Friday, July 31, 2015

1937-38 Columbus Athletic Supply (NBL)

1937-38 COLUMBUS ATHLETIC SUPPLY
NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE
Eastern Division
Finished: 3-6 .333, 4th place


Columbus Athletic Supply only managed a single win in the 1937-38 season. They finished 1-12 and in last place in the Eastern Division.


  • Head Coach: Harold "Cookie" Cunningham (February 4, 1905 - November 3, 1995) Also played. See below.
PLAYERS: 
  • Clyde Anton
Biography

  • Pete Basich (June 25, 1915 - September 27, 1981)
Biography

  • Bernie Berens (February 26, 1913 - May 29, 1979)
Biography

  • Cookie Cunningham (February 4, 1905 - November 3, 1995)
Biography

  • Denny Elliott (February 18, 1914 - December 25, 1998)
Biography

  • Herb Hutchisson (April 19, 1915 - August 14, 1968)
Biography

  • Buck Lamme (July 2, 1905 -September 4, 1957)
Biography

  • George "Sam" Loucks (July 9, 1915 - August 4, 1992)
Biography

  • McConnell
Biography

  • Miller
Biography

  • Elwood Pitzer (November 3, 1910 - August 22, 2001)
Biography

  • Eugene Scholz (September 28, 1917 - March 9, 2005)
Biography

  • Jack Sullivan
Biography

  • Norman Wagner (February 5, 1912 - April 22, 1998) 
Biography

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

1937-38 Pittsburgh Pirates (NBL)

1937-38 PITTSBURGH PIRATES
NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE
Eastern Division
Finished: 8-5 .615, 3rd place

The franchise would last one more season in the NBL. Meyer "Buck" Gefsky (1900-1976) was the owner of the team, and he was also the league president. Gefsky has a successful Pittsburgh-area banker with Washington Trust Company as well as a former semi-pro player and basketball coach.



  • Head Coach: Dudey Moore (April 5, 1910 - April 8, 1984) Also played. See below
PLAYERS: 
  • Herbert Bonn (July 1914 - April 7, 1943)
Biography

  • Hyman Ginsburg (March 23, 1914 - March 2, 1986)
Biography

  • William Jesko (December 24, 1915 - October 21, 1961)
Biography

  • Ed Kweller (January 27, 1915 - April 1, 2003)
Biography

  • Tim Lawry (August 1, 1911 - September 19, 1999)
Biography

  • Walt Miller (July 20, 1915 - January 21, 2001)
Biography

  • Donald "Dudey" Moore (April 5, 1910 - April 8, 1984)
Biography

  • Martin Reiter (August 25, 1911 - February 6, 1986)
Biography

  • Ted Rigg (June 7, 1913 - January 1, 2002)
Biography

  • Donald Smith (October 8, 1910 - January 27, 1994)
Biography

  • Edward Wisbar (May 3, 1916 - April 9, 1967)
Biography

Monday, July 20, 2015

1937-38 Buffalo Bisons (NBL)

1937-38 BUFFALO BISONS
NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE
Eastern Division
Finished: 3-6 .333, 4th place


Due to the fact that teams were left to make their own schedule, Buffalo, formed from the merging of the Bisons from the Midwest Conference and another Buffalo professional team, played only nine league games. This was their only season in the NBL.


  • Head coach: Alfred "Allie" Heerdt (August 9, 1881 - February 4, 1958)
Heerdt was a member of the Buffalo Germans, a touring pro basketball team that won 111 consecutive games in 1907-1908. The Germans joined the ABL in 1925 with Heerdt as coach. Heerdt wound up being the coach, owner and GM for the Buffalo Bisons, who joined the Midwest Basketball Conference in 1935. The Bisons then were a charter member of the NBL. He also coached at Niagara and the University of Buffalo

PLAYERS:  
  • Daniel Carnevale (February 8, 1918 - December 29, 2005)
Biography

  • Al Cervi (February 12, 1917 - November 9, 2009)
Biography

  • Paul Coleman (September 25, 1915 - June 14, 1995)
Biography

  • Stan Jackson
Biography

  • John Lenhart (December 4, 1915 - September 24, 1991)
Biography

  • Edmund Malanowicz (December 30, 1910 - September 5, 1967)
Biography

  • Neal O'Donnell (April 17, 1914 - December 27, 1996)
Biography

  • Jim O'Donnell (December 3, 1912 - December 26, 1984)
Biography

  • Stan Raiman (March 22, 1914 - January 30, 1997)
Biography

  • Bello Snyder (February 7, 1912 - May 15, 1998)
Biography

Friday, July 17, 2015

1937-38 Fort Wayne General Electrics (NBL)

1937-38 FORT WAYNE GENERAL ELECTRICS
NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE
Western Division
Finished: 13-7 .650, 3rd place

This was their only season in the NBL.existence.



  • Head Coach: Byron Evard (March 27, 1908 - December 22, 1983) Also played. See below.
PLAYERS: 
  • Willie Adams (October 2, 1911 - September 30, 1992)
Biography

  • Scott Armstrong (October 12, 1913 - August 20, 1997)
Biography

  • Byron Evard (March 27, 1908 - December 22, 1983)
Biography

  • Jim Hilgemann (December 22, 1916 - August 28, 1967)
Biography

  • Ife Holmes (August 15, 1905 - January 27, 1985)
Biography

  • Bud Lindberg (December 8, 1911 - February 1, 1988)
Biography

  • Bart Quinn (February 19, 1917 - March 3, 2013)
Biography

  • Preston Slack (December 28, 1908 - January 25, 1993)
Biography

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

1937-38 Whiting Ciesar All-Americans (NBL)

1937-38 WHITING CIESAR ALL-AMERICANS
NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE
Western Division
Finished: 12-3 .800, 2nd place

Western Division Championship - Lost to Oshkosh, 2-0 



Whiting Ciesar All-Americans (located in Indiana) went 12-3 and finished second in the Western Division. They lost to Oshkosh in the semi-finals. The team was known as Hammond after this season.




  • Head Coach: "Whitey" Wickhorst (November 1, 1904 - October 24, 1992)
Paul Michael "Mike" or "Whitey" Wickhorst started as a player for the Chicago Bruins for a time, and was a player/coach for the Whiting Macks prior to taking the helm for the All-Americans. He stayed on as coach for three seasons there.

PLAYERS: 
  • Fred Arndt (February 24, 1917- October 9, 2002)
Biography

  • Ed Campion (December 19, 1915 - January 10, 2005)
Biography

  • Marty Cullen
Biography

  • Kenneth Gunning (June 4, 1914 - April 2, 1991)
Biography

  • Bill Haarlow (May 5, 1913 - November 21, 2003)
Biography

  • Vince McGowan (August 13, 1913 - April 4, 1982)
Biography

  • Bill Perigo (September 17, 1911 - February 7, 1990)
Biography

  • Joe Sotak (February 9, 1914 - December 11, 2007)
Biography

  • Joe Stack (November 5, 1912 - October 1954 )
Biography

  • John Wooden (October 14, 1910 - June 4, 2010)
Biography

  • Willis Young (October 27, 1911 - April 3, 1981)
Biography


Note: Arndt, Cullen and Young do not appear on Whiting Rosters in some encyclopedias

Friday, July 10, 2015

1937-38 Oshkosh All-Stars (NBL)

1937-38 OSHKOSH ALL-STARS
NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE
Western Division
Finished: 12-2 .857, 1st place

Western Division Championship - Defeated Whiting Ciesar All-Americans, 2-0 
NBL Championship - Lost to Akron Goodyears, Oshkosh, 2-1 

Managed by Lon Darling (c.1903-1951), Oshkosh had been a successful barnstorming professional team prior to the formation of the NBL. They won their division in the inaugural season, but fell to Akron in championship.

  • Head coach: George Hotchkiss (July 1, 1906- December 25, 1989)
Hotchkiss was a guard at Wisconsin and played for Oshkosh before becoming their coach in 1936. Oshkosh joined the NBL and Hotchkiss was renewed as coach in October of 1937, for the inaugural season of the NBL. He coached Oshkosh for their first four seasons in the NBL.

PLAYERS: 
  • Ray Adams (September 28, 1912 - August 26, 1992)
Biography

  • Leroy Edwards (April 11, 1914 - August 25, 1971)
Biography

  • Ray Hamann (August 19, 1911 - May 7, 2005)
Biography

  • Frank Linskey (August 18, 1913 - July 3, 1999)
Biography

  • Ed Mullen (March 9, 1913 - January 10, 1988)
Biography

  • Felix Preboske (January 21, 1914-February 22, 1994)
Biography

  • Ed Stege (September 4, 1913 - March 24, 1985)
Biography

  • George Svendsen (March 22, 1913 - August 6, 1995)
Biography

  • Augie Vander Meulen (November 6, 1909 - December 2, 1993)
Biography

  • Herm Witasek (October 16, 1913 - July 25, 1963)
Biography

Monday, July 6, 2015

1937-38 Akron Goodyear Wingfoots (NBL)

1937-38 AKRON GOODYEAR WINGFOOTS
NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE
Eastern Division
Finished: 13-5 .722, 2nd place

Eastern Division Championship - Defeated Akron Wingfoots, 2-0 
NBL Champions - Defeated Oshkosh, 2-1


The Akron Goodyear Wingfoots were formed in 1918 by employees at Goodyear. As a corporate/recreational team, they also served to promote their shoe, the Wingfoot, one of the first rubber-soled shoes. Along with Akron Firestone and other AAU teams, they joined to form the NBL in 1937. They went 13-5 and finished in second place in the East Division, one game behind Akron Goodyear. They went on to defeat Firestone in the playoffs, and then defeated Oshkosh to win the first NBL title.


  • Head Coach: Cliff "Lefty" Byers (September 6, 1905 – May 25, 2000)
Played basketball at Kansas Sate. Not sure at all about the birth/death dates. Only found one source (book) but no SSDI entry or grave or obit.

PLAYERS: 
  • Wes Bennett (March 31, 1913 - August 20, 2002)
Biography

  • Charles Bloedorn (May 28, 1912 - May 20, 1998)
Biography

  • Robert Cope (September 3, 1911 - June 16, 1995)
Biography

  • Wilson Fitts (June 16, 1915 - February 23, 2005)
Biography

  • Leroy Lins (June 21, 1913 - August 12, 1986)
Biography

  • John McAdams (April 15, 1912 - October 18, 1975)
Biography

  • Dean Mealy (May 7, 1915 - April 28, 1973)
Biography

  • Raymond Morstadt (March 10, 1913 - July 5, 1965)
Biography

  • Russell Ochsenhirt (April 16, 1912 - October 4, 2002)
Biography

  • Malcolm Rush (April 2, 1909 - January 1, 1989)
Biography

  • Charley Shipp (December 3, 1913 - March 21, 1988)
Biography

  • Chelso Tamagno (March 20, 1912 - April 15, 1986)
Biography

1937-38 Akron Firestone Non-Skids (NBL)

1937-38 AKRON FIRESTONE NON-SKIDS
NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE
Eastern Division
Finished: 14-4 .778, 1st place


Eastern Division Championship - Lost to Akron Goodyear, 2-0



One of the earlier industrial teams of the era, the Akron Firestone Non-Skids were formed in the early 1930's and played in an earlier incarnation of the NBL, and then the Midwest Basketball Conference, before joining the true NBL in the inaugural 1937-38 season. The Non-Skids won the East division with a 14-4 record but lost in the opening round of the playoffs to their Akron counterparts, the Goodyear Wingfoots.

  • Head Coach: Paul Sheeks (October 18, 1889 – September 17, 1968) 

Known as "Pepper," Sheeks was an Akron-area athlete, playing for Akron in the NFL in 1922 and '23. He played college football and basketball at the University of South Dakota. 

PLAYERS: 
  • Alfred Bonniwell (October 6, 1911-March 8, 2002)
Biography

  • Soup Cable (April 4, 1913-February 19, 1995)
Biography

  • Duck Dowell (Aug 14, 1912-November 27, 2003)
Biography

  • Mally Johnson (February 4, 1908 - September 16, 1969)
Biography

  • Seward Leeka (September 15, 1907-October 11, 1985)
Biography

  • Jack Ozburn (January 4, 1913-February 14, 1969)
Biography

  • Bill Reeves (December 5, 1904-December 6, 1983)
Biography

  • Jack Shaffer (c.1908 - June 17, 1963)
Biography

  • Milas Shoun (October 4, 1904-October 10, 1983)
Biography

  • Paul Tobin (November 23, 1909-September 6, 2003)
Biography
Thomas Joseph and Annie Elizabeth Tobin

  • Warren Whitlinger (April 4, 1914-April 30, 2012)
Biography

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Introduction

I was doing some research on the early days of professional basketball, and found that the information available is pretty sketchy. I was able to find and identify players who were previously unknown, and figured I would throw up this blog to track my trials and errors, as well as allow other out there to help in research or maybe even throw a hint here or there or fill in some holes.

I am mainly looking at the National Basketball League (which commenced operations in 1937-38), the Basketball Association of America (which started in 1946-47 and became the NBA when it picked up teams from the NBL for the 1949-50 season), the NBA and ABA. Maybe later I will venture off to other early professional leagues, but for now, I am sticking to the NBA pipeline. Think of this as a very low-end version of SABR for basketball.

The NBL was formed from the remnants of the Midwest Basketball Conference, which was a loose assortment of Industrial teams. A lot of corporations had semi-pro teams for baseball and basketball, and competed with others in their region. Think of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team, if that helps the anology. There were a few attempts at organizing an honest-to-goodness professional league at various points in the sports history. There was an NBL the operated in 1926-27, again in 1929-30, and even one more time in 1932-33. The Midwest Basketball conference was formed in 1935-36, and after two seasons, some of the teams left to form the National Basketball League. Comprised of teams owned by three Midwest based corporations (General Electric, Goodyear and Firestone), they were the largest and most successful (relative term) pro hoops league until 1946. In late 1946, NHL team owners were looking at ways to get their arenas used on nights when there were no hockey games. Their decision: basketball. So five of the six NHL team owners (Detroit, Chicago, New York, Boston and Toronto) created basketball teams, and added six other cities (Washington, Providence, St Louis, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) to form the BAA. By the end 1948-49 season, the NBL was on the verge of disintegrating due to the much-more successful BAA. So for the 1949-50 season, the leagues merged. (A more accurate description would be that the NBL folded and the BAA picked up the more successful franchises.) They changed their name to the National Basketball Association and the rest is history.

 I am using various sources to start with, like basketball-reference.com and justsportsstats.com. They are good with a lot of starting information, but some errors are to be found as well as blank spots not filled in. Those pre-1950 players can be pretty tricky to locate, but not impossible. A lot of early teams were local, so most Fort Wayne players, for instance, lived or went to college near Fort Wayne.

So as I said, I will explain my research and logic, and if anyone can confirm or refute anything I wrote, please feel free to add information. This is a community effort. Include links or sources, though, for information, if available.