Baltimore Blast (1980-1992)

The Baltimore Blast were a professional indoor soccer team who played in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) from 1980 until the league collapsed in 1992. This page is dedicated to the first incarnation of the Blast, as opposed to the indoor team who operated in the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL)from 1998.

The Blast franchise began life as the Houston Summit, who were one of the founder teams of the MISL in 1978. The Summit were essentially the indoor team of the North American Soccer League’s (NASL) Houston Hurricane.

The Blast franchise was originally owned by Bernie Rodin, who also owned the NASL’s Rochester Lancers, and the New York Arrows in the MISL. Tim Leiweke was named as General Manager.

The home arena for the Blast throughout its 12 year existence was the 11,271 capacity Baltimore Arena. The Blast shared the arena with the Baltimore Skipjacks ice hockey team and the Baltimore Thunder professional lacrosse team.

Kenny Cooper as appointed as head coach, having followed the franchise from Houston. He would remain in charge for the whole 12 year existence of the Blast.

The Blast’s inaugural season was 1980-81. They were placed in the Atlantic Division, against the Hartford Hellions, New York Arrows, and the Philadelphia Fever.
Holdovers on the roster from the Houston Summit included defender Neil Cohen, goalkeeper Sepp Gantenhammer, defender Jim Pollihan, and forward Gerry Morielli.

During the season Tim Leiweke resigned as GM under heavy pressure from majority owner Bernie Rodin to sign a longer contract. He was replaced in by Mitch Burke. In other news they signed forward Mark Liveric, who would go on to score 32 goals in the season. They decided to play Kool & The Gang’s hot track ‘Celebration’ every time they scored. Radio coverage was provided by WFBR, and commentary by Art Sinclair and Charley Eckman. Sonny Askew was signed from the Washington Diplomats in the NASL only lasted 11 games before being traded to the Montreal Manic after being unable to come to terms with the indoor game.

The Blast finished the 40 game regular season in 2nd place, making the playoffs. They won 21 games and lost 19, scoring 182 and conceding 190. In the 1st round of the playoffs the Blast beat the Cleveland Force in a tight contest over 3 games. They won the first 6-5 in overtime, were soundly beaten 7-1 in the return before winning the decider 5-2. The semi-finals were a one leg affair, and the Blast were crushed 10-1 against the New York Arrows, who were the MISL’s best side.

Their average attendance was 6,540. Dan Counce was named the Blast’s MVP for the season. The Blast ownership reportedly lost around $300,000 in the first season.
For the 1981-1982 season the MISL league structure was altered, placing teams in either an Eastern or Western division. The Blast were placed in the Eastern, alongside the Buffalo Stallions, Cleveland Force, New Jersey Rockets, New York Arrows, Philadelphia Fever, and the Pittsburgh Spirit.

Before the season forward Joey Fink and goalkeeper Keith Van Eron were signed from the Philadelphia Fever. Also Tim Wittman was drafted from Calvert Hall College High School. He was to play 10 seasons for the Blast in defence. Also incoming was Yugoslav-born defender Mike Stankovic who was signed from the NASL’s Dallas Tornado.
During the season summer signing and NASL veteran Garry Ayre had to retire with a knee injury.
Over a longer 44 game regular season the Blast placed 3rd in their 6 team division, again making the playoffs. They won 27 and lost 17 of their games, scoring 223 and conceding 207 goals. In the 1st round of playoffs the Blast defeated the Pittsburgh Spirit. They lost the first game 3-1, before winning the final 2 games 6-5 and 6-2. For the 2nd year running they met the New York Arrows in the playoffs, this time over a 3 game series. The result was the same though, losing 6-5 and 6-2 to eliminate them. Their leading goal scorer was Joey Fink with 51 goals, 22 assists, and 73 points.

Their average attendance increased to 9,557.

For the 1982-1983 season the Blast were again in the Eastern Division, now expanded to 7 teams. The Philadelphia Fever had moved to Los Angeles to become the Lazers, and were replaced by the NASL’s Chicago Sting (the NASL indoor league was on hiatus for the season), and the Memphis Americans. The season as extended to 48 games.

Major signings included German defender Heinz Wirtz from the Washington Diplomats in the NASL, Canadian midfielder Pat Ercoli joined from the Buffalo Stallions, and American forward Dave MacWilliams was signed from the Philadelphia Fever.

Bernie Rodin proved to be a colourful owner, when he wasn’t demanding that referees be replaced, he was promising his players free colour TV sets if they won.

Over the 48 game season, the Blast topped the Eastern Division with a record of 30 wins and 18 losses. The Blast scored 249 goals and conceded 224. Paired again against the New York Arrows, this time in the 1st round of the playoffs, the Blast finally managed to beat them. The first game was an 11-4 victory, they lost a close second 7-6, before winning the decider 8-3. In the semi-finals they beat the Cleveland Force over a 5 game series. They then reached the grand final against another NASL interloper, the San Diego Sockers. The Sockers crushed the Blast 6-0 and 7-0 in the first 2 games of the series, before the Blast battled back to win the next 2 games 4-3 and 7-6. In the MISL title decider however the Sockers returned to form winning 3-1.

Dave McWilliams was the Blast’s leading scorer with 41 goals and 27 assists for 68 points. This however only placed him joint 16th in the MISL scoring list. Yugoslav Stan Stamenkovic won the title for most assists however, and German defender Heinz Wirtz made the MISL All-Star team. Their average attendance was 10,729 – a figure which nearly filled the Baltimore Arena, and topped most NASL outdoor franchises.

The 1983-1984 MISL season saw the Blast in a nearly unchanged Eastern Division, with only the Chicago Sting leaving to go back into the NASL’s indoor league.

The Blasts major signing in was Yugoslav Srboljub “Stan” Stamenkovic from the the Memphis Americans. Due to his portliness and love of American fast food, Stan was quickly nicknamed the “Pizza Man”, and was noted for his skill outweighing his oversize frame. In Memphis they ran a competition where one fan could go to a “Pizza Party” with Stan who tipped the scales at 223 pounds. Stamenkovic cost the blast and league record $150,000 to sign (although fellow Yugoslav Ray Kunovac was thrown in as well), and his salary was reputed to be $100,000 a year. As soon as he signed Cooper flew to Stamenkovic’s home town of Titova Uzice in Yugoslavia to make him add a ‘weight clause’ into his contact. Also in was English born defender Paul Kitson from the New York Arrows who signed a 3-year $80,000 a year contract. Also incoming was goalkeeper Scott Manning from the Phoenix Inferno. Head Coach Kenny Cooper signed a new 3-year deal.

During the season it was announced that Bernie Rodin would be selling the Blast at the end of the season to Nathan Scherr for $2,900,000. Scherr was involved in construction in Baltimore. He beat off rival offers from Joe Cowan & Dennis Townsend, and another offer from Charles A. Lankford. Joey Fink became the first player to score over 200 MISL goals.

The Blast again topped the Eastern Division after 49 regular season games, winning 34 and losing only 14 for the best record in the MISL. They scored a league high 280 goals for the season, conceding 203. They again met the New York Arrows in the 1st round of playoffs . They won the first game 11-5, before losing the second 9-8 in overtime. They won the next 2 games 4-3 and 14-5 to reach the semi finals and a match against the Cleveland Force. They whitewashed the Force, winning 3 games 5-4, 6-5 and 7-2 to reach the MISL grand final series against the St. Louis Steamers.

The Final series was over 7 games, and the Steamers gained the upper hand in the 1st match winning 7-3. This was to be their only win of the series as the Blast went on to win the next 4 games 5-3, 5-2, 5-4, and 10-3 to win their first and only MISL championship. The final game attracted a Baltimore Arena record of 12,007 fans, despite the Baseball team playing , and the match being on live television locally.

Each player on the roster was due to receive $1,608 for winning the championship, but outgoing owner Bernie Rodin said he would be giving each player a diamond ring and $9,000 instead. Goalkeeper Scott Manning was named as the championship series ‘Player of the Year’ title. Yugoslav Stan Stamenkovic led the MISL in points with 97, and assists with 63, he was also the Blast’s leading goal scorer with 34 goals.

In the end of season awards Stamenkovic won the league’s MVP title, and was the only Blast player to make the MISL All-Star team. The Blast’s average attendance again rose, this time up to a franchise all-time high of 11,189, nearly filling the Baltimore Arena.

The 1984-1985 season in the MISL kicked off with less competition, the outdoor NASL had folded leaving the MISL as the premier professional soccer league in America. This also meant that the quality of players available to the MISL became better, and cut out the salary wars that had been fought with the NASL over players. The Blast were again in the Eastern Division, this time lining up alongside established MISL franchises (Cleveland Force, Pittsburgh Spirit, and St. Louis Steamers), as well as 3 new teams from the NASL (Chicago Sting. Minnesota Strikers, and the once powerful New York Cosmos.

The season began under the new ownership group headed by Nathan Scherr. Rodin stated that in the previous 2 season the Blast had lost $11,200,000. Scherr however quickly got used to the showmanship factor of the MISL by dressing up as the ‘Ghostbusters’ with Head Coach Kenny Cooper and GM Mitch Burke and sliding down a pole ss pre-match entertainment.

Before the season kicked off the Blast lost forward Joey Fink who had retired, and goalkeeper Keith Van Eron who signed for the Las Vegas Americans. They signed defender Bruce Savage who would play 8 seasons for the Blast and play 347 games.

During the season Scherr proved himself a hands-on owner, lambasting the bully-boy tactics the Cleveland Force used against Stan Stamenkovic.

The Blast topped the Eastern Division again, winning 32 of its 48 games, and losing 16. The Blast scored 252 goals and conceded only 190, for the best defence in the league. Winning the Division automatically out the Blast into the quarter finals of the playoffs where they easily beat the Los Angeles Lazers over 3 games 4-3, 12-3 and 5-4. Into the semi finals against the Cleveland Force, the Blast won 4 of the 7 game series, losing only to get into the MISL Championship Final for the 3rd season in a row. They were beaten over only 5 games of the 7 game series by the San Diego Sockers, the same teamed who had beaten them in the final 2 years previously. They lost the opening 2 games 5-4 and 7-3, then won the 3rd 10-6, before losing the final two 14-2 and 5-3.

The Blast had joint leading goal scorers, Yugoslav Stan Stamenkovic, and naturalized Englishman Paul Kitson with 39 goals apiece. Stamenkovic was the team’s leading assist maker with 52, and the leading points scorer with 91. The Blast’s Scott Manning was voted the MISL’s ‘Goalkeeper of the Year’. Manning and defender Mike Stankovic made the MISL All-Star team. The teams average attendance was 11,051.

The 1985-86 season began with the Blast again in the Eastern Division. The New York Cosmos had folded during the previous season, and the St. Louis Steamers had moved to the Western Division. To replace them the Dallas Sidekicks had been drafted in. The MISL had also signed a deal with ESPN for 15 regular season MISL games to be televised nationwide.

Prior to the season defender and ex All-Star, Heinz Wirtz was sold to the Chicago Sting for $5,000 after 151 games and 82 goals. Midfielder Pat Ercoli left and joined the Cleveland Force after 170 games and 112 goals. Goalkeeper Keith Van Eron was re-signed from the defunct Las Vegas Americans after 1 season away. The Blast was looking to reduce the roster by 4 to 18 players. The Blast signed Cypriot player Yilmaz Orhan, however they had to wait for him as he was serving a 4 month prison sentence for drink-driving. Antonio Carbognani signed a one year deal worth $40,000.
Also during the season Scherr brought a lawsuit against former owner Bernie Rodin over $55,000 interest charges on the sale of the Blast.

After 3 years of success the Blast only just made the playoffs. They finished a disappointing 4th in the Eastern Division, winning and losing 24 games of their 48 game schedule. They scored 211 and conceded 201 goals, and barely pipped the Chicago Sting to the playoffs by 1 game. They went out of the playoffs at the first hurdle, the quarter finals, losing to the Cleveland Force.

Stan Stamenkovic was again the team’s leader, scoring the most goals (37), registering the most assists (44), and scoring the most points (81). Keith Van Eron was voted ‘Goalkeeper of the Year’ in the MISL, but the Blast placed no players on the MISL All-Star team. Their average attendance was decreasing but remained high at 10,189.

The 1986-1987 season saw the Blast compete in an almost unchanged Eastern Division, with only the expansion New York Express replacing the folded Pittsburgh Spirit. The Express proved disaster however and folded after only 26 games of the 52 game schedule.

Ex-Player Dan Counce was named the Blast’s Assistant General Manager, and ex-player Jim Pollihan was named as Assistant Coach.

Before the season English born defender Paul Kitson left after 3 seasons, 129 games and 94 goals. He signed for the Los Angeles Lazers. Kitson had fallen out of favour the season before, when after being benched in a game against his new team, and then he’d turned up late for training. Replacing him came English ford Billy Ronson. His signing was rare for an indoor soccer team as he was signed directly from outdoors professional football in England, Ronson having played for Blackpool the previous season. Also signing was NASL scoring legend Paul Child, who signed after the Pittsburgh Spirit had folded.

During the season the Blast traded Franz Mathieu and Ernie Buriano to the Chicago Sting for indoor legend Drago Dumbovic.

The season saw a return to form of the Baltimore Blast, finishing 2nd behind the Cleveland Force. They won 33 and lost 19 of their 52 games, scoring 239 and conceding 201. They again went out in the first round of the playoffs, losing over 5 games to the eventual champions, the Dallas Sidekicks.

Bruce Savage was voted as the ‘Defender of the Year’ in the MISL, and was placed on the MISL All-Star Team. The average attendance dropped again, down to 9,936. The franchise reputedly lost $1,000,000 during the season.

The 1987-1988 season saw the MISL teams play a record 56 game regular season. The Blast were in a smaller Eastern Division, alongside the Chicago Sting, Cleveland Force, Dallas Sidekicks, and the Minnesota Strikers. The Strikers limped into the season, and were originally due to sit it out due to their finances. The league also celebrated signing a 2 year TV deal with FNN/SCORE, which included a Friday game of the week, the playoffs, and the MISL Championship Final.

Before the season the Blast lost defender Mike Stankovic to the Wichita Wings after 212 games and 120 goals. Also leaving were forward Dave MacWilliams, who signed for the Chicago Sting after 162 games and 115 goals. They acquired polish defender Helmut Dudek from the Minnesota Strikers for future considerations. In the draft the blast acquired David Nakhid as 1st pick.

The Blast qualified for the playoffs, finishing a lowly 4th out of their 5 game Division. They won 25 of their games and lost 31, scoring 235 and conceding 249. They fell to their Division winners Minnesota Strikers in the 1st round of the playoffs to end another disappointing season. Their average attendance dropped again, down to 8,221 fans.

The 1988-1989 MISL season was greatly weakened after 5 franchises folded after the 1987-1988 season. The teams had begun a salary war with the rival AISA/NPSL, which caused a number of franchises to over-extend themselves financially, leading to many casualties. The MISL was re-organized into a single division comprising only 7 teams. The Blast lined up against the Dallas Sidekicks, Kansas City Comets, Los Angeles Lazers, San Diego Sockers, Tacoma Stars, and the Wichita Wings.

The Blast lost Stan Stamenkovic, who retired and moved back to Yugoslavia to open a pizza parlour. He had played 179 games and scored 130 goals. Also retiring was goalkeeper Keith Van Eron. In two spells with the Blast he played a total of 165 games. In the 199=88 draft the Blast chose Mike Agnew as their 1st choice (4th overall). Other draft picks included defender Mark Mettrick.

During the season the Blast featured in an indoor exhibition against the touring Lokomotiv Moscow, beating the Russians 8-4.

After 2 years of disappointing regular season the Blast turned it around in 1988-1989 to top the regular standings. After 48 games, they had won 29 and lost 19, scoring 215 and conceding 208. They went straight into the Semi-finals of the playoffs where they dispatched the Wichita Wings over the 7 game series, ending it with a crushing 11-1 victory.

The final was for the 3rd time against the San Diego Sockers, and for the 3rd time they lost. They won the 1st 4-3 in overtime, before losing the second in overtime again 5-4. The Sockers won the next two 5-2 and 4-3, but managed to claw back in the next two winning 6-3 and 7-0. The decider went down to the wire but the Sockers triumped 6-5.

Canadian Dominic Mobilio was the team’s leading goal scorer with 36, South African David Byrne registered most assists with 29, and Canuck Carl Valentine scored the most points overall with 57. In the end of season awards Kenny Cooper was voted ‘Coach of the Year’, defender Rusty Troy was ‘Rookie of the Year’, and midfielder Dominic Mobilio won ‘Newcomer of the Year’. Strangely given the award winners the two players the Blast placed on the MISL All-Star team were goalkeeper Scott Manning, and defender Bruce Savage. The Blast’s average attendance fell again, despite their successful season, to 8,170. The franchise lost around $1,000,000 during the season.

The 1989-90 season saw the MISL revert back to two separate divisions, both comprising 4 teams. The Blast were placed in the Eastern, lining up against the expansion Cleveland Crunch, the Kansas City Comets, and the Wichita Wings.

The ownership changed again, with Nathan Scherr selling his interest to Ed Hale for $700,000 ($2.200,000 less than Scherr paid for it in 1984) on the 16th September 1989. Ed Hale was involved in shipping, containers, and haulage. He said he was purchasing the team to keep them in Baltimore and to show the NFL that Baltimore deserved an American football team too. Hale had been trying to bring the NFL to Baltimore since the Colts had left in 1983. Hale said he was prepared to lose money for 3 seasons. Mitch Burke left his position as General Manager and was replaced by Stan White.

The 1989-1990 season saw the return of defender Mike Stankovic after one season with the Wichita Wings. He arrived in a trade alongside Peter Ward that took Brazilian forward Keder, and South African forward David Byrne to Wichita.

During the season Ed Hale was named on the MISL’s management committee.

The Blast topped the Eastern Division after the 52 game regular season, winning 32 and losing 20. They scored a season league high 231 goals, and conceded only 191. Winning their division placed them directly into the Semi-finals of the playoffs where they easily dispatched the Kansas City Comets, and put them into the MISL Championship Series.

For the 4th time, they met the all-powerful San Diego Sockers in the final, and again they were to come up short. They won the first game of the series 7-4 which gave them hope, before losing the next three games 4-3, 5-2 and 4-1. Needing to win to keep in contention, they scraped a 3-2 win, but lost the series in the next game, losing 6-4.

Dominic Mobilio was the team’s leading goal scorer and points scorer, with 41 and 61 respectively. Fellow Canadian Carl Valentine registered the most assists with 34. Despite reaching the final their players won no awards, and no player was placed on the MISL All-Star team. Their average attendance rose slightly, up to 8,530. The Blast reputedly lost $1,100,000 this season.

The 1990-1991 MISL rebranded as the MSL (Major Soccer League). A 9 game deal was signed with ESPN to televise the games. The MSL retained all the same teams as the season before, and no changes were made to the divisions. Despite this show of stability a lot of the franchises were struggling financially after the bidding war with the NPSL. Each team’s salary cap was limited to $630,000.

Before the season General manager Stan white resigned to pursue other business opportunities , and his duties were mostly taken over by the owner Ed Hale. Ex-player and Director of Marketing John Borozzi took over the role and was also named as Vice President. Kenny Cooper was named as President as well as fulfilling his Head Coach role. Drew Forrester was appointed assistant GM, replacing ex-player Dan Counce. Assistant Coach Jim Pollihan quit in order to become Head Coach at the Harrisburg Heat in the NPSL.

During the season veteran Tim Wittman injured his back, and had to sign a special amendment to his $52,000 a year contract, which meant he wasn’t paid during his injury lay-off. Also during the season English midfielder Billy Ronson spoke out about the stay-away fans, and the discrepancy between those who attend the promotions and those who actually attend the games. One reason given for this was the state of the Baltimore Arena. Hale had plans to build a new 20,000 capacity arena on Timonium racecourse, however what type of arena this would be, would be dependent on if he was granted an NFL franchise. They also offered fans who attended the game against the Kansas City Comets free tickets for the next home game against the Tacoma Stars.

Hale was also fined 1,000 for having a go at referee Toros Kibritjian, suggesting he retire. The referee had reported the Blast to the league about the state of their playing surface., which ended up with the Blast spending $30,000 on upgrading it. Hale also had a feud running with Cleveland Crunch owner George Hoffman, Hoffman had said some uncomplimentary things about the Blast after his Crunch side had beaten them 11-2. Hale also got involved in a feud with Baltimore broadcaster Tom Davis, who had compared him to Baltimore Colts Head Coach Robert Irsay. Irsay was thought to have been a “cheap” owner. Mid season the Blast visited the UK and played against Oldham Athletic in an exhibition, winning 6-1.

During the season Hale and MISL commissioner Earl Foreman began negotiations with the NPSL with regards to a merger. This eventually came to nothing. Also due to their poor play during the season Hale was forced to defend Kenny Cooper. He also expressed a desire to have more Baltimore natives on the roster for the 1991-1992 season. To keep his run of feuds going Hale also fell out with Tim Wittman. Reportedly at a team meeting in Hale’s office in March, Wittman stormed out, cursing at Hale. Hale apparently thought Wittman was too concerned with “scoring points”.

For the first time in their history the Baltimore Blast failed to make the playoffs, finished 3rd in the Eastern Division after 52 games. They won 21 and lost 31 of their games, scoring 298 and conceding 315. Their average attendance dropped to an all-time low of 7,432. The Blast reputedly lost around $674,000.

Due to budgetary concerns the Blast had to lay off 3 of its front office. Art Sinclair, voice of the Blast since the start, and the Director of Sales and Corporate broadcasting, was laid off (only a year after quitting his day job to join the Blast full-time), PR Director Tim Donelli, and Leah Miller. Also during the close season the owners had approached the players trying to get them to reduce the salary cap to $525,000 per team (one year after the players had agreed to lower it to $630,000, with a collective bargaining deal and no morefuture cuts for 3 years. This was rejected by the players union.

For the 1991-1992 season, which was to be the last of the MISL/MSL, the league decided to reduce the schedule to 40 games to reduce costs (up to a potential $750,000). This idea was put forward by Blast owner Ed Hale Also the league concluded a new collective bargaining agreement with the players to keep salaries in check. Despite this the NPSL was still the league on the up, and after the Kansas City Comets folded the league had to go back to a single division set-up. Ominously a lot of players were jumping ship to the NPSL, which although a lower level league, was financially stable. Tragedy struck the Blast in the off season, when defender and 5-year veteran Mike Reynolds suffered a stroke whilst making an appearance with 5 other Blast members at the Jessup Pre-Release Clinic, part of the Maryland correctional system. He briefly regained consciousness before passing away. The Blast retired Reynolds’ jersey after the event. They also wore black armbands throughout the 1991-1992 season.

Before the season Blast veteran Tim Wittman left to join the San Diego Sockers after a team record 332 games and 168 goals His run-in with Hale was the reason for the trade, and he signed a one-year contract worth $45,000. Wittman also had to file a grievance against the Blast in an attempt to get $6,250 in back pay. This was in relation to the back injury he had the previous season where he wasn’t paid despite being under contract. Legendary goalkeeper Scott Manning left to join the Wichita Wings after 193 games, but was upset that he had to learn from a friend that he’d been released. In another surprising move, forward Dale Mitchell was released.

General Manager and Vice President John Borozzi quit to become Deputy Commissioner at the MISL. His GM duties were taken on by his assistant, Drew Forrester, and the new Vice President of Sales & Marketing Rob Schraf.

During the season the Blast acquired Nigerian forward Jean Harbor, for his first season indoors. Harbor took up a leave of absence from his job as a chemist to take up his position on the Blast roster. He had to work his 2 week’s notice before joining up with the team. Midfielder Waad Hirmez filed a grievance against the Baltimore Blast for them releasing him whilst he had a knee injury. He said that this violated the collective bargaining agreement between the player’s association and the owners. Assistant GM Drew Forrester said that after an MRI scan he was fit enough to play.

In January 1992 Ed Hale and Kenny Cooper had papers filed against them (along with the Cleveland Crunch) charging them with unfair labour practices concerning their attempts to lower the salary cap in the summer. They allegedly interrogated players and created the impression of surveillance regarding which players continued to oppose a reduction in the salary cap. Players Bernie James and Mike Sweeney were convinced that they had been blackballed after the July salary cap, and were told that Kenny Cooper were responsible. The matter was taken to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), who found no wrongdoing by Cooper, Hale or the Crunch. NLRB Regional Director Louis D’Amico said that “there was no evidence whatsoever”. Hale threatened action against the players responsible.

During the season they again travelled to England, beating Sheffield Wednesday 8-3 in a match played by MSL rules.

The Blast finished the 40 game season placing 4th out of 7 teams and qualifying for the playoffs. The Blast won 19 and lost 21 of their regular season games, scoring 213 and conceding 230. They went out in the semi-finals of the playoffs to their old nemesis the San Diego Sockers. Kenny Cooper had offered his resignation if they failed to beat the Sockers, but this was turned down by Ed Hale. Dominic Mobilio led the team in all areas, scoring 45 goals, making 20 assists and scoring 65 points. The average attendance dropped slightly again down to 8,206.

At the end of the season the MSL and all of its teams folded (apart from the Cleveland Crunch and Dallas Sidekicks who joined the rival NPSL). Baltimore was not long without a professional indoor soccer team, as the expansion Baltimore Spirit joined the NPSL ready for the 1992-1993 season. Head Coach Kenny Cooper, who had been instrumental in the founding of the Baltimore Spirit joined as Head Coach, and a number of Blast players followed suit. Joe Koziol, Doug Neely, Mike Stankovic, Rusty Troy, and goalkeeper Cris Vaccaro all moved to the Spirit.

Over the 12 season history of the Baltimore Blast, they played 576 regular season games, winning 327 and losing 249. They scored 2,778 goals and conceded 2,609.
In the playoffs they played 90 games, winning 49 and losing 41. They scored 444 goals and conceded 420. They won one MISL championship in the 1983-1984 season, lost the championship series 4 times (each time to the San Diego Sockers). They also won 4 divisional titles.

Bruce Savage holds the all-time appearance record for the Blast with 347 games. Tim Wittman holds the goals scored record with 168. Dave MacWilliams holds the Blast record for playoff games played and playoff points scored with 47 and 73 respectively.
Their average attendance over 12 seasons was 9,146.


5 thoughts on “Baltimore Blast (1980-1992)

  1. This is some interesting history that I didn’t even know about. I have one correction and hopefully 2. I know after the MSL folded the Cleveland Crunch and Wichita Wings joined the NPSL and the San Diego Sockers and Dallas Sidekicks joined the CISL.

    Did the Blast really lose $11.2 million in 2 years before Scherr bought the team or should that be $1.2 million?

    • Probably should have been $1.2 million, but what’s ten million dollars between friends eh?
      Thanks for commenting, didn’t think anyone had read any of my slapdash blog posts. I was going to work through various teams and their histories but it kind of tailed off. Might do a few more soon if i have the time.

  2. Pingback: baltimore blast | IPA Forum

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