1948-1949 American Basketball League
Wilkes-Barre, a powerhouse team, won ABL Crown in 1949
1948-1949 American Basketball League
Wilkes-Barre repeat of its championship performance was not really surprising seeing how they had a few of the top scorers in the ABL. This league clearly was one of the highest scoring leagues in the nation during this time period, the late 1940s. Dick Holub, of the Patterson Crescents, shattered ABL scoring records with a resounding 20.4 points per game average.
The ABL was located in the Eastern part of the U.S.
The Bridgeport Newfield Steelers of Connecticut were added to the league and finished tied with the Patterson Crescents of New Jersey for 4th place. Both teams put on a respectable showing for their fans and posted 24-17 records. In a playoff for fourth place Patterson defeated Bridgeport 99-80.
1949 Final Standings ABL
Wilkes Barre Barons 29-12… Scranton Miners 26-15, 3GB … Trenton Tigers 25-16, 4 GB… Patterson Crescents 24-17, 5GB… Bridgeport Newfield Steelers 24-17, 5 GB… Hartford Hurricanes 13-26, 15 GB… Brooklyn Gothams 10-30, 18.5 GB… Philadelphia SPHAs 8-26, 22.5 GB
1949 American Basketball League Playoffs
Wilkes-Barre defeated Trenton 2 games to 0, and Scranton beat Patterson 2 games to 0, setting up a showdown between two Pennsylvania teams.
Wilkes-Barre won the Championship Series 3 games to 2.
1948-1949 Leading Scorers
Dick Holub, Patterson 835 points, 20.4 ppg in 41 games… Cas Ostrowski, Wilkes-Barre 751 points, 18.3 ppg in 41 games…
Bill Chanecka, Wilkes Barre 718 points, 18.0 ppg in 40 games
Mickey Homa, Bridgeport 705 points, 17.6 ppg in 40 games… Jack Hewson, Trenton 684 points, 19.0 ppg in 36 games… Henry Baietti, Brooklyn 640 points, 16.0 ppg in 40 games
Bill Zirkel, Bridgeport 596 points, 14.9 ppg in 40 games…
Ralph Kaplowitz, Hartford 570 points, 13.9 ppg in 41 games… Peter Pasko, Wilkes-Barre 526 points, 18.1 ppg in 29 games… Mike Wallace, Scranton 508 points, 12.4 ppg in 41 games
Pro Basketball History from basketballhistorian.com Archives
1948-1949 Rochester Royals
Won the West Division and posted the best record in the BAA
Rochester Royals 1949
Led by a group of aggressive front court players and
speedy sparkplugs in the backcourt, the Rochester Royals
won the Western Division of the Basketball Association of
America (BAA) in 1949. Led by center Arnie Risen and
forwards and guards Red Holzman, Bob Davies, Bobby
Wanzer and Fran Curran the Royals compiled the league’s
best regular season record 45-15 in 1948-1949, only to
lose to the George Mikan led Minneapolis Lakers in the
* Head Coach Les Harrison Rochester Royals 1948-1955 a
strong individual with a second sense of what his players could
and couldn’t do. Above all Les Harrison always took care of
his players. He seen to it that they went first class whenever
possible, traveling on Pullman cars and later on airplanes. In
seven of the 8 seasons his teams played well over .500, made the
playoffs every year and won the NBA Championship in 1950-51.
1948 Rochester Royals Leading Players
* Bob Wanzer, guard Rochester Royals was 6th in the league
in field goals with 202, and 3rd in the league in free throws
with 209 in 254 attempts, a .823 pct in 1948-49, and Bob
Wanzer was 10th in assists with 186. Started and played in
all 60 of the teams regular season games, averaging 10.2 ppg.
Bobby Wanzer played 10 seasons in the NBA, 1947-57, and was
chosen as an All Star for 5 straight seasons, 1952-56.
Bob Wanzer is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
* Arnie Risen, center Rochester Royals a 2nd team All Star in
1949, behind only legendary George Mikan. A very mobile
and exceptionally quick big center, 6 ft 9 inches, Arnie Risen
led the pro league in shooting pct in 1948-49 with .423 pct,
and was 4th in the league in scoring with 995 points, averaging
16.6 per game.
* Bob Davies, guard Rochester Royals led the BAA with
321 assists in 60 games, 5.4 per game, and was 7th in scoring
with 904 points, averaging 15.1 per game. Bob Davies was
rated the BAA top driving guard during the late 1940s. Played
10 season, all with the Rochester Royals 1945-1955. Led the
BAA in 1946-47 in free throw percentage with .783 making
130 of 166 attempts.
* Red Holtzman, forward/guard Rochester Royals one of the
leading players of the BAA. Although best remember as the
head coach of the NY Knicks, Red Holtzman played heads up
basketball, scoring 2166 career points, averaging over 7 ppg.
During this era the Rochester team played essentially a 3-guard
offense. A ‘play to win, team player’ Red Holtzman was an
important part of the Rochester Royals eight straight playoff
* Frannie Curran, forward Rochester Royals this was his first
season with the team, played rookie year, 1947-48, with Toledo.
Fundamentally a solid all around player, the 6 ft 175 lbs, Fran
Curran was drafted out of Notre Dame University. He played
two seasons with the Rochester squad, 1848-49, 1949-50, and
played in 6 playoff games. In the 1949-50 season Fran Curran
was 5th in the NBA in free throw percentage, sinking 199 of 241
attempts for a .826 pct.
Merging into the NBA 1953
Point shaving scandal taints basketball
Merging into the NBA 1953
The talk that dominated the lives of professional basketball players was about the smell of the point shaving scandal that rocked college basketball in 1951. Seven players on the City College of New York championship team were arrested for conspiring to fix games as well as players of other colleges.
The American Basketball League opened okay for the 1952-1953 season without incident. In October the Jersey City Titans, who had signed 3 players that the NBA banned, high scoring Alex Groza, Sherm White and Ralph Beard after a point shaving scandal applied to join the ABL. And, when
the Elmira Colonels signed former Kentucky University star center Bill Spivey, who also had been implicated in the scandal. The signed players quickly became a major issue for the remaining teams, as the ABL wanted to merge into the NBA, so New Jersey and Elmira (of NY) dropped out of the ABL.
1953 ABL Playoffs
The Wilkes-Barre Barrons, 20-11 for the regular season, defeated Elmira, 17-11, in a seven games series, 4 games to 3.
The Manchester British Americans, from Connecticut 19-9 for the regular season, defeated the Scranton Miners of PA 12-11,
in Game 1. After playing and losing Game 2, Manchester
protested the lost due to the fact that Scranton used Perry Del Purgatorio, who was just discharged from the military and who had not played in any games all season.
ABL president John O’Brien sided with Scranton because all the illegal signing were hurting the league, and so, asked Manchester to drop its protest. When they wouldn’t he ruled in Manchester’s favor and Scranton quit the league.
1953 ABL Championship
Manchester British Americans defeated Wilkes-Barre for
the 1953 ABL Title.
The next season, 1953-54, the ABL merged into the NBA.
Center 6 ft 6 inches 200 lbs Milwaukee Hawks 1951-1953,
Fort Wayne Pistons 1953-1957, New York Knicks, College
Brigham Young 1947-1951
An aggressive rebounder and shot blocker Mel Hutchins
was one of the leading players in the NBA during the 1950s.
The 6 ft 6 Mel Hutchins was high jumper and noted for
his great defensive games and rivalry against basketball legend
George Mikan and the Minneapolis Lakers.
A rookie sensation in 1951 with the Milwaukee Hawks of the
NBA, Mel Hutchins tied for the pro league in rebounds with a
career-high 880 in 66 games. Tied with Larry Foust of the
Fort Wayne Pistons.
In seven NBA seasons Mel Hutchins pulled down 4,186
rebounds and scored 16,574 points. His value to his team
shows by the fact, playing in center position
he helped the Fort Wayne Pistons to the NBA playoffs four
straight seasons, 1953-1957. Mel Hutchins playoff totals
include 11.7 ppg average in 27 games, an 8.8 rpg average.
Mel Hutchins career stats: 4851 points in 437 games, 11.1
ppg average, 4186 rebounds, 9.6 rpg average, 1298 assists.
Bio by basketballhistorian.com
1948-49 NBA All-Stars
The best basketball players of the day as chosen by a group of writers and broadcasters
NBA All-Stars 1948-1949
First Team NBA All-Stars
- George Mikan, Minneapolis Lakers Center
- Joe Fulks, Philadelphia 76ers Forward
- Bob Davies, Rochester Royals Guard
- Max Zaslofsky, Chicago Stags Guard
- Jim Pollard, Minneapolis Lakers Forward
Second Team NBA All-Stars
- Arnie Risen, Rochester Royals Center
- Bob Feerick, Washington Wizards Guard
- Horace Bones McKinney, Washington Wizards Forward
- Ken Sailors, Providence Steamrollers, Guard
- Johnny Logan, St Louis Hawks Guard
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