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  "Admirals" (1967)

(Formerly the Long Beach Admirals of California)

 

Years of Operation: 1967

 

Overall Record:  0-3

 

First Game: Aug 11, 1967 vs Orange Co. Ramblers

 

First Win: No Wins

 

Final Game: Aug 26, 1967 vs Seattle Rangers

 

League Affiliation:  

Continental Football League (1967)

Independent (1967)

 

 

Team Headquarters:

Suite 345, 5505 East Carson Street,

Lakewood, California 90713

Owner: Shelby Calhoun (Pres) Bob Spitler (VP)

 

General Manager: Bob Spitler

 

Coaches: Shelby Calhoun (HC) Carver Shannon (AC) Frank Ganz (AC); Johnny Olezewski (AC)

 

Home Field(s): Veterans Memorial Stadium

Team Colors: Kelly Green, Texas Orange, Black

 

Titles Won

None

 

 

 

The saga of the Long Beach Admirals didn't end with their ouster from the Western Division of the Continental Football League. When GM Bob Spitler asked to move the team to Portland, Oregon after week one and the poor attendance (approx 950) indicated a dire future in Long Beach and a teenager** wrote to the Executive Director of the Western Division regarding the problems with the team, the CFL met and revoked the franchise.

 

In an article printed in the Eugene Register-Guard by Neil Cawood, he reported that Spitler decided to move the team to Portland anyway and pursue an independent schedule.  "Despite the decision of the CFL to revoke our franchise and keep us out of Portland, we'll move our office personnel and 10 of our key ball players at once.  We'll hold a tryout camp for the Portland players as soon as possible to complete the 35-man roster we intend to carry", Spitler was quoted.

 

Peter Murphy Jr., president of the Eugene Bombers would not play the team unless the CFL said it was ok, and Danny Hill, executive director of the division offered this quote:  "We've got a lot of different groups interested in the Portland franchise - people from Vancouver to Houston - and we're not going to let a shaky franchise like Long Beach go in there." Hill also indicated that proof of "local ownership" was a reason for denying the move.

 

Portland would land the Loggers franchise in 1968.

 

Dick Suess, Jim Harrington, and Frank Ganz were also part of Spitler's Portland ownership group trying to make the move happen.

1967 Schedule/Results (0-3):

 
Aug 11 @ Orange County Ramblers 3-24
Aug 19 @ Sacramento Buccaneers 0-6
Aug 26 - Seattle Rangers 13-37
   
   
1968 Schedule/Results (0-0):  
No Games - Franchise Officially Folded  
   
** In his own words:

The letter I sent as a seventeen year old, was not to a newspaper, but, directly to the office of Danny Hill who was in 1967 the executive director of the new Western Division ( Conference ) of the Continental Football League which was the third league of major professional football of the 1960's.

In the letter, I had informed Mr. Hill of what I had uncovered in the operations of the Long Beach Admirals. One must first understand, that even as a 17 year old, I was then a very astute junior journalist, and discovered that the six teams that had played in major western minor football leagues, Eugene Bombers, Orange County Ramblers, Sacramento Buccaneers, San Jose Apaches, Seattle Rangers, and Victoria Steelers all had veteran players, many having had experience in the American, Canadian, Continental, and National Football Leagues, and had fan bases to build upon. Long Beach on the other hand had none. It also had a very weak public relations-publicity department without any civic support. If this franchise had been serious about putting a team together, it needed to begin operations a year before it did! The management attempted to compete with budding major league teams, as if it was a throwback to an early Atlantic Coast Football League team of
1961 or 1962.

The next factor which had been overlooked, was much of its roster had junior college only products, in other words, it was a team of boys being sent out to play men ( four year collegiate and veteran products ). The Admirals had only a handful of players that had any pro experience, and only one that had played in any post-season games, Lou Williams.

Once I had notified Danny Hill, he called an emergency meeting. Long Beach had been admitted through the Commissioner's office, Sol Rosen of the Eastern Division ( Conference ). Sol Rosen was surrounded by completely inept advisors. It was through this non-leadership that two primary charter franchises were lost, Philadelphia and Richmond. Furthermore, the Brooklyn Dodger franchise was allowed to be transferred to Frank Hurn and moved to Akron without investigating Hurn, who quickly turned out to be a penniless con artist. The same was true as Alan Eagleson gained primary control of the Toronto Rifles and completely undermined that franchise. You may recall Eagleson went to prison for embezzlement of funds of the National Hockey League Players Association. Both Akron and Toronto folded after the fourth week of the 1967 regular season.

In the case of Long Beach, Danny Hill's staff was able to verify all my research, and literally put the ownership on the carpet, and revoked the franchise. Despite the efforts of the ownership to move the team to Portland or Phoenix as primarily a road team, the executive director, Danny Hill once again revoked the franchise, and prevented even exhibition games be played against the Admirals by the six remaining Western Division ( Conference ) teams. The paid attendance of the Admirals' only home regular season game against Seattle was probably around 950, the two or three thousand additional fans in the stands were probably papered. The only verified ideas to increase fans support was to slash ticket prices by one half and to offer a pony as a prize! If Long beach had been attempted  membership through Danny Hill's office initially, it would not have even gotten off the ground. Only a handful of its rostered players were picked up by other teams in 1967
once the team folded.

Thank you.

Dennis Michael Kuno, I

**Update:
One very amazing fact I had uncovered about the Continental Football League, as it was prevented, mostly through illegal tactics, from gaining a national television contract, the teams were usually desperate to keep their teams afloat financially. one method was to under report the attendance figures to the media. The officials who collected tas revenues from the gates for the most part looked the other way, as having a team in their city not only gave them a measure of prestige, but, also provided many jobs to their communities. This information was verified by several former owners, of course, off the record, despite no legal ramifications after all these years.
 
Did you know that Monday Night Football was originally the first nationally televised slot that ABC was going to showcase weekly of the Continental Football League? Bill Walsh verified this before his passing.
 
By the way, Peter Murphy recently contacted me, and that the Eugene Bombers were originally scheduled to play their 1968 home games in Autsen Stadium, but, the college officials would not permit the Bombers from selling beer at the stadium in 1968, which was the Bombers' biggest concession money maker at the time at Bethal Park in 1967. So the deal fell through. I wonder how much beer is sold at Autsen Stadium today?

Dennis Michael Kuno, I

 

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