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View Full Version : What if the Sox had moved to Tampa


32nd&Wallace
10-25-2007, 07:55 PM
I always enjoy the What If threads and articles. I was talking with a friend the other day about the Sox almost move to Tampa. If they had moved, how would it have affected the course of Chicago sports history. Here are some things to ponder:

How would it have affected Reinsdorf's status in the city as Bulls owner? Could the owner of a professional sports franchise that moved a team out of a town survive in that town as the owner of another team?
Would another American League team have replaced the White Sox?
Would the Sox franchise have survived in Tampa - possibly no because of the fickle Florida fan base, possibly yes - because the Sox had the makings of a competitive team

FireMariotti
10-25-2007, 08:54 PM
For one, there would probably be no WSI :o:

DoItForDanPasqua
10-25-2007, 08:57 PM
The Sox would be on their 90th year without a World title.

Lip Man 1
10-25-2007, 09:11 PM
I discussed this issue with Rich Lindberg and we disagreed on what would have happened.

My take was that the American League, already on the 'outs' in some large areas of the country, (i.e. Florida and Arizona) because they went to the N.L., would not have allowed the 3rd largest market in the country to be another N.L. bastion.

I think, that Chicago would have gotten a replacement team if the Sox left say in 1989 or 1990 for Tampa.

I don't know if that would have been an expansion team or if another club would have been moved in but I don't think the league would have let this go longer then say five years.

Fortunately that never came to pass.

Lip

Hitmen77
10-26-2007, 12:19 AM
Lip,
My opinion is that there was no way Chicago would have gotten another AL franchise to replace the White Sox if they had left. With the Cubs already in control of a huge chunk of the Chicago market share, what existing team would move here to take them on at a crumbling old ballpark in a bad neighborhood? I also really don't see any way that MLB would have put an AL expansion franchise without a new stadium deal in place. Chicago is not NY or LA. Aside from baseball, we're simply not a 2 team per sport town. We would have just gone the way of Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Boston and become a one team baseball town.

Regarding the other questions:
- Sox success in Tampa? I have a hard time imagining any team succeeding long-term in that awful dome stadium down there. They may have been successful initially as Thomas, Ventura, McDowell, etc. had their success and before the retro ballpark era hit. But, once that early 90s success faded and fans nationwide started rejecting astroturf and fixed domes, they'd be stuck in that white elephant of a park down there with less interest than they ever had in Chicago and no big market resources to keep any level of competition sustained.

- How would it affect JR's status as Bulls owner? I don't know. Maybe he would have sold the Bulls because he would have needed to remove himself from Chicago completely after moving the Sox away.

Brian26
10-26-2007, 12:21 AM
One thing is for certain. The Trop would still be an absolute dump.

IlliniSox4Life
10-26-2007, 12:26 AM
Lip,
My opinion is that there was no way Chicago would have gotten another AL franchise to replace the White Sox if they had left. With the Cubs already in control of a huge chunk of the Chicago market share, what existing team would move here to take them on at a crumbling old ballpark in a bad neighborhood? I also really don't see any way that MLB would have put an AL expansion franchise without a new stadium deal in place. Chicago is not NY or LA. Aside from baseball, we're simply not a 2 team per sport town. We would have just gone the way of Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Boston and become a one team baseball town.


I don't think the media machine that is the Cubs today was nearly as strong back in 1989-1990. While it would have been tough to compete, I don't think it would have been nearly as bad as if they were trying to do it now.

Brian26
10-26-2007, 12:42 AM
I don't think the media machine that is the Cubs today was nearly as strong back in 1989-1990.

I agree. Not even close.

Hitmen77
10-26-2007, 08:38 AM
I don't think the media machine that is the Cubs today was nearly as strong back in 1989-1990.

Their media machine wasn't as strong back then, but they were still riding that wave of popularity from '84 and '89 and Harry Caray as their pied piper was at his peak of his popularity. I think their presence on TV vs. the Sox back then was stronger than now: the Cubs had every game on the WGN superstation while the Sox still had most games on cable (which was far less widespread back then as it is today) with some on Ch. 32. Now, both teams have many games on the same cable channel.

Plus the Sox in '89 were coming off of 2 decades of mostly poor attendance (except for a couple of years of success in that time) and a decaying fan base.

I think the Cubs were strong enough and the Sox were weak enough at that point to generally argue to anyone that Chicago was now a 1 team town if the Sox left.

Also, remember that Old Comiskey crumbling, would have needed a ton of money for a renovation, and wasn't as profitable as the newer parks. Without a new stadium deal, I very seriously doubt another AL team would move here or that the league would award an expansion team here. And if the Sox (an existing team with decades of history in Chicago) couldn't land a stadium deal, I doubt an outside team would have had any better luck.

TommyJohn
10-26-2007, 08:51 AM
Their media machine wasn't as strong back then, but they were still riding that wave of popularity from '84 and '89 and Harry Caray as their pied piper was at his peak of his popularity. I think their presence on TV vs. the Sox back then was stronger than now: the Cubs had every game on the WGN superstation while the Sox still had most games on cable (which was far less widespread back then as it is today) with some on Ch. 32. Now, both teams have many games on the same cable channel.

Plus the Sox in '89 were coming off of 2 decades of mostly poor attendance (except for a couple of years of success in that time) and a decaying fan base.

I think the Cubs were strong enough and the Sox were weak enough at that point to generally argue to anyone that Chicago was now a 1 team town if the Sox left.

Also, remember that Old Comiskey crumbling, would have needed a ton of money for a renovation, and wasn't as profitable as the newer parks. Without a new stadium deal, I very seriously doubt another AL team would move here or that the league would award an expansion team here. And if the Sox (an existing team with decades of history in Chicago) couldn't land a stadium deal, I doubt an outside team would have had any better luck.

In 1988 when the issue of the Sox moving came up, Peter Ueberroth was
quoted as saying that Chicago had the Cubs. He, like everyone else, thought
it no big deal. I also don't think that there would have been an expansion
team. As stated, the fanbase was shrinking and attendance had dropped
off precipitously from 1983. Imagine that. Five years after the team had
won the first baseball title of any kind in Chicago for 24 years the interest
in the team was practically nil. No, I don't think the owners would have been
in any kind of hurry to put an expansion team in Chicago.

October26
10-26-2007, 09:37 AM
I remember how anxious and nervous I was that the Sox were going to move to Tampa. I drove my family crazy at the time, worrying about it. Glad it didn't happen.

tebman
10-26-2007, 09:47 AM
I remember how anxious and nervous I was that the Sox were going to move to Tampa. I drove my family crazy at the time, worrying about it. Glad it didn't happen.
Yeah, me too. In those last days I called my state rep and state senator asking about their votes and both were against it. They told me that first, the state had better things to use bonding authority for, and second, that if they did this for the White Sox the Bears, the Bulls, the Cubs, and every other pro team in the state would form a line looking for help.

We all know how the story ended and it worked out okay. My understanding is that the state has actually made money on New Comiskey/USCF since it was built, so it really was a win-win deal.

Wouldn't want to got through that again, though.

Zisk77
10-26-2007, 10:05 AM
I just could not see myself becoming a fan of the St. Petersburg Sailors (proposed name). :angry:

October26
10-26-2007, 10:05 AM
Yeah, me too. In those last days I called my state rep and state senator asking about their votes and both were against it. They told me that first, the state had better things to use bonding authority for, and second, that if they did this for the White Sox the Bears, the Bulls, the Cubs, and every other pro team in the state would form a line looking for help.

We all know how the story ended and it worked out okay. My understanding is that the state has actually made money on New Comiskey/USCF since it was built, so it really was a win-win deal.

Wouldn't want to got through that again, though.

Your post made me think about the fact that since the Internet was not accessible to the general public back then (it did exist but was primarily used by the Military), the amount of information that was available was very limited. My kids cannot understand a world without e-mail or internet or even WSI now, but of course us older folks remember that time. It was like being in a maze and unsure of where to go. I felt very much kept in the dark about the whole Sox move to Tampa thing. Sure, it was in the newspapers, but information was sketchy at best. This is why I love WSI - I can always come here to get a wealth of information and communicate with other Sox fans.:smile:

chisox77
10-26-2007, 10:16 AM
I also believe, and believed at the time, that Chicago would have become just a one team town if the White Sox had left . . . but even then, they would have been missed much more than people realized, kind of like the middle child of any family that is easily ignored, until they are gone.

The baseball dynamic in Chicago would be so unbearable with just the Cubs to root for (I never would have jumped to the Cubs, even if the Sox had left). I probably would have developed in interest in other NL teams I tend to favor, such as Cincinnati (loved the Big Red Machine).

That being said, things worked out for the better. And if Big Jim Thompson did not twist arms and use his clout, Chicago would still be waiting for a World Series title. Without the Sox around, the Cubs would feel absolutely no pressure at all to perform well or to contend. Since '03, and even more because of the '05 World Series Title, the Cubs and their fans have felt considerable heat from the Sox, and they resent it. But they need it as well.

:cool:

Fenway
10-26-2007, 10:28 AM
One thing is for certain. The Trop would still be an absolute dump.

I remember what the Suncoast Dome looked like before the Devil Rays spent millions improving it. It would have been much worse than it is today.

After 20 years of not drawing any fans JR would be today looking at Las Vegas or Portland.

The AL would have put another team in Chicago....

jenn2080
10-26-2007, 10:29 AM
It didn't happen, so no point of discussing it. What if's are overrated.

October26
10-26-2007, 10:34 AM
The AL would have put another team in Chicago....

Perhaps the AL would have put another team in Chicago, but my team, the team that I love, is the Chicago White Sox, so I would have been devastated if this had happened. I doubt you'd be so non-chalant about this Fenway if we were speaking of the Sox of another color...

Fenway
10-26-2007, 10:40 AM
Perhaps the AL would have put another team in Chicago, but my team, the team that I love, is the Chicago White Sox, so I would have been devastated if this had happened. I doubt you'd be so non-chalant about this Fenway if we were speaking of the Sox of another color...

I am not non-chalant about this. I was in Tampa the night of the vote in Springfield which all the TV stations carried live. At 1 AM WFLA-TV flashed a graphic the White Sox now belong to us and I teared up.

Somebody would have moved into Chicago and my best guess is it would have been the Indians. In the late 80's the Tribe was not drawing and had no hope of getting a new stadium.

October26
10-26-2007, 10:59 AM
I am not non-chalant about this. I was in Tampa the night of the vote in Springfield which all the TV stations carried live. At 1 AM WFLA-TV flashed a graphic the White Sox now belong to us and I teared up.


Okay, Fenway. Thanks for the clarification.

white sox bill
10-26-2007, 11:26 AM
If memory serves me, and please correct me if wrong, didn't it come out several yrs after the proposed move that St Pete DIDN"T offer JR the sweetheart deal that he represented in the media? Seems I remember some huffing and puffing in the papers about how JR held the State of Illinois hostage under false pretenses.
Bill

nccwsfan
10-26-2007, 11:27 AM
Had the White Sox moved to Florida, there would have been a number of AL teams looking to move to Chicago- especially if the IL legislature would have been willing to build the stadium for them. Aside from a handful of major market teams (NY, LA, Boston) I would think that MLB would have approved such a move.

The baseball culture was different in 89', so to say it would have been a failure isn't necessarily true. The White Sox would have remained in the AL West and could have feasibly competed during that time period. Also, the kind of ballpark you played in wasn't as important as it is now. Chances are they could have been slightly successful in the market, but as of today they would be in a new ballpark, whether is was in Tampa/St. Pete or elsewhere.

I remember this being a strong challenge to my White Sox loyalty. I didn't think I could remain a 'Florida White Sox' fan because of the betrayal, and the Cubs weren't a consideration. It was a nail-biting time and I'm very happy that it worked out the way it did.

Hitmen77
10-26-2007, 11:35 AM
I just could not see myself becoming a fan of the St. Petersburg Sailors (proposed name). :angry:
:thud:Wow, that's awful. Is there something about the Tampa Bay area that makes it totally incapable of coming up with a decent baseball team name?

I remember what the Suncoast Dome looked like before the Devil Rays spent millions improving it. It would have been much worse than it is today.

After 20 years of not drawing any fans JR would be today looking at Las Vegas or Portland.

They'd be in the same bind as the D-Rays are now. The relocation options are limited and they'd have competition with the Marlins to find a location that can support them.

Is there any hope of the D-Rays ever getting a better ballpark in the Tampa area? IIRC, aren't they locked into a long-term lease at the dome? Maybe JR would have been stuck with that same sort of lease.


The AL would have put another team in Chicago....

Somebody would have moved into Chicago and my best guess is it would have been the Indians. In the late 80's the Tribe was not drawing and had no hope of getting a new stadium.

I disagree. I just don't see that as possible unless another team was able to get a stadium deal in Chicago. As TommyJohn mentioned, I also remember Ueberroth's comments on the Sox stadium situation in the late 80s. He was mostly concerned about getting a new park for the Sox and without it, he said the league supported their plan to leave Chicago. I doubt the league would have supported moving another team into a crumbling old ballpark.

Plus, why would the Indians have moved here? Their situation wasn't great in Cleveland, but at least they are the only team in town. It would have been much worse for them in Chicago having to compete with the Cubs.

Fenway
10-26-2007, 11:35 AM
If memory serves me, and please correct me if wrong, didn't it come out several yrs after the proposed move that St Pete DIDN"T offer JR the sweetheart deal that he represented in the media? Seems I remember some huffing and puffing in the papers about how JR held the State of Illinois hostage under false pretenses.
Bill

JR had the lease SIGNED with the City of St Petersburg....and it would kick in as soon as Springfield failed to act on a new stadium.

That is why the city of St Pete really came up with an ironclad lease for the Devil Rays as they would not be burnt again.

Hitmen77
10-26-2007, 11:40 AM
Had the White Sox moved to Florida, there would have been a number of AL teams looking to move to Chicago- especially if the IL legislature would have been willing to build the stadium for them. Aside from a handful of major market teams (NY, LA, Boston) I would think that MLB would have approved such a move.

That's the key right there. If the IL legislature wasn't going to give a stadium deal to the White Sox (a team that at least had long ties to Chicago and a loyal fanbase demanding action to keep the team), why would they do anything later on to lure a new team that nobody in Chicago cares about?

nccwsfan
10-26-2007, 12:01 PM
Is there any hope of the D-Rays ever getting a better ballpark in the Tampa area? IIRC, aren't they locked into a long-term lease at the dome? Maybe JR would have been stuck with that same sort of lease.


The Devil Rays lease with St. Petersburg ends in 2027. By 2015 they expect $44 million to be remaining on the public debt, which means that they could feasibly rollover that debt to a new ballpark in St. Pete. If they wanted to move to Tampa, Orlando, or elsewhere I would think that this debt would need to factor into the total cost.

http://www2-origin.tbo.com/static/special_reports/tbo-special-reports-sports-dream_stadium/

nccwsfan
10-26-2007, 12:08 PM
That's the key right there. If the IL legislature wasn't going to give a stadium deal to the White Sox (a team that at least had long ties to Chicago and a loyal fanbase demanding action to keep the team), why would they do anything later on to lure a new team that nobody in Chicago cares about?

Because cities without teams (or in Chicago's case, w/o an AL team) tend to go to great lengths to lure a team to their city. Tampa/St. Pete tried the Twins, Rangers, A's, Mariners, White Sox, and Giants before finally getting an expansion team. Washington DC went out of their way to get the Expos.

Aside from the Yankees, Angels, and Red Sox, I would think that any AL franchise having stadium troubles would have loved to move to the Chicago market. One way or another the people in Springfield would have worked hard to build a new ballpark.

Hitmen77
10-26-2007, 12:48 PM
Because cities without teams (or in Chicago's case, w/o an AL team) tend to go to great lengths to lure a team to their city. Tampa/St. Pete tried the Twins, Rangers, A's, Mariners, White Sox, and Giants before finally getting an expansion team. Washington DC went out of their way to get the Expos.

Aside from the Yankees, Angels, and Red Sox, I would think that any AL franchise having stadium troubles would have loved to move to the Chicago market. One way or another the people in Springfield would have worked hard to build a new ballpark.

We'll have to just agree to disagree on this since it never came to this point (thank God!) and we'll never know what would have happened.

IMO, cities without a team trying to lure other teams is much different than a city that already has a popular team trying to lure a 2nd one. The only way the Sox got a deal done was because of the arm twisting of Gov. Thompson to save one of the city's existing historic franchises. In the end he was able to pressure enough lawmakers to save the Sox.

He barely got it done and I very much doubt he would have been able to get even close to getting a deal done to bring in a 2nd team that has no ties to the city. Remember, most of Illinois is Cubs-Cardinals territory. Most of the people in Springfield didn't work hard to get the Sox deal done - they didn't want it done. In the end, Thompson used his clout to twist enough arms to barely get it done. I very much doubt many of them cared about the White Sox and they would have cared even less about spending money to bring in a new AL team to Chicago.

At the time, I think Tampa, Denver, and Phoenix would have been alot more tempting to any AL team looking to move compared to them deciding to go up against the Cubs.

white sox bill
10-26-2007, 12:49 PM
JR had the lease SIGNED with the City of St Petersburg....and it would kick in as soon as Springfield failed to act on a new stadium.

That is why the city of St Pete really came up with an ironclad lease for the Devil Rays as they would not be burnt again.

But didn't it leak out that city of St Pete didn't in fact offer what JR had publicly said such as free rent, revenue sharing, varios incentives and so on. Seems that JR put a spin on thier offer

johnr1note
10-26-2007, 12:54 PM
I went searching on line for a reference, but couldn't find one, but I seem to recall that the whole deal to move the White Sox to Florida in 89 was hinged on the fact that the Suncoast Dome was built expressly for the White Sox. Tampa had tried to lure other teams to relocate there, but had not gotten any solid nibbles until they agreed to build a major league capacity ballpark without a promised tenant (I guess they believed in the concept of "if you build it, they will come") and the original lease the White Sox would have signed was premised on the Florida or Tampa authorities financing and building the stadium (a dome was required because of the perceived problems with weather), and the Sox would be obligated to occupy it only if the IL Legislature failed to fund the new Sox park by the deadline.

Thus, I am sure the folks in Florida viewed this as a done deal in their minds.

As for a potential new AL team in Chicago, I don't think it would have happened. The White Sox had been crapped on so many times, and the big cheese AL owners viewed Reisndorf as an irritant -- I think they would have viewed the opportunity to "rule Florida" for the AL would have been perceived as a better deal than fight the Cubs in Chicago. Erroneous as that kind of thinking would be, I don't think the east coast guys (e.g. Steinbrenner, Bennett-Williams, the Red Sox owners) really took Chicago seriously as a market. They were into blazing trails (its why the AL worked so hard to get into Toronto first). I have a sense they would have left us Sox fans for dead here.

thomas35forever
10-26-2007, 05:09 PM
All of this happened the year before I was born, so if the move had happened, I'd be bleeding Cubbie blue with my mom!:o:

Fortunately, our Sox are here to stay, and we can cheer them on for the rest of our lives.

markp8867
10-26-2007, 06:10 PM
I always enjoy the What If threads and articles. I was talking with a friend the other day about the Sox almost move to Tampa. If they had moved, how would it have affected the course of Chicago sports history. Here are some things to ponder:

How would it have affected Reinsdorf's status in the city as Bulls owner? Could the owner of a professional sports franchise that moved a team out of a town survive in that town as the owner of another team?
Would another American League team have replaced the White Sox?
Would the Sox franchise have survived in Tampa - possibly no because of the fickle Florida fan base, possibly yes - because the Sox had the makings of a competitive team

Well I know for one there would be a big FUNdamentals thing in left field at Tropicana Field and their version of SoxFest certainly wouldn't be free as it is now. And no doubt Kenny would have traded away all of their young talent for Vazquez and other overpaid/underacheiving players like him.

Seriously though I have been to Tampa and that team is pathetic. In one of the malls I went to they have a Devil Rays store and guess what team they promote there? The Yankees and Red Sox! The only time they have a full house is when one of those teams is in town.

The "Rays" (they took "Devil" out of the name because it offended church goers) really are a pathetic franchise and getting rid of that team would certainly make for an interesting draft. I wish this would happen now since the Sox have a high draft pick.

Now there is a "what if" for you to ponder.

pmck003
10-26-2007, 06:36 PM
Dare I admit that without a baseball team to root for, growing up in MN for some part of my life I might of been a Twins fan, which ultimately may have led to God knows what...:puking:

PaleHoseGeorge
10-26-2007, 07:17 PM
The only multi-team baseball city to ever get a new ballclub back after losing one of their original ones in the entire modern era of baseball is NEW YORK CITY -- over 3-times bigger than Chicago, and they lost two ballclubs not just one. MLB gave them just one back, the Mets.

The notion that MLB would bother moving a second club into Chicago while the Cubs were still in place is borderline delusional.

The fans of the Chicago White Sox would have been given the same choice fans of the Boston Braves, Philadelphia Athletics, and St. Louis Browns were given. Jack ****.

GoSox2K3
10-27-2007, 12:43 AM
What would have happened if the Sox moved to Tampa?

I think Cub fans would just have practiced revisionist history and pretended that the Sox never existed. They'd act like the Sox never had Harry Caray and that the 7th inning stretch tradition was born at Wrigley Field and that no one in Chicago ever cared about the Sox except for a few Ligue-like losers. No Sox achievement would ever be acknowledged as occurring. They'd go around trying to brainwash everyone in sight that everyone in Chicago MUST be a Cubs fan.....

.....oh wait, that's what they do in real life.

Railsplitter
10-27-2007, 08:31 AM
The only multi-team baseball city to ever get a new ballclub back after losing one of their original ones in the entire modern era of baseball is NEW YORK CITY -- over 3-times bigger than Chicago, and they lost two ballclubs not just one. MLB gave them just one back, the Mets.

The notion that MLB would bother moving a second club into Chicago while the Cubs were still in place is borderline delusional.

The fans of the Chicago White Sox would have been given the same choice fans of the Boston Braves, Philadelphia Athletics, and St. Louis Browns were given. Jack ****.
I agree.

TommyJohn
10-27-2007, 09:01 AM
The only multi-team baseball city to ever get a new ballclub back after losing one of their original ones in the entire modern era of baseball is NEW YORK CITY -- over 3-times bigger than Chicago, and they lost two ballclubs not just one. MLB gave them just one back, the Mets.

The notion that MLB would bother moving a second club into Chicago while the Cubs were still in place is borderline delusional.

The fans of the Chicago White Sox would have been given the same choice fans of the Boston Braves, Philadelphia Athletics, and St. Louis Browns were given. Jack ****.

Thank you. I wrote it before in this thread, I'll write it again: Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth's response to a potential move by the White Sox was "Chicago has the Cubs."

AZChiSoxFan
10-29-2007, 05:46 PM
since the Internet was not accessible to the general public back then (it did exist but was primarily used by the Military)

I thought the internet was invented by Al Gore just prior to the 1992 election??

PKalltheway
10-31-2007, 04:53 PM
Geez, this happened around the time I was born, so I don't know what fan I would have become. I would have either become a Reds fan, a Braves fan (a decent size of my family is from the south), or become a Cubs fan with my Dad.:o:

Fenway
10-31-2007, 04:57 PM
After JR wanted to move the White Sox somebody else wanted to own a team in Tampa

On Ken "Hawk" Harrelson's announcement that he had organized an ownership group to pursue a Tampa Bay baseball franchise:
"We've not been surprised. I was aware he had formed a group. We anticipated someone else would make an effort. His effort certainly validates our efforts and the (Florida Suncoast) Dome as a good place to have baseball."

http://www.andelman.com/ARTICLES/baseballexpansion-bw1990.html

Shoeless_Jeff
10-31-2007, 05:22 PM
I remember (barely) driving past the Suncoast dome when my family and I visited Florida in 1989. I was only five at the time. What a crappy place to play baseball.

Anyway, if the Sox had moved to Tampa, I probably would never have gotten intotten interested in that other team in Chicago and would have disowned me if I had gone that route.
If I did get into baseball without the Sox around, I probably would have ended up becoming a Brewers fan or possibly even a Cardinals fan. Man, I hope I wouldn't have cracked under media pressure and become a Yankees fan or Red Sox fan :angry:

johnr1note
10-31-2007, 06:32 PM
After JR wanted to move the White Sox somebody else wanted to own a team in Tampa

On Ken "Hawk" Harrelson's announcement that he had organized an ownership group to pursue a Tampa Bay baseball franchise:
"We've not been surprised. I was aware he had formed a group. We anticipated someone else would make an effort. His effort certainly validates our efforts and the (Florida Suncoast) Dome as a good place to have baseball."

http://www.andelman.com/ARTICLES/baseballexpansion-bw1990.html

I remember this vividly -- Harrelson used to try and sell the concept while he was on-air doing White Sox telecasts. He wanted the Tampa team to be known as the "Florida Panthers," and had uniform colors picked out and everything.

Lip Man 1
10-31-2007, 07:08 PM
It wasn't just Hawk:

"In 1988, Frank Morsani had tried to prevent Jerry Reinsdorf from getting American League approval for moving the White Sox to Tampa. He contacted several team owners, including the owner of the Baltimore Orioles, Edward Bennett Williams -- who in 1960 mounted a legal challenge to Calvin Griffith's relocation of the Washington Senators to Minnesota. Reinsdorf heard about it and became royally pissed off.

Morsani tried to block our move to St. Petersburg, Reinsdorf says. He fought us in the [Florida] legislature. And he went to see Edward Bennett Williams, who at the time owned the Orioles, and asked him to vote against the White Sox move to St. Petersburg. If baseball came to St. Petersburg, [Morsani] wanted to be involved. He had invested several million dollars trying to get an expansion team and if we came in, his money was going down the drain.

But him going to see Williams was like someone who is not a member of a country club going to a member of the country club and asking him to vote against the admission of a third person. Ed Williams and I were members of the same country club and Morsani was not. I didn't think that was right.

Later in the same year, when Morsani attempted to buy the Texas Rangers, it was widely believed Reinsdorf was the man who stood in his way. Reinsdorf opposed the sale of the Rangers to Morsani; he also objected to broadcaster Ed Gaylord as owner. For blocking Morsani and Gaylord, the American League told Reinsdorf to find a qualified buyer for the Texas franchise. This made Reinsdorf even madder at Morsani, because he believed the price agreed upon by Morsani and Rangers owner Eddie Chiles was too high, making it tough to find an owner. However, Reinsdorf is generally credited with creating the George W. Bush ownership group.

Reinsdorf never forgot or forgave Morsani's actions, giving the Tampa car dealer a powerful and vocal opponent among baseball owners. Of Reinsdorf, Morsani says, I am not crazy about a lot of things that he did.

In the spring of 1990, Allen Keesler took Morsani to the White Sox spring training camp in Sarasota to try and patch things up between his friends. The trio sat in Reinsdorf's box, ate lunch and talked. Allen was trying to patch things up between Morsani and me, Reinsdorf says. I was very angry because I felt, number one, he should be more civic-minded. Reinsdorf believed that despite Morsani's personal investment, he should have supported any baseball team that came to Tampa Bay, whether he owned it or not."

From the internet story, ‘Stadium For Rent : Tampa Bay’s Quest For Major League Baseball’ by Bob Andelman. Chapter 10. Published 1993.

Lip

chisox77
10-31-2007, 07:18 PM
Interesting stuff, Lip. Things are almost never as simple as they seem. But regardless, the White Sox are here, in Chicago, where they belong.


:cool:

Red Barchetta
11-01-2007, 10:15 AM
Similar to the downtown ballpark discussions, one thing many forget is that Harold Washington was mayor at the time. Thompson saved the SOX, not Washington.

If the SOX would have moved I believe they would have had initial success in Florida/St. Pete, however would be suffering a slightly better fate than the Devil Rays are enjoying now only because they would have some core transplant fans, especially since Sarasota used to be their spring training home.

Imagine JR's philosophy of not spending money until the fans showed up while playing in the Trop?!

As to the AL awarding another franchise to Chicago, I think Daly, as a life-long SOX fan, would have made that happen. They might have moved the new franchise initially into a crumbling and empty Comiskey Park, however I'm sure a new ballpark would have been part of the deal. Depending on when this would have happened and whether Camden and the Jake had already been built, I'm sure Daly would have made it a ballpark that showcased Chicago.

Like him or not, Daly has beautified the city since he took office. Millenium Park, LSD redesign, etc.

Fenway
11-01-2007, 10:46 AM
I was living in Tampa in 1990-91 and remember the fight for the expansion franchise well.

The NL expansion committee was headed by Douglas Danford the CEO of the Pirates and they invited more than one group to bid in each city. Morsani was told "don't worry you will get it" so he kept a low profile. Hawk was involved for awhile until the investors he had lined up brought in Haywood Sullivan who had just been bought out by Jean Yawkey. To say Haywood hated Harrelson was an understatement. What nobody knew at the time was that Jean Yawkey called Danford to make sure Haywood would not be selected as a finalist. Neither it turned out was Morsani when Danford gave the Tampa bid to a Washington D.C lawyer Steven Porter who owned some minor league teams. It came out later that was the doing of JR.

Still Tampa was convinced they were a lock to get a team. The other cities involved where Buffalo, Washington, Orlando, Denver and Miami. Tampa was concerned more with Orlando than Miami who they thought had no chance.

Late in the fall of 1990 my wife and I drove to Joe Robbie Stadium for a Dolphins-Patriots game and it was that night that Wayne Huizenga made his biog splash. The game was on Thursday Night Football on TNT and every fan got a splashy 4 color booklet AND a VHS video showing how Joe Robbie could host baseball.I knew then Tampa was in big trouble.

I was doing some work at the long departed WFNS radio in Plant City which was one of the first all sports stations in the country. I brought the video and booklet to the station the next day and gave them to Nancy Donnellan who did the afternoon show at the station and she exploded ( she later went to Seattle and then ESPN as the Fabulous Sports Babe )

Well the fix was in we found out. First clue was when MLB gave Blockbuster Video (Huizenga) the exclusive right to sell MLB Videos and then finally Denver and Miami got the expansion shots. The Porter group didn't win because they were "under financed" but keep in mind they were chosen over the 2 other Tampa groups who did have money behind them.

Rick Dodge the St Pete official in charge of the "Suncoast Dome" did some digging into what happened. JR's fingerprints were all over Tampa not getting the team. Dodge was told that JR was trying to help Jeff Smulyan who had his eyes on Tampa because the Mariners wanted out of the Kingdome.

He also found out that Danford promised Huizenga a franchise and in fact the Marlins hired the Pirates second in command Carl Barger to run the team. Barger dies before Florida ever played a game and the #5 is retired in his honor.

The entire episode showed me how dishonest baseball officials really are.



It wasn't just Hawk:

"In 1988, Frank Morsani had tried to prevent Jerry Reinsdorf from getting American League approval for moving the White Sox to Tampa. He contacted several team owners, including the owner of the Baltimore Orioles, Edward Bennett Williams -- who in 1960 mounted a legal challenge to Calvin Griffith's relocation of the Washington Senators to Minnesota. Reinsdorf heard about it and became royally pissed off.

Morsani tried to block our move to St. Petersburg, Reinsdorf says. He fought us in the [Florida] legislature. And he went to see Edward Bennett Williams, who at the time owned the Orioles, and asked him to vote against the White Sox move to St. Petersburg. If baseball came to St. Petersburg, [Morsani] wanted to be involved. He had invested several million dollars trying to get an expansion team and if we came in, his money was going down the drain.

But him going to see Williams was like someone who is not a member of a country club going to a member of the country club and asking him to vote against the admission of a third person. Ed Williams and I were members of the same country club and Morsani was not. I didn't think that was right.

Later in the same year, when Morsani attempted to buy the Texas Rangers, it was widely believed Reinsdorf was the man who stood in his way. Reinsdorf opposed the sale of the Rangers to Morsani; he also objected to broadcaster Ed Gaylord as owner. For blocking Morsani and Gaylord, the American League told Reinsdorf to find a qualified buyer for the Texas franchise. This made Reinsdorf even madder at Morsani, because he believed the price agreed upon by Morsani and Rangers owner Eddie Chiles was too high, making it tough to find an owner. However, Reinsdorf is generally credited with creating the George W. Bush ownership group.

Reinsdorf never forgot or forgave Morsani's actions, giving the Tampa car dealer a powerful and vocal opponent among baseball owners. Of Reinsdorf, Morsani says, I am not crazy about a lot of things that he did.

In the spring of 1990, Allen Keesler took Morsani to the White Sox spring training camp in Sarasota to try and patch things up between his friends. The trio sat in Reinsdorf's box, ate lunch and talked. Allen was trying to patch things up between Morsani and me, Reinsdorf says. I was very angry because I felt, number one, he should be more civic-minded. Reinsdorf believed that despite Morsani's personal investment, he should have supported any baseball team that came to Tampa Bay, whether he owned it or not."

From the internet story, ‘Stadium For Rent : Tampa Bay’s Quest For Major League Baseball’ by Bob Andelman. Chapter 10. Published 1993.

Lip

Hitmen77
11-01-2007, 12:50 PM
Similar to the downtown ballpark discussions, one thing many forget is that Harold Washington was mayor at the time. Thompson saved the SOX, not Washington.

If the SOX would have moved I believe they would have had initial success in Florida/St. Pete, however would be suffering a slightly better fate than the Devil Rays are enjoying now only because they would have some core transplant fans, especially since Sarasota used to be their spring training home.

Imagine JR's philosophy of not spending money until the fans showed up while playing in the Trop?!

As to the AL awarding another franchise to Chicago, I think Daly, as a life-long SOX fan, would have made that happen. They might have moved the new franchise initially into a crumbling and empty Comiskey Park, however I'm sure a new ballpark would have been part of the deal. Depending on when this would have happened and whether Camden and the Jake had already been built, I'm sure Daly would have made it a ballpark that showcased Chicago.

Like him or not, Daly has beautified the city since he took office. Millenium Park, LSD redesign, etc.

I doubt the city alone would come up with the money to build a new park. They would need state funds for such a project. If the state wasn't going to pay to save an existing franchise, once the Sox were gone they certainly wouldn't be interested in paying $$$$ to lure a new team when the Legislature is full of Cubs and Cardinal fans.

Daley would have been just as successful in bringing an AL franchise to Chicago and he has been in bringing an AFC franchise to Chicago (something that he openly talked about for years).

johnr1note
11-01-2007, 05:19 PM
Similar to the downtown ballpark discussions, one thing many forget is that Harold Washington was mayor at the time. Thompson saved the SOX, not Washington.

If the SOX would have moved I believe they would have had initial success in Florida/St. Pete, however would be suffering a slightly better fate than the Devil Rays are enjoying now only because they would have some core transplant fans, especially since Sarasota used to be their spring training home.

Imagine JR's philosophy of not spending money until the fans showed up while playing in the Trop?!

As to the AL awarding another franchise to Chicago, I think Daly, as a life-long SOX fan, would have made that happen. They might have moved the new franchise initially into a crumbling and empty Comiskey Park, however I'm sure a new ballpark would have been part of the deal. Depending on when this would have happened and whether Camden and the Jake had already been built, I'm sure Daly would have made it a ballpark that showcased Chicago.

Like him or not, Daly has beautified the city since he took office. Millenium Park, LSD redesign, etc.

Well, let's make sure we get our history straight. Mayor Washington was probably as big a Sox fan as either of the Mayors Daley, but he couldn't have "saved the Sox" from a potential move to Tampa because he was already dead, and Richie Daley wasn't Mayor yet. Harold died Nov. 25, 1987. Reinsdorf didn't even start to make his threats of relocation to Tampa until early in 1988, and the legislative showdown over the vote that needed to be cast by midnight (where Big Jim Thompson did, indeed, save the day for the Sox) wasn't until June 30, 1988.

I was in graduate school at the time, and many of my fellow Sox fans lamented that if Harold Washington had been alive, it never would have gone as far as it did.

You can dump on Harold's legacy if you wish, but its hard to influence legislation from the grave.

chisoxfanatic
11-01-2007, 05:36 PM
I hate to break it to you, but I could possibly have been a Cubs fan had they moved. I was just starting to like sports at that time and wasn't even close to being hardcore just yet. With my dad liking the Cubs, I'm sure that would've been stressed more, without any other team to "conflict" with them. I'm sure he probably would've taken me to some games at Wrigley when I was a young little girl.

I started liking the Sox because of players like Ventura, Fisk, and mainly the Big Hurt. I saw them in the papers and on commercials on TV and thought they were so cool! Because they stayed, I was able to keep on following those players as CHICAGO players. Their staying saved me from possibly being part of the most apathetic fanbase in sports.

Red Barchetta
11-01-2007, 06:22 PM
Well, let's make sure we get our history straight. Mayor Washington was probably as big a Sox fan as either of the Mayors Daley, but he couldn't have "saved the Sox" from a potential move to Tampa because he was already dead, and Richie Daley wasn't Mayor yet. Harold died Nov. 25, 1987. Reinsdorf didn't even start to make his threats of relocation to Tampa until early in 1988, and the legislative showdown over the vote that needed to be cast by midnight (where Big Jim Thompson did, indeed, save the day for the Sox) wasn't until June 30, 1988.

I was in graduate school at the time, and many of my fellow Sox fans lamented that if Harold Washington had been alive, it never would have gone as far as it did.

You can dump on Harold's legacy if you wish, but its hard to influence legislation from the grave.

I'm not dumping on his legacy. I do remember Washington commenting to the media about a new SOX park back when JR & company had just come to Chicago and mentioning Chicago had bigger concerns, which they probably did at the time and still do today. The new ballpark/move started much earlier than 1988 almost immediately after JR and company spent the money to "renovate" Old Comiskey in the early 80s and commenting that is was a poor investment further renovate. Remember, they later purchased land in Addison as JR was exploring all options.

johnr1note
11-02-2007, 01:04 AM
I'm not dumping on his legacy. I do remember Washington commenting to the media about a new SOX park back when JR & company had just come to Chicago and mentioning Chicago had bigger concerns, which they probably did at the time and still do today. The new ballpark/move started much earlier than 1988 almost immediately after JR and company spent the money to "renovate" Old Comiskey in the early 80s and commenting that is was a poor investment further renovate. Remember, they later purchased land in Addison as JR was exploring all options.

But, the threat to move to Tampa did not materialize until after the Addision municipal authorities rejected the approval for the stadium, and after Mayor Washington had died. The Tampa option was the first time Jerry had gone so far as to threaten to move the team out of the Chicago area.

Hitmen77
11-02-2007, 11:57 AM
I hate to break it to you, but I could possibly have been a Cubs fan had they moved. I was just starting to like sports at that time and wasn't even close to being hardcore just yet. With my dad liking the Cubs, I'm sure that would've been stressed more, without any other team to "conflict" with them. I'm sure he probably would've taken me to some games at Wrigley when I was a young little girl.

I started liking the Sox because of players like Ventura, Fisk, and mainly the Big Hurt. I saw them in the papers and on commercials on TV and thought they were so cool! Because they stayed, I was able to keep on following those players as CHICAGO players. Their staying saved me from possibly being part of the most apathetic fanbase in sports.

I'm sure this would have been true of many Sox fans who are under 30. After all, look at how just about all Chicago became Bears fans after the Cardinals left. By now, the Cubs would own just about everyone in town (the geek side of me gets images of the Borg in my head).

Fenway
11-02-2007, 12:02 PM
What did wind up being built in Addison???

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=white+sox+stadim+location+addison+illinois&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl

Hitmen77
11-02-2007, 12:58 PM
What did wind up being built in Addison???

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=white+sox+stadim+location+addison+illinois&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl

I think the ballpark site is now Dave & Busters.

35th&Shields
11-02-2007, 05:24 PM
I was 14 at the time and the White Sox were my whole life. That said, if they had moved out of Chicago I would have felt like they left me and I would not have continued to follow them. I would not have ever followed baseball as closely again. It's been a long ride, but in the past few years we have seen the ballpark transformed in amazing ways and seen the White Sox win a World Series. I'm still happy about it!

MarySwiss
11-02-2007, 07:26 PM
Break out the Pollyanna graphic again, but for some reason--in my heart of hearts--I really never believed they'd move, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Still, I remember how relieved I was when that announcement finally came down. I felt as though all my bones had melted!

Brian26
11-02-2007, 09:07 PM
After JR wanted to move the White Sox somebody else wanted to own a team in Tampa

On Ken "Hawk" Harrelson's announcement that he had organized an ownership group to pursue a Tampa Bay baseball franchise:
"We've not been surprised. I was aware he had formed a group. We anticipated someone else would make an effort. His effort certainly validates our efforts and the (Florida Suncoast) Dome as a good place to have baseball."

http://www.andelman.com/ARTICLES/baseballexpansion-bw1990.html

I remember this vividly -- Harrelson used to try and sell the concept while he was on-air doing White Sox telecasts. He wanted the Tampa team to be known as the "Florida Panthers," and had uniform colors picked out and everything.

Fenway's article is dated April of 1990. Harrelson returned to the White Sox broadcast booth in April of 1990. I'm assuming the quotes in the article were from a few months prior to being published, if not much more.

I don't recall Harrelson ever talking about trying to own a baseball team in his tenure with the Sox, and I probably watched 90% of the games between 1990-1993 (up until Florida came into the league).

Prior to April of 1990, Harrelson hadn't been in the Sox broadcast booth since broadcasting with Drysdale in '85.

Could this ownership interest have happened sometime between Sept '86 (after re-signing as GM) and his gig with the Yankees?

The Wunsch
11-02-2007, 09:22 PM
it didnt kill us, it made us stronger

johnr1note
11-06-2007, 11:27 AM
Fenway's article is dated April of 1990. Harrelson returned to the White Sox broadcast booth in April of 1990. I'm assuming the quotes in the article were from a few months prior to being published, if not much more.

I don't recall Harrelson ever talking about trying to own a baseball team in his tenure with the Sox, and I probably watched 90% of the games between 1990-1993 (up until Florida came into the league).

Prior to April of 1990, Harrelson hadn't been in the Sox broadcast booth since broadcasting with Drysdale in '85.

Could this ownership interest have happened sometime between Sept '86 (after re-signing as GM) and his gig with the Yankees?

It is hard to go back and remember -- maybe it was AFTER the Hawk's Tampa deal fell through and he was reminiscing. But I do recall several instances where he talked about his ideas for his "Florida Panthers" franchise in Tampa/St. Pete on the air as a White Sox broadcaster.

my5thbench
11-07-2007, 11:05 AM
I assume they would have played in that mess that th D'Rays play in....that's a recipe for doom all by itself

theoakwoody
11-15-2007, 06:00 PM
I think the ballpark site is now Dave & Busters.

I had part of my bachelor party there. I wouldn't mind the park there at all, I only live about 15 minutes from there down 355.

HomeFish
11-16-2007, 12:32 PM
Hey, but at least we'd have Carl Crawford, and the threads about him would stop.