Ten Forgotten Miami Professional Sports Teams

Categories: Sports
Today, for better or worse, the Miami market has teams in each of the big four major leagues. It wasn't always that way, though, and besides the Dolphins, Heat, Marlins, and Panthers, several other professional sports teams have called Miami home. In fact, the Magic City's colorful pro sports history dates back decades before the Dolphins were established. That history includes a team called the Ethiopian Clowns (the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball) and a minor-league basketball team made up of recovering addicts.

Here are ten forgotten and folded but thoroughly interesting Miami professional sports teams.

Miami Seahawks
Long before the Dolphins set up shop, Miami's (and Florida's) first professional football team, the Miami Seahawks, played a single season in 1946. As members of the short-lived All-America Football Conference, the Seahawks played in Burdine Stadium (or as you probably know it, the Orange Bowl) and sported orange and green uniforms similar to those of their co-tenants, the Miami Hurricanes. At the time, Miami was a relatively small town and was the smallest market in the AAFC. The team's owner was also the poorest in the league (he wasn't even a millionaire!). A tough schedule and a head coach that quit midseason led the team to a 3-11 record, according to Pro Football Reference. The Seahawks ended up severely in debt and were bought and relocated to Baltimore, where they became the first incarnation of the Baltimore Colts.

The Seahawks did add one legacy to pro football: They played all of their November games on Monday nights, which was unheard of until the NFL's Monday Night Football.

The team went on to become the original Miami Marlins. Unfortunately we can't find any photographic evidence of their Hustlers era.
Miami Hustlers
Like the Seahawks, Miami's first (though minor-league) baseball team was also woefully short-lived. Established as the Fort Myers Palms in 1926, the team moved to Miami in 1927 and took on the awesome mantel of the Miami Hustlers. Like Rick Ross, they spent every day hustlin'. However, their league, Florida State League, folded midway through the 1928 season. The franchise was reborn in 1962 and was the first team to use the name the "Miami Marlins," until 1971. They then became known as the Orioles before switching back to the Marlins name and eventually becoming the Miami Miracle (the name change came about through a new ownership group that counted Jimmy Buffett and Bill Murray as investors). When the MLB franchise we all know and hate today -- the Marlins -- came to town, the Miracle relocated to its original home of Fort Myers, where it still plays today. The Miami area also hosted other, less notable minor-league baseball teams such as the Sun Sox, the Flamingoes, the Wahoos, the Amigos, and the Tourists.

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My Voice Nation Help

Thanks for sharing. I always wondered what team my grandfather followed living in Liberty City in the 1930. I'm sure he was an Ethiopian Clowns fan. 


Wasn't there a pro soccer team called the Miami Toros, or strikers, or something like that?  I went to two of their games on field trips, and they were the only times I ever went to the Orange Bowl.


I recall the Miami Marlins-Orioles-Marlins from FSL Baseball. At the time I lived in Daytona Beach, FL and they had the Daytona Beach Dodgers at city Island ballpark.


The author forgot to add the infamous Miami Morays who made an effort to sell indoor football when they played at the old Miami Arena.  They came to life just after the Miami Manatees hockey team went through their ill-fate season.

miamitrev2 topcommenter

You are a threat to make mistakes from anywhere in a column,

The Miami Marlins became the Miami Orioles, not the Baltimore Orioles.

"..tried to buy the Las Vegas Posse to town...."    Que?


Vladimir Garcia
Vladimir Garcia

I remember going to a Miami Hooters game in the Miami Arena as a kid.

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