Although most fans say no, he's no foe of the rhino Former team owner would give it a go

August 14, 1993|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Staff Writer

At last, a friend of the rhino.

After listening to critics who oppose Rhinos as a name for a Baltimore NFL team, George Trump, former owner of the extinct Hanover Rhinos, is mounting support for the maligned herbivore.

"I don't think they would say a word if they were facing a rhino in the wild," said Trump, who has hung up his horns and now owns the Opera House Printing Co. in Westminster.

He was one of the founders of the North Carroll Rhinos, a sandlot football team that began play in 1952 at the old North Carroll High School in Greenmount, between Hampstead and Manchester, in Carroll County.

The team played regular Saturday night games and, in 1969, RTC joined the semipro Freestate League. The players played at high school fields and public parks against the likes of the Sparrows Point Steelers, Waverly Longhorns and Towson Titans. In 1972 the Rhinos, with the aid of a couple of paid players and coaches, won the league championship.

The next year, the herd migrated to Hanover, Pa., and became theHanover Rhinos of the Interstate League, which included the Chambersburg, Pa., Cardinals, West Virginia Red Raiders, Cumberland Colts, Carroll Chargers and Frederick Falcons.

The team lost twice, in 1975 and 1976, to the Baltimore Eagles for the championship played at Patterson Park in Baltimore. The last loss was especially disappointing; the Eagles went on to an "east-west" game against the Los Angeles Rhinos.

The league denied a request by the team to move to Towson the next year, saying it would infringe on Eagles support. The team then settled in Bel Air as the Harford Rhinos, but folded after a few exhibition games. The league lasted a few more years before also fading.

Trump's players included some who didn't make the cut for NFL teams, as well as amateurs who just liked playing the game. Their uniforms borrowed the color scheme of the San Francisco 49ers, with gold helmets accented by red rhinos. Their motto: "Horn 'em Rhinos."

"It's a wonderful name for a football team. I wouldn't want it for a basketball or baseball team. . . . They are ferocious and mean. There are no animals in the jungle they would run from," Trump said.

Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass and representatives of Malcolm Glazer, the two investors who would like to own an expansion team if one isawarded to Baltimore, have tentatively selected Rhinos as a name. But there was an outcry from fans, and they have agreed to consider ideas submitted to a Baltimore Sun reader survey, which begins tomorrow.

Baltimore is competing with St. Louis, Memphis, Tenn., and Charlotte, N.C., for one of two franchises to be awarded in October.

Trump is defensive of the Rhinos and says he is going to collect signatures of support sent to the Baltimore Rhinos Fan Club, 140 E. Main St., Westminster, Md., 21157. He will forward the signatures to the owners.

Even if he loses, he will support the team. He already has bought club seats for the proposed stadium and intends to wear his Rhinos jacket when he goes. "I had a big dream that someday I could make it big like Mr. Weinglass and have the Rhinos in Baltimore," he said.

NAME THAT TEAM

Fans don't seem to like the Rhinos, the tentative choice for the name of a Baltimore expansion NFL team. So The Baltimore Sun will survey readers for their ideas and pass them on to the prospective owners, who have agreed to consider them. Details on how to participate will be in tomorrow's editions.

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