Monday, June 12, 2006

Old Leagues Never Die

This year's Stanley Cup final includes two teams that trace their lineages to the old WHA. That's the first time something like this has happened, and it reminded me that there are many fans with fond memories of the competitors to the established leagues that have come and gone over the years. Many of those fans have taken to the Internet, and have established sites devoted to their favorite extinct pro sports league.

Older Browns fans have fond memories of the AAFC, but I think it's fair to say that the American Football League was clearly the most successful of all of the leagues that emerged to compete with the NFL. It is well remembered at this site, which I think most football fans could spend hours at. But it isn't just the AFL that has fans. There are comprehensive sites dedicated to the mostly unlamented WFL, USFL and--believe it or not--the XFL.

If the AFL was the most successful competitor to an established league, the American Basketball Association was probably a close second. Not only did it produce stars like George Gervin, Moses Malone and Dr. J, but four of its franchises made the jump to the NBA and had success there as well. In light of that success, it isn't surprising that nostalgia for the ABA has found its own home on the Internet.

Major League Baseball is a special case--it has not had many formal competitors, but until 1947 it didn't allow black players on major league rosters. The Negro Leagues were the only professional leagues in the United States in which black players could compete. There are several websites devoted to the Negro Leagues, including The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and

I already mentioned the World Hockey Association. Sure enough, not only is this year's Stanley Cup final a tribute to the WHA, but there's a website devoted to that league as well.

Did I overlook your favorite extinct league? Then check out this site. It has information on everything from the NASL to Roller Derby.

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