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Recalling sports teams of yesteryear

With both the American and National League championship series going on right now, I decided I'd mix my leanings toward jogging the memories of others with my love of sports, mainly baseball and football.

It's 2001 today. (In case you missed it, we've got quite a bit of catching up to do.) Fifty years ago, it was 1951.

As is always the case, I'm certain that after this has appeared in the Sunday Exponent Telegram on Oct. 21, there will be some who'll be contacting me to say that I either missed saying something or that I said something that isn't -- or wasn't -- the case. But I've come to expect it, so here goes.

A few evenings ago, the Fox Sports play-by-play announcers posed a trivia question: Which expansion Major League Baseball team was the first to win a World Series?

The answer: The 1969 New York Mets.

The question didn't call for trivia buffs to name an expansion team that won the 'Series the same year it joined the league.

And that's what got me cogitating about the past while trying to fall asleep a few nights ago.

So! Can you tell me which teams made up the American and National leagues in 1951 -- before expansion teams came into vogue?

Well, in the National League, there were: The Brooklyn Dodgers, the New York Giants, the Boston (later Milwaukee, later Atlanta) Braves, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago Cubs, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Over in the "junior circuit," there were: The New York Yankees, the Cleveland Indians, the Boston Red Sox, the St. Louis Browns (later the Baltimore Orioles), the Chicago White Sox, the Philadelphia (later Kansas City, later Oakland) Athletics (A's), the Washington Senators (later Minnesota Twins) and the Detroit Tigers.

There was an expansion team called the Washington Senators in the early 1960s, after the first Senators moved to Minneapolis-St. Paul, the Dodgers moved to L.A., the Giants to San Francisco, etc. Those Senators later became the Texas Rangers. If I were to list every franchise change since 1960, I'd soon be out of space, so I won't try it.

I'll switch to football.

So, in the National Football League in 1951 there were two conferences -- Eastern and Western.

The Eastern Conference consisted of: The New York Giants, the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Washington Redskins, the Chicago (later St. Louis, later Arizona) Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Their Western counterparts included: the Detroit Lions, the Baltimore Colts (Western? and now Indianapolis), the Chicago Bears, the Los Angeles (later St. Louis) Rams, the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers.

As I was once an avid collector of both baseball and football cards, I remember seeing cards of players for a team called the "New York Yanks," but I have learned little to nothing about the team in the ensuing years.

Then in 1960 came the American Football League, which included teams like the Houston Oilers, the New York Titans, the San Diego Chargers, the Dallas Texans, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders. There probably were more. I just don't recall all of them at the moment.

Now that I've competed this edition of Bob'n'Along, I don't know what it has to do with the price of tea in China. But it was fun conjuring up the memories.

Have a great week ahead!

Exponent-Telegram Editor Bob Stealey can be reached by phone at (304) 626-1438, or by e-mail at rstealey@exponent-telegram.com.

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