Kiss 'Em Goodbye: An ESPN Treasury of Failed, Forgotten, and Departed Teams
A book by Dennis Purdy
THEY’RE GOING, GOING, GONE. . . . Their names roll off the tongue, a litany of the damned: the Providence Steam Roller, the Wilmington Quicksteps, the Cincinnati Porkers. They are the lost squads of professional sports … see full wiki
Every major sporting league (and every minor league, for that matter) has a number of franchises that have a color past. And that's *all* they have, because they don't exist any longer in their original form. Dennis Purdy sets out to recall these stories in his book Kiss 'Em Goodbye: An ESPN Treasury of Failed, Forgotten, and Departed Teams. Even my current locale (Portland Oregon) has a mention with its brief foray into "major league" football with the Boston/New Orleans/Portland Breakers of the United States Football League. With each chapter ranging from three to seven pages, this is a fun and convenient book to pick up for a few minutes when you want a break. And you'll definitely be amazed with what passed for "professional" over the years...
Without taking the time to break down the numbers by sports, it seems like many of the chapters cover baseball teams from the late 1800's to almost current times. For instance, the Baltimore Orioles of the National League existed by that name and ownership from 1892 to 1899. The team was known for some "interesting" tactics, like keeping the grass in the outfield long so that extra balls could be hidden for the outfielders to find if they lost the actual ball in play. The Boston Braves were a longer-lived franchise, existing from 1876 through 1952, when they became the first NL team in the 20th century to relocate to a new city (Milwaukee). Interspersed throughout the team stories, you find out that there was little regulation of the sport back then. Gambling and game-fixing was common, as were deals designed to raid players from other teams. Teams could play as many or as few games as they wanted, and there was no predetermined way to tell actually who ended up as the league champion. Looking back, you could say that almost everything done back then would have had an asterisk in today's record books.
But if you're not into baseball, Purdy has the other sports covered. Football, women's softball/baseball, world team tennis... even roller derby! Basically, if the team had a colorful history and it no longer exists in its original form, there's a possibility that it might make an appearance here. I personally remember being a Los Angeles Rams football fan growing up in the mid- to late 60's. It seemed as if they would always do well during regular season, but somehow fail come playoff time. After reading Kiss 'Em Goodbye, I now understand why... :) This is one of those books that's simply fun to read, will bring back a few memories (depending on how old you are), and will leave you with a greater appreciation of what it took to get to where we are today.