billsportsmaps.com

July 11, 2008

Baseball of the Southeast, circa 1992.

Filed under: Baseball,Hand Drawn Maps — admin @ 10:43 pm

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Major League Baseball clubs in this map are the Atlanta Braves, the Baltimore Orioles, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The Phillies logo isn’t included, but you can see Philadelphia in the far upper right of the main map.

All the other teams on the map are minor league ball clubs.  Their parent MLB clubs are indicated by icons depicting the MLB clubs’ colors and logos.  For example,  the blue, orange, and gray circles are New York Mets minor league clubs (or farm clubs);  the blue and sky-blue circles with the maple leaf are Toronto Blue Jays farm clubs; the teams with the red tomahawks are Atlanta Braves farm clubs, and so on.

April 16, 2008

Baseball of the Upper Midwest, circa 1992.

Filed under: Baseball,Hand Drawn Maps — admin @ 6:48 pm

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I drew this map around 15 years ago, in autumn 1992 through to early 1993.  I ended up doing 3 of this type of map: one of the Northeast (which I’ve already posted);  this one;  and one, of the South, that I will post later this spring.  These maps combine Big League ball clubs with all of the minor-league ball clubs in the region. 

The Major League Baseball clubs in this map are the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago White Sox, the Cincinnat Reds, the Cleveland Indians, the Detroit Tigers, the Kansas City Royals, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Minnesota Twins, and the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Toronto Blue Jays, and the Pittsburgh Pirates emblems are also shown: those two cities are just east of where this map is cut off. 

All the other ball clubs on the map are minor league baseball teams.  These teams are all affiliated with a Major League Baseball parent-club.  [A few of these clubs are defunct; and some have changed names, and/or affiliation] .  The affiliations are indicated on the map by the smaller MLB-club-icons, next to each minor league team’s logo.

To see my map: “Baseball of the Northeast, 1992,” click here. 

To see more of my hand-drawn baseball maps, go to the Categories section on the upper right of the screen, and click on “baseball.”

January 8, 2008

NFL Timeline, with Map: 1920-1933 / A history of the Dayton Triangles’ franchise; and a brief mention of the 1926 NFL-champions the Frankford Yellow Jackets, and the 1928 NFL-champions the Providence Steam Roller / Plus an illustrated list of all defunct NFL teams that played at least 4 seasons.

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The early days of the National Football League are criminally under-reported.  In America, there is a gigantic publishing industry for books on baseball… the glorious days of yore, and all that.  Academic sorts just love going on and on about baseball’s storied past.  Meanwhile, the amount of books on professional gridiron football’s wild and wooly formative years is scant.  I think publishers think Joe-six-pack NFL fan doesn’t read books, let alone buy them.  There might be some truth to this, because after all, NFL football appeals to the short attention-span viewer, with it’s segmentalized run of play, flashy graphics, and over the top style of reporting by the announcers. 

Very few NFL fans know about the Dayton Triangles,  the Frankford Yellow Jackets,  and the Providence Steam Roller.  

The Dayton Triangles were an original team from the APFA, which was formed in 1920.  [The American Professional Football Association became the NFL in 1922.]  The Triangles wore dark-royal-blue-and-white uniforms, with zebra-striped sleeves.  The Dayton Triangles played 10 seasons in the league, before moving to Brooklyn, NY, in 1930.       **{See this history of the Dayton Triangles.}

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The Triangles became known as the Brooklyn Dodgers when they moved east, in 1930.  This team had no affiliation with the Major League Baseball club known as the Brooklyn Dodgers.   The Brooklyn Football Dodgers played 16 seasons in the NFL, from 1930 to 1945, when they were forced to merge with the NFL’s Boston Yanks.  {See this.}  The Boston Yanks moved to New York as the Bulldogs, then the Yanks, but were sold back to the league, in  1952.  This franchise was awarded to a group of businessmen in Dallas, Texas, in 1952, but the Dallas Texans of 1952 couldn’t draw enough fans to the Cotton Bowl, and went belly-up. As it was in the middle of the season, the league took over the club, and played the last couple of games as a traveling team with a base in Hershey, PA. The last two games the Dallas Texans played after being taken over by the league were as the home team versus the Chicago Bears in the Rubber Bowl in Akron, OH on Thanksgiving Day in 1952 [the only game the hapless Dallas Texans of the NFL ever won], and against the Lions in Detroit.

The NFL does not recognize the link between the original Dallas Texans (1952), and the second Baltimore Colts (1953-1984), even though the roster of the old Texans (including players like Art Donovan, and Gino Marchetti) was transferred to the Baltimore Colts, in 1953.  {see this.}  The second Baltimore Colts also maintained the blue and white color scheme of the old Dallas Texans (as well as that of the Dayton Triangles).  [The original Baltimore Colts played 3 seasons in the AAFC, and one season in the NFL, from 1947 to 1950, and wore green and silver uniforms.]    Here is a great article written by NFL historian Bob Carroll (at DaytonTriangles.com), {‘How to get from Dayton to Indianapolis by way of Brooklyn, Boston, New York, Dallas, Hershey and Baltimore }.    The second Baltimore Colts existed from 1953 to March 29, 1984, when shifty owner Robert Irsay snuck the teams’s entire possessions out in U-Haul moving vans, at 3 in the morning…  destination, Indianapolis, Indiana, and the newly built Hoosier Dome.  The Indianapolis Colts have remained in their dome stadium since then, finally winning an NFL Title in last season’s Super Bowl.  {See this article, from USA Today, during last year’s NFL playoffs.}

The Frankford Yellow Jackets and the Providence Steam Roller are the last two defunct teams to win an NFL championship.  The Frankford Yellow Jackets were in the NFL from 1924 to 1931, and were from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  They sported dark blue and yellow uniforms.  They won the NFL Title in 1926.  The Providence Steam Roller, from Rhode Island, were in the NFL from 1925 to 1931.  [editor's note: the Providence Steam Roller is my all-time favorite team name.]  They wore black, with orange trim.  They won the NFL Title in 1928.  They played in a 10,000 seat bicycle velodrome (seriously).  {See this.}  Basically, the Great Depression killed off both these teams.  The NFL was no money-making venture back then, to say the least.  
                      
Click this icon for a list of all defunct NFL teams that played at least 4 seasons..
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December 6, 2007

Football Clubs of Northeast Italy.

Filed under: Hand Drawn Maps,Italy — admin @ 8:37 pm

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This map is part of my map of Italian Football Clubs (unfinished).   Crests are sized proportionally to average attendances from 2006  [To see "Italian Calcio" post of September 24, 2007:  Click on "italy" in Categories.  It will be right below this post].

November 26, 2007

Negro League Baseball, 1920-1950.

Filed under: Baseball,Baseball: Negro Leagues,Hand Drawn Maps — admin @ 7:16 am

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Negro Leagues map



Denied entrance into Major League Baseball by the color barrier, black ballplayers organized leagues of their own. These were the Negro Leagues, which existed between 1920 and 1957.  The primary leagues were the Negro National League (1920-31; and 1933-48);  the Negro Southern League, a minor-league (1920-40);  the Eastern Colored League (1923-28);   and the Negro American League (1937-57).  [For purposes of this map, records will only go to 1950, after which the Negro American League, the last negro league, essentially played exhibition games.] 

There were many standouts in the Negro Leagues, and 34 players have been elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame. The first five elected were Satchel Paige (the legendary right-handed pitcher);  Josh Gibson (catcher, and home run king);  James ”Cool Papa” Bell (center fielder, and base-stealer extroardinaire);  Buck Leonard (first baseman, slugger);  William “Judy” Johnson (third baseman, with a .349 lifetime batting average);  and Oscar Charleston (outfielder, and slugger, with a blend of power and speed; and a .376 lifetime batting average).   More information about the Negro Leagues can be found at www.blackbaseball.com, and at the Negro Leagues e-Museum @ http://www.coe.ksu.edu/nlbemuseum/,  among other good sites.

Negro League baseball was characterized by fleet-footed action, and hi-jinks, ranging from tomfoolery to deadly serious one-upsmanship. There was more base-stealing than in the MLB, and there was a sense of “playing to the crowd.” The teams knew the fans (particularly the significant portion of white customers) were there to see a show, and the players didn’t disappoint. An example of this was the barnstorming (traveling) club called the Indianapolis Clowns, an outfit similar to the Harlem Globetrotters. But that did not mean that Negro League baseball was an inferior product. During this era, negro baseball squads often defeated white MLB squads in exhibition games. Seasons were generally around 60 to 70 games long. There were no real standardized schedules, and teams operated on a shoe-string budget. The Golden Age of the Negro Leagues can be seen as the period from 1933 to 1947. The Washington-Homestead Grays regularly outdrew the Washington Senators in Griffith Park, as they racked up 9 straight Negro National League titles. The Chicago American Giants played in old Comiskey Park, home of the White Sox. The Pittsburgh Crawfords played in the first entirely black-owned ball park, Greenlee Field, and travelled the country in style, in their custom-made bus. The Newark Eagles won the 1946 NNL title, under Effa Manley (the first woman owner-operator to win a championship; she became the first woman inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, in 2006). And the Kansas City Monarchs toured the continent with their state-of-the-art portable lighting system. The Kansas City Monarchs would set up shop most anywhere, playing to thousands on a nightly basis. The Monarchs began using lighting for night games in 1930, five years before MLB teams did. They ranged throughout the midwest, the upper midwest and Canada. The Monarchs ended up sending more players to the MLB than any other Negro League team. Their star pitcher, Satchell Paige, made more money than most major leaguers. It was an amazing phenomenon, that only ended when blacks were finally able to play in the Major Leagues. In 1947, Jackie Robinson, of the Brooklyn Dodgers, broke the color barrier, and the Negro Leagues days were numbered. Owners saw their star talent go to the white ball clubs, with no financial compensation. By the mid 1950s, the few surviving Negro League clubs were basically playing exhibition games, and the whole era faded away under the public radar. But the legacy of the Negro Leagues cannot be overstated.

I drew the main map in 2001. I added the flanking segments in 2007. I have included the 17 most prominent Negro League ball clubs.

November 22, 2007

Portsmouth Football Club.

Filed under: English Football Clubs,Hand Drawn Maps — admin @ 9:51 am

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 Today is Thanksgiving in the USA, and I am giving thanks to the roof over my head, my family and their continued health and happiness, this old e-machine that can still (slowly) do the work I demand of it, and to the fact that my favorite sporting club is sitting in 6th place in one of the top leagues in the world.  That would be plucky Portsmouth FC of the English Premier League, affectionately known as “Pompey.”  Portsmouth was the traditional home base of the British Navy, all through the years of Empire, and the naval presence there is still strong.  It is a very working-class town, as opposed to the more upper-middle class Southampton, 15 miles northwest.  The two have one of the biggest rivalries in English football, and there was much glee in Portsmouth when Southampton FC were relegated in 2005.  Pompey almost were relegated the following season, but pulled off one of the greatest escapes in Premier League history, going from 9 pts. down, to safety, in the last 10 games.  They did this by virtue of two things: the return of much-loved manager Harry Redknapp earlier that season, and a cash-infusion from new ownership that allowed the wheeler-dealer Redknapp to make some crucial player acquisitions during the January transfer window. I decided on Portsmouth as my club because I love their passionate fans, and I am drawn to teams that have to struggle to keep their heads above water.  Portsmouth, in their dilapidated stadium, with their working class fan base, punching above their weight, really reminded me of the soccer club I lived and died for as a youth…the Rochester Lancers of the old North American Soccer League.  I later found out that Harry Redknapp had played, and coached, in the NASL, with the Seattle Sounders from 1976 to 1979.  Here he met Milan Mandaric, then owner of the original San Jose Earthquakes.  Harry had come up through the West Ham United system, playing midfield for the East London club from 1965-72, with 147 appearances and 7 goals.  He ended his English career at Bournemouth in 1976, and then went to the US .   Years later, when Mandaric decided to buy (and basically rescue and revive) Portsmouth FC (he loved how devoted the Pompey faithful were), he appointed Redknapp (who had just managed West Ham for 6 seasons) as Director of Football.  Redknapp eventually became manager in 2002, guiding Pompey back to the top flight for the first time in 15 years, in 2003.  So that NASL vibe I felt with Portsmouth was real. 

Portsmouth FC has less cash-flow worries since Alexandre Gaydamak bought the club in 2005.  Since avoiding relegation in 2005, they have been steadily improving.  They finished 9th last season, just missing out on qualifying for Europe, in the UEFA Cup.  Under Harry, Pompey has always played a brand attacking football, and the team has been fun to watch these last 5 seasons.  Redknapp is much loved by his players, and has an avuncular style that has endeared him to the public.  His acumen in the transfer market is legendary.  He’s kind of like a used car salesman, but with footballers.  Now with more cash at his disposal, Redknapp has been acquiring (and attracting) a higher caliber of player.  Portsmouth’s defense (never a strength) has improved considerably, and they recently won an unprecedented 4 straight games on the road.  The club is also improving infrastructure like it’s training facillities, and they finally put a roof over the re-built away stands.  Fratton Park is still the smallest venue in the Premier League, but the club plans to build a new, state of the art stadium/commercial complex/luxury co-op development, on land reclaimed from the English Channel.  Last time I checked, it was slated for a 2010 completion, but I’ll believe it when I see it.  Whatever the outcome of the perpetually delayed new stadium, Portsmouth FC”s future looks bright.

Special thanks to these websites: FootballGroundGuide[dot]co[dot]uk, and Stadium Guide[dot]com for the photos, and Colours-Of-Football[dot]com for the kits.  There is a great article on the espn site about Harry Redknapp…Google “espnsoccernet+harry Redknapp” for it. 

November 8, 2007

Baseball of the Northeast, 1992.

Filed under: Baseball,Hand Drawn Maps — admin @ 9:13 am

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I made this map in 1992, back in the days before the internet:  my source for team information was “The Baseball Almanac, 1991″ by Dan Schlossberg.  The minor league team’s affiliations are noted by small crests or icons of the parent club.  The green and tan baseball diamond in the center of New York State represents Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall Of Fame.  Many of the smaller minor league teams shown here are defunct, like the Albany-Colonie Yankees, the Geneva Cubs, the Watertown Indians, the Welland (Ontario) Pirates, the St. Catherines (Ontario) Blue Jays, and the Utica Blue Sox.  Some of the logos here I took the liberty of inventing, like the Blue Sox crest, and the one for the Frederick Keys, in Maryland.  I carved out domains for the Major League teams, trying to be as realistic as possible, while still maintaining a graphic balance.   The New York Yankees got all of Upstate NY, northern and coastal New Jersey, and Fairfield County, Connecticut.  The New York Mets got all of Long Island, NY, plus a Met-colored bar cutting a swath through northern NJ.  This style of representing fan bases proved too problematic and arbitrary, though.  My maps have evolved to where I now usually depict team crests larger or smaller, depending on average attendance.  Showing each team’s “sphere of influence” would entail a census-taking of Herculean scale, and would ultimately be open to dispute. 

November 1, 2007

The Golden Age of Baseball.

Filed under: Baseball,Hand Drawn Maps,Retro maps — admin @ 8:00 pm

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Between 1903 and 1952, there was no franchise movement among the 8 National League and 8 American League baseball clubs.  This map shows all 16 clubs, with emblems, cap crests and uniform details from that time period.  Included is an inset map of the Greater New York City area.  In it, the locations of Yankee Stadium (NY Yankees), the Polo Grounds (NY Giants), and Ebbets Field (Brooklyn Dodgers) are marked.   The evolution of these three clubs’ crests and the evolution of the ball clubs’ colors are also shown here.  This map was drawn in 1993, and would not have been possible without the incredible book “Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century” {at Amazon, here}.  This book was researched, written, and illustrated by Marc Okkonen.  His artwork for this book can now be found as the main uniform database (from 1900 to 1994) for the Baseball Hall of Fame site “Dressed to the Nines – A History of the Baseball Uniform“. 

October 26, 2007

Hockey of the North Atlantic, circa 1994.

Filed under: Hand Drawn Maps,Hockey — admin @ 10:26 pm

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This is a map from my early days of sports maps, around 13 years ago.  As you can see, I was way more into the unbridled use of color and form, and less into accuracy.  I can remember, halfway into the map, deciding to put in minor-league hockey clubs, only to realize (pre-internet) that I had little chance of finding the logos for most of these small clubs.  So I improvised:  Ontario Hockey League trading cards I had helped; and for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League teams, I just used their names alone.  This map has teams from the National Hockey League; the American Hockey League; the aforementioned OHL and QMJHL; and the East Coast Hockey League.  Minor league affiliations of AHL clubs are noted by small logos of their parent NHL clubs.  The player in the map’s legend is New York Ranger goalie Mike Richter, in his 1994 All-Star team uniform. 

October 22, 2007

The American League, established 1901.

Filed under: Baseball,Hand Drawn Maps,Retro maps — admin @ 11:50 pm

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The World Series starts Wednseday, so this is a good time for a baseball map.  This map was drawn in 2005.  The map includes every ball club that has played in the American League, since its inception in 1901. The American League was created 25 years after the National League, which was formed in 1876.  Since 1903, the winner of each league has gone on to play in the best-of-7-game World Series.  Featured on this map are caps, logos, and cap crests from the past, with the years listed.  Franchise shifts are also noted.

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