Thursday, May 25, 2017

1971-72 Floridians: More Than Ballgirls

Topps basketball cards NBA ABA

The American Basketball Association has blessed us with a treasure trove of fun stories – one more unlikely than the next.  One of the better ones is that of the Miami Floridians franchise. The Floridians began their existence in Minnesota in 1967 as the Minnesota Muskies and although they had success, attendance was atrocious and the team relocated to Miami.  Unfortunately, the attendance in Florida wasn’t much better despite numerous promotions, the most memorable being the tantalizing Ballgirls, a group of cheerleaders clad only in bikinis and go-go boots.

Playing some home games in an airplane hanger, the Floridians’ players often time had to alter their shots to compensate for the ocean breezes passing through the hot building.  Some of the fans that did show up saw fit to complain that the Ballgirls, who for Halloween were dressed in a full bodied black leotard and witches hats, weren’t wearing their customary white bikinis!

Following the 1969-70 season new owner Ned Doyle “fired” the entire team and started new with a fresh roster.  They made the playoffs that season but lost in the first round to the Kentucky Colonels.  By the 1971-72 season, the Ballgirls were the main attraction and a double header in New York was offered to the Floridians ONLY if they brought the Ballgirls with them.  Fans wanted the Ballgirls but home attendance was still dreadful – even in the playoffs, and after losing 4-0 to the Virginia Squires, Doyle disbanded the team in the summer of 1972.

RetroCards pays tribute to the groovy Miami Floridians with a 14-card set featuring players that didn’t have a card that year.  Most importantly RetroCards includes a special card dedicated to the lovely Ballgirls…. Oh, and the players included are: Warren Jabali, Carl Fuller, Charles Beasley, Denny Stewart, Rick Niemann, George Tinsley, Craig Raymond, Tom Washington, Willie Long, Ron Nelson, Fran O’Hanlon, Al Tucker, and a logo card.  Order here!

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