kimball

Forgotten History: Name Changes, Logos, Relocation Rumors, etc.

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I'd read a little something recently about how "Robins" actually had the most entries in the name-the-team contest that yielded the Milwaukee Bucks' name, but the original owners preferred Bucks.

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3 hours ago, gosioux76 said:

I've always been fascinated about the New York (baseball) Giants' intent to move to Minneapolis/St. Paul in 1957. 

 

As the story goes, the Giants' looking to leave the Polo Grounds, had serious discussions with some businessmen from Minneapolis about moving the team there. It was also home to the club's AAA affiliate Minneapolis Millers.

 

As this New York Times story indicates, exactly how serious the Giants were is unclear, and there's some speculation that the club was using Minneapolis as leverage to get a better deal from New York or San Francisco. But there are still some who believe the Giants would have moved to Minnesota had the Dodgers not elected to exit Brooklyn for L.A. The Dodgers really needed the Giants to move west with them to allay concerns from the National League about travel costs of having only one team on the west coast.

 

Anyway, it makes for a lot of interesting what-if scenarios to consider.  

 

Oh yeah, that one. My research indicated that it was speculated, but almost certain had the SF proposal not gone through. They had the territory rights from The Minneapolis Millers, so that was the easiest course of action. It was O’Malley who convinced the doofus Stoneham to quit in Minneapolis/Bloomington. I did a whole concept of it:

 

I gave them three name options, the “Minneapolis” suggested by period media, “Twin Cities,” and “Minnesota.”

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4 hours ago, Gothamite said:

 

No, they really didn’t. 

 

The governor of Connecticut, embarrassed by the Patriots’ having leveraged a phony Hartford threat to get a new stadium in Foxboro, tried to push his state as a new home for the Rams.  But it was never even considered by Georgia Frontiere, the Rams, or the NFL. 

I just remember stories like these going around.

https://www.wfsb.com/face-the-state-flashback-rams-considered-coming-to-hartford/video_ec612f3b-8c03-546d-ace4-24b69fc4265b.html

 

https://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-xpm-1994-05-03-9405030491-story.html

 

And people forget the Patriots almost moved to St. Louis. It’s why the “TWA Dome” had red, white, and blue seats.

https://www.patspulpit.com/2015/7/8/8909681/new-england-patriots-history-the-st-louis-stallions

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1 hour ago, Discrimihater said:

I'd read a little something recently about how "Robins" actually had the most entries in the name-the-team contest that yielded the Milwaukee Bucks' name, but the original owners preferred Bucks.

FEAR THE BIRD! 

 

Somehow, it doesn't feel quite the same...

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15 minutes ago, Ben in LA said:

 

Yeah, but when you actually read those reports, it's all just the governor's office talking.  He wanted the Rams, but there's nothing in there indicating that the Rams ever took his attempts seriously.

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18 hours ago, AstroBull21 said:

Actually IIRC the Carolina NFL expansion team was set to be the Carolina Cougars but they couldnt obtain rights from the old ABA team.

 

And are we sure about the Buccaneers and Vikings twin names?

I've never heard that about the Vikings.  But it would not surprise me.  The Vikings are the first team of the big four to ever be named after a state (or anything other than a City)...though the Twins are the first to take the field.  So they were the first Minnesota team to struggle with this issue.  So I would not be surprised if the discussion at least started.  That said, I feel as though I have read that the Twins wanted to be the Twin Cities Twins and the AL vetoed it. (And that might even be why the hats had TC).

 

Minnesota has all sorts of weird stuff.

  • MLB
    • The NY Giants considered it.  The MPLS Millers were their AAA affiliate.  Discussed in better detail above.
    • I think there were some threats in the early 1980s when the Griffith family could not afford to compete.
    • Mid-1990s threat to move the Twins to North Carolina...consideration of a sale to someone named Don Beaver. There's some thought that it was just a stadium ploy and Beaver could never have afford it.
    • 2001 - Carl Pohlad approached Bud Selig and said "if you're going to contract; take my team."  To this day I am unsure how realistic the threat of contraction was, but had it happened, the Twins almost certainly would have been gone.
  • NBA
    • Of course, there's the Lakers, claiming the only major titles in Minnesota outside of the two Twins championships.  Moved to LA.
    • The Timberwolves, less than a decade into their existence, almost moved to New Orleans.  And they should have. They were sold to Bob Arum.  The NBA vetoed the deal. I remember my father telling me it was probably because they didn't want a Vegas boxing promoter in the league.
  • NFL
    • Nothing too weird here that I can think of...the Vikings spent a little time using the "LA" threat before getting their stadium.
  • NHL
    • The North Stars 1993 move was certainly not out of the blue.  They had threatened to move earlier.  Instead their previous owners (the Gunds, I think) were awarded an expansion team in San Jose and were able to take some North Stars (mostly minor-leaguers) with them.
    • This is way, way before my time, but at some point in the later 1970s, the North Stars absorbed the Cleveland Barons...or maybe "absorbed" is not the right word, because I think the Gunds owned the Barons (they owned the Cavs, anyway).  In any case, the two teams merged as the North Stars.

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In the early 2000’s we almost lost the Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos to contraction. I believe the Oakland Athletics were looked at as well.

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10 minutes ago, OnWis97 said:

 

  • MLB
    • The NY Giants considered it.  The MPLS Millers were their AAA affiliate.  Discussed in better detail above.
    • I think there were some threats in the early 1980s when the Griffith family could not afford to compete.
    • Mid-1990s threat to move the Twins to North Carolina...consideration of a sale to someone named Don Beaver. There's some thought that it was just a stadium ploy and Beaver could never have afford it.
    • 2001 - Carl Pohlad approached Bud Selig and said "if you're going to contract; take my team."  To this day I am unsure how realistic the threat of contraction was, but had it happened, the Twins almost certainly would have been gone.

 

Those 1980s moves nearly happened twice. Quoting myself from my thread;

 

Quote

Eager to test this opportunity, Frank Morsani and the Tampa Bay Baseball Group bought the 42% minority stake of H. Gabriel Murphy, with plans to purchase the majority from Griffith when the time came (hoping to move to their new Tampa stadium by the 1986 season). The sale did not get off to the best of starts, with Griffith wavering on whether or not he wanted to sell the team in full. Unfortunately for the TBBG, Earle Halstead Jr. (an associate of Griffith), leaked the sale details to the press after a tiff with the buyers. A PR nightmare ensued, one which saw Minnesota businessman Harvey Mackay implement a ticket buyout to deactivate the escape clause. The Griffith family would sell their shares to Carl Pohlad, who would also get the 42% from the TBBG. He received this portion after commissioner Bowie Kuhn pressured Morsani and Morsani's partner Bill Mack with implied legal action and loss of a potential expansion team if the group persisted in Minnesota.2

 

Even then, the Twins weren't done in the sweepstakes. Pohlad wanted to buy the Vikings in 1987, but due to NFL cross-ownership regulations, he'd have to sell the Twins. He called up Morsani again, but talks broke down due to various stipulations in Morsani's desired contract (e.g., Pohlad would support relocation, no deal if relocation was denied, etc.).3 

 

2 Andelman and Parsells, Stadium For Rent, 41-46; Hennessy, "Calvin Griffith | Society for American Baseball Research."

3 Andelman and Parsells, Stadium For Rent, 50.

 

The mid-1990s threat died as the result of a failed referendum and the fact that it would have been located in a fairly out-of-the-way area. I've written about it here. 

 

If you want to find out more about how Tampa Bay was almost home to many teams and how MLB and potential owners thoroughly salted the earth for baseball in that region, read Stadium for Rent. It's an amazingly comprehensive look at the whole affair, dispelling many rumors about the push for a Tampa or St. Petersburg team.

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1 hour ago, Ben in LA said:

 

This is an interesting tidbit from that article ...

 

Quote

Davis' (meaning Al Davis) high- profile negotiations with Orlando, Fla., broke down Monday

 

Could you imagine the Orlando Raiders? This was in 1994 after the Jags were awarded their franchise ... so the Bucs, Jags, Dolphins and Raiders all in one state? I'm sure the Bucs would have bolted somewhere else being so close to Orlando.

 

Interesting.

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The fact that Robert Irsay talked with Phoenix about moving the Colts there from Baltimore before he ever received interest from Indianapolis eleven years before the Cardinals moved to Arizona. There hypothetically could have been an NFL alternate history with a Phoenix Colts team and Indy getting football via a different avenue.

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This

1 hour ago, AgentColon2 said:

In the early 2000’s we almost lost the Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos to contraction. I believe the Oakland Athletics were looked at as well.

 

and this

 

1 hour ago, SFGiants58 said:

If you want to find out more about how Tampa Bay was almost home to many teams and how MLB and potential owners thoroughly salted the earth for baseball in that region, read Stadium for Rent. It's an amazingly comprehensive look at the whole affair, dispelling many rumors about the push for a Tampa or St. Petersburg team.

show Tampa as an interesting case in MLB. I think the Twins, Giants, White Sox, and A's were all tied to Tampa Bay rumors.  I kind of doubt too many people from those teams regret not being able to make the move, in hindsight.

 

Additionally, the Rays may have been the best candidates for contraction but they had a difficult and long lease locking them into the dome.  The Expos and Twins were easier.

 

Given where stadiums are in our sports culture, it's really amazing to me in retrospect that MLB allowed a team to move into that crappy dome for the 1998 season with not only no guarantee of a nice stadium, but a long commitment to the dump.  By that point the modern ballparks in Colorado, Pittsburgh, Texas, Baltimore, and Cleveland were well into their respective existences.  And Tampa's expansion partner in Arizona played in their super-modern ballpark starting game 1.

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1 hour ago, MBurmy said:

FEAR THE BIRD! 

 

Somehow, it doesn't feel quite the same...

Does in an outdoor stadium.

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50 minutes ago, kimball said:

 

This is an interesting tidbit from that article ...

 

 

Could you imagine the Orlando Raiders? This was in 1994 after the Jags were awarded their franchise ... so the Bucs, Jags, Dolphins and Raiders all in one state? I'm sure the Bucs would have bolted somewhere else being so close to Orlando.

 

Interesting.

In the mid 90s the Bucs new (and current) ownership we’re seeking a new stadium.  Rumor says that if the Browns didn’t go to Baltimore it would’ve been the Bucs going to Baltimore.

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Interesting about Washington. The have the Warriors name trademarked. As for the Baltimore Bombers and St. Louis Stallions, I have the prototype uniforms for both teams. Champion branded.

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1 hour ago, OnWis97 said:

I've never heard that about the Vikings.  But it would not surprise me.  The Vikings are the first team of the big four to ever be named after a state (or anything other than a City)...though the Twins are the first to take the field.  So they were the first Minnesota team to struggle with this issue.  So I would not be surprised if the discussion at least started.  That said, I feel as though I have read that the Twins wanted to be the Twin Cities Twins and the AL vetoed it. (And that might even be why the hats had TC).

 

Minnesota has all sorts of weird stuff.

  • MLB
    • The NY Giants considered it.  The MPLS Millers were their AAA affiliate.  Discussed in better detail above.
    • I think there were some threats in the early 1980s when the Griffith family could not afford to compete.
    • Mid-1990s threat to move the Twins to North Carolina...consideration of a sale to someone named Don Beaver. There's some thought that it was just a stadium ploy and Beaver could never have afford it.
    • 2001 - Carl Pohlad approached Bud Selig and said "if you're going to contract; take my team."  To this day I am unsure how realistic the threat of contraction was, but had it happened, the Twins almost certainly would have been gone.
  • NBA
    • Of course, there's the Lakers, claiming the only major titles in Minnesota outside of the two Twins championships.  Moved to LA.
    • The Timberwolves, less than a decade into their existence, almost moved to New Orleans.  And they should have. They were sold to Bob Arum.  The NBA vetoed the deal. I remember my father telling me it was probably because they didn't want a Vegas boxing promoter in the league.
  • NFL
    • Nothing too weird here that I can think of...the Vikings spent a little time using the "LA" threat before getting their stadium.
  • NHL
    • The North Stars 1993 move was certainly not out of the blue.  They had threatened to move earlier.  Instead their previous owners (the Gunds, I think) were awarded an expansion team in San Jose and were able to take some North Stars (mostly minor-leaguers) with them.
    • This is way, way before my time, but at some point in the later 1970s, the North Stars absorbed the Cleveland Barons...or maybe "absorbed" is not the right word, because I think the Gunds owned the Barons (they owned the Cavs, anyway).  In any case, the two teams merged as the North Stars.

Ah, but Minneapolis had an AFL franchise before the NFL swooped in.

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1 minute ago, NYC Cosmos said:

Ah, but Minneapolis had an AFL franchise before the NFL swooped in.

I totally forgot about that...

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47 minutes ago, Maroon said:

The fact that Robert Irsay talked with Phoenix about moving the Colts there from Baltimore before he ever received interest from Indianapolis eleven years before the Cardinals moved to Arizona. There hypothetically could have been an NFL alternate history with a Phoenix Colts team and Indy getting football via a different avenue.

Don't forget Eagles' owner Norman Braman wanted to move the team to Phoenix. And lest we forget the Seahawks to LA?

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1 minute ago, OnWis97 said:

I totally forgot about that...

And so did Seattle. And let's not forget about the Seattle Kings who tried to get the Seattle expansion franchise in 1974. Also of note: When the NFL and AFL merged, the Jets were to move to Memphis and the Raiders to Portland. Pete Roselle tried to convince Paul Brown to go to Seattle instead of Cincinnati.

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The St. Louis Blues almost moved in 1982 to Saskatoon, a small town (250,000 population) in Canada before that moved got blocked by the NHL.

 

Imagine that - the Saskatoon Blues playing in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals.

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