Special Report

The Greatest Pro Sports Teams That Disappeared

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

7. Kentucky Colonels
> Sport: ABA basketball
> Years active: 1968-1976
> Win pct.: 0.602
> Championships: 1

The Kentucky Colonels were one of the marquee franchises of the maverick American Basketball Association. The Colonels featured dazzling guard Louie Dampier, who had more points and assists than any player in ABA history, high-scoring forward Dan Issel, and intimidating center Artis Gilmore. The Colonels won the most games all time of any team in the ABA, but when the two leagues decided to merge in 1976, the NBA would only take four ABA teams, and the Colonels were not one of them.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

6. Frankford Yellow Jackets
> Sport: NFL football
> Years active: 1924-1931
> Win pct.: 0.609
> Championships: 1

The Frankford Yellow Jackets, who played in the Frankford section of Philadelphia, were an amateur football squad that built a reputation as a regional powerhouse. They took on, and beat, professional teams, and were eventually invited to play in the NFL. In their first season in the league in 1924, the Yellow Jackets went 11-2-1. Two years later, they would become the first Philadelphia football team to win an NFL title. Unfortunately for the Yellow Jackets, the Great Depression, plus a series of stadium fires, would hurt them financially, and the team folded.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

5. Providence Grays
> Sport: NL baseball
> Years active: 1878-1885
> Win pct.: 0.612
> Championships: 1

The Providence Grays were one of the best teams in the early days of professional baseball. The team won most of their games and claimed the first World Series championship in 1884, though that World Series is not the same as the one played today. The team folded after enduring financial problems in 1885.

Source: Courtesy of Rock Island Independents

4. Rock Island Independents
> Sport: APFA/NFL football
> Years active: 1920-1925
> Win pct.: 0.650
> Championships: 0

The Rock Island Independents, founded in Rock Island, Illinois, were one of the first NFL teams to ever take the field. They included on their roster the immortal Jim Thorpe, who played for them in 1924. In the six years they played in the NFL and its precursor the APFA, the Independents compiled a record of 26-14-12, and had just one losing season. The Independents bolted from the NFL after the 1925 campaign to join the fledgling American Football League, a move that proved disastrous. The team faltered to a 2-6-1 record and fan interest fell off. The upstart circuit was poorly run and collapsed after one year. The Independents were unable to rejoin the NFL and folded.

Source: Spalding Ice Hockey / Wikimedia Commons

3. Ottawa Senators
> Sport: NHL hockey
> Years active: 1917-1934
> Point pct.: 0.534
> Championships: 4

Before the current iteration of the Ottawa Senators came back to Canada, the first version of the team was an NHL powerhouse. The team won four championships in the 1920s, but was hit hard by the Great Depression in the 1930s. Ottawa was not large enough to support a professional hockey team, so the owners moved the Senators to St. Louis and renamed them the Eagles in the hope of keeping the team alive. The Eagles continued to bleed money and folded after one season in St. Louis.