10 Oldest Sports Franchises


For the sake of argument, this could be called the 10 oldest sports franchises among the Big Four, and English football. Because the genesis of many a team could be debated ad nauseam, considering that some teams started in different cities, suspended operations for war or weren’t in the same league they are now. Consider that the original Baltimore Orioles moved to New York in 1903 and became the Highlanders, who later were famously renamed the Yankees. To further make heads spin, the original Milwaukee Brewers moved to St. Louis in 1902 and became the Browns. The Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954 and became the second incarnation of the Orioles. Head-scratching stuff. On the hockey side, the original Ottawa Senators franchise of the NHL moved to St. Louis in 1933 (eventually disbanding in 1954), after being in existence since 1883.  The Senators, of course, are back as an ‘expansion’ franchise.

#10 – Detroit Pistons, founded 1941

When the Pistons were based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in the formative years (1941 to 1957) the team was innovative. Auto parts magnate and team owner Fred Zollner was the first to have his team fly private plane to games and employ a bench coach. Competing in the old National Basketball League, the Fort Wayne Pistons enjoyed great success before moving to Detroit in 1957. Success in the NBA didn’t come easily, with more teams and better competition. The Detroit Pistons wouldn’t win an NBA Championship until 1989, with Isaiah Thomas and Joe Dumars lighting up the Los Angeles Lakers in a thrilling finale. That same Piston team would repeat in 1990 and in 2004 they won their last championship.

AP Photo/File

AP Photo/File

Next: #9 - Philadelphia 76ers, founded 1937
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