned to Oakland.  But neither the Oakland Breakers (1981-1982) nor the Oakland Aces (1985-1986) managed to rekindle any enthusiasm for the Team Tennis concept. Both clubs evaporated after just a handful of dates at the Coliseum Arena.

 

Golden Gaters Memorabilia

 

Links

World Team Tennis Media Guides

World Team Tennis Programs

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1961-1962 San Francisco Saints

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Gene Brown San Francisco SaintsAmerican Basketball League (1961-1962)

Born: 1961 – ABL founding franchise
Moved: 1962 (Oakland Oaks)

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owner: George McKeon

 

The San Francisco Saints were a One-Year Wonder in Abe Saperstein’s upstart American Basketball League that briefly attempted to challenge the NBA in the early 1960’s.

The Saints finished 38-38 in their only season of play and lost to the eventual champion Cleveland Pipers (owned by George Steinbrenner!) in the playoff quarterfinal.  6′ 8″ center Jim Francis out of Dartmouth was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 19.1 PPG.

In July 1962, owner George McKeon announced that the Saints would not return to the league.  The franchise was relocated across the Bay to Oakland as the Oakland Oaks for the 1962-63 season.  The ABL’s sophomore campaign was cut short due to financial difficulties and the league folded on December 31, 1962.

 

==1961-62 San Francisco Saints Results==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
11/1/1961 vs. Kansas City Steers W 100-88 Program
11/3/1961 vs. Kansas City Steers L 83-77 Program
11/9/1961 vs. Cleveland Pipers L 103-100 Program
11/10/1961 vs. Cleveland Pipers L 97-88 Program
11/17/1961 @ Chicago Majors L 94-91 (OT) Program
2/20/1962 vs. Chicago Majors W 119-116 Program
2/22/1962 vs. Chicago Majors L 118-102 Program

 

==Links==

American Basketball League Media Guides

American Basketball League Programs

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1979-1981 San Francisco Pioneers

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Women’s Professional Basketball League (1979-1981)

Born: 1979 – WPBL expansion franchise
Folded: Postseason 1981

Arena: San Francisco Civic Auditorium (5,141)

Team Colors: Columbia Blue & Gold

Owners: Marshall Geller, et al.

WPBL Championships: None

 

The San Francisco Pioneers were an expansion franchise in the Women’s Professional Basketball League.  The team opened for business with the league’s sophomore season in the fall of 1979.  The WPBL was the first attempt to start a professional women’s basketball league in the United States, so the Pioneers nickname was apt.

Stockbroker Marshall Geller and his partners – who included actors Alan Alda of M*A*S*H* and Mike Connors of Mannix – acquired the club for a $100,000 expansion fee.

The Pioneers came on strong at the end of the 1979-80 season and made the playoffs with an 18-18 record. They defeated the defending champion Houston Angels in the quarterfinal round before losing to the eventual champion New York Stars in the semis.  Former UCLA star Anita Ortega finished fourth in the league in scoring with 24.1 points per game.  Marshall Geller was named the league’s “Owner-of-the-Year”, as the Pioneers finished near the top of the league in attendance at the San Francisco Civic Auditorium.

San Francisco Pioneers ProgramInternal conflicts roiled the club during the Pioneers’ second season.  Geller fired Head Coach and General Manager Frank LaPorte two months into the season and replaced him with former NBA player Dean Meminger.  Meminger was the league’s Coach-of-the-Year the previous season after leading the New York Stars to the 1980 WPBL title, but the Stars had disbanded leaving Meminger available.  Pat Mayo, a tri-captain and a fan favorite pictured on the cover of the team’s 1980-81 yearbook above, was so disgruntled with the situation that she retired from basketball at age 23 shortly after Meminger’s arrival.  Meminger quickly dismantled the rest of the unhappy bunch and by the season’s midway point only four players remained from the Pioneers’ opening night roster.

One new arrival was “Machine Gun” Molly Bolin, one of the league’s top scorers and self-promoters.  She printed up posters at her own expense and sold them at games.  Posters of the attractive blonde became sought after souvenirs in cities around the league.  Bolin was available at mid-season because she had signed on with a rival women’s league called the Ladies Professional Basketball Association in late 1980.  The LPBA went belly up after just a handful of games and Meminger quickly called Bolin in to San Francisco in January 1981.  Bolin was so highly regarded in the league that she was picked for the February 1981 WPBL All-Star Game in Albuquerque. This despite playing in the league for less than a month after her return from the LPBA.  She led all scorers in the game with 29 points.

The late season tinkering wasn’t enough to right the ship. The Pioneers finished out of playoff contention a disappointing 14-22 in 1980-81.  Following the season, the WPBL drifted into a state of limbo.  The league cancelled its college draft in June 1980 and various clubs quietly shut down.  No formal announcement was ever made, but the Women’s Professional Basketball League was done after three seasons.

 

San Francisco Pioneers Shop

Mad Seasons: The Story of the First Women’s Professional Basketball League 1978-1981 by Karra Porter

 

San Francisco Pioneers Memorabilia

 

Downloads

1980 San Francisco Pioneers Draft Choices

 

Links

Women’s Professional Basketball Association Media Guides

Women’s Professional Basketball Association Programs

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Written by AC

February 17th, 2013 at 4:17 pm

1980-1981 San Francisco Fog

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San Francisco FogMajor Indoor Soccer League (1980-1981)

Born: May 28, 1980 – Detroit Lightning relocate to San Francisco, CA.
Moved: May 5, 1981 (Kansas City Comets)

Arena: The Cow Palace (12,600)

Team Colors: Fog Gray & Rocket Red

Owner: Dr. David Schoenstadt

MISL Championships: None

 

A short-lived entry in the original Major Indoor Soccer League.  The MISL arrived in San Francisco in May 1980 after Dr. David Schoenstadt purchased and relocated the league’s Detroit Lightning franchise.  Starting in November 1980, the newly renamed San Francisco Fog would play out of the Cow Palace in Daly City.

The finished with the worst record (11-29) in the 12-team MISL  under the direction of player-coach Johnny Moore.  Moore, a former member of the NASL’s San Jose Earthquakes, was the Fog’s best player, earning an honorable mention selection to the league All-Star team.

Beyond the losing, the 1980-81 season was also a debacle for owner David Schoenstadt.  The Fog had the league’s worst attendance at around 2,500 per game announced and lost over a million dollars, according to The Associated Press.  In May 1981, Schoenstadt moved the club once again, this time to Kansas City’s Kemper Arena.

As the Kansas City Comets, the club thrived during the early 1980’s.  At the peak of the Comets’ popularity in 1984, the club averaged nearly 16,000 fans per match and helped drive the NBA’s Kansas City Kings franchise out of town.  Schoenstadt sold the club in 1987, and it subsequently fell on hard times, as did the rest of the MISL, in the late 1980’s.   The Comets went out of business in 1991.

Fog Video

The Fog host the Philadelphia Fever at the Cow Palace during the 1980-81 season.

In Memoriam

Fog owner Dr. David Schoenstadt died of cancer in December 1991.

 

Links

Major Indoor Soccer League Media Guides

Major Indoor Soccer League Programs

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Written by AC

February 8th, 2013 at 9:43 pm

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