Early Professional Basketball - the Eastern Basket Ball League 1909
The original six-team league played mainly in the Philadelphia area and in Camden New Jersey. Basketball History
If one wants to keep an eye pointed towards early professional basketball history, the Eastern Basket Ball League has to be noted. This pro league was formed in 1909, six months after the Philadelphia Basket Ball League folded.
William J Scheffer, the president of the defunct Philadelphia League, got
together players and businessmen, mainly from the old league, who were eager to continue playing professionally and invest in teams and formed six teams.
Two of the six teams were holdovers from the Philadelphia League, the DeNeri Club of South Philadelphia and the Jasper Athlete Club from the Kensington section of Philadelphia. Joining the two were teams called the Sixth Regiment
from Philadelphia, the Reading Bears of PA, and the Trenton Potters and the Elizabeth Lizzies, both from New Jersey. A special playoff was played to determine the EBL champion.
Eastern League 1910 Final Standings
Trenton Potters tied with Reading Bears 20-10
Jasper Jewels 18-12… DeNeri 15-15… Sixth Regiment/Germantown 11-19
Princeton Tigers 6-17… Elizabeth Lizzies 0-7
Notes: Princeton from New Jersey replaced Elizabeth on December 18 of 1909 and the Sixth Regiment moved to Germantown (Section of Philadelphia) on January 4 1910.
Notes #2: The newly formed Eastern League financially had a very successful first season. Princeton hired some players from Paterson Crescents of the Hudson River League, and, the players played for both teams.
Eastern Basket Ball League 1910 Playoff :
The Trenton Potters won 3 straight over the Reading Bears
March 22 at Trenton defeated Reading 34-18
March 24 Trenton 29 Reading 24
March 25 at Trenton 33 Reading 24
1909-1910 Eastern League Scoring Leaders:
Harry Hough, Trenton, 520 points, 17.3 ppg, 92 FG, 336 FT in 30 games
Michael Wilson, DeNeri, 462 points, 15.4 ppg, 80 FG, 302 FT in 30 games
John Donohue, Jasper, 435 points, 15.0 ppg, 120 FG, 195 FT in 29 games
Howard Thomas, Germantown, 300 points, 10.7 ppg, 57 FG, 186 FT in 28 g
Ed Ferat, Reading, 295 points, 9.8 ppg, 79 Field Goals, 137 FT in 30 games
Hodge Roland, Reading, 264 points, 8.8 ppg, 79 FG, 106 FT in 30 games
Al Glassey, Germantown, 188 points, 6.3 ppg, 88 FG, 12 FT in 30 games
Charles Klein, Trenton, 180 points, 7.2 ppg, 90 FG. 0 FT in 25 games
John McNabb, Princeton, 160 points, 12.3 ppg, 38 FG, 84 FT in 13 games
John Featherstone, Jasper, 148 points, 5.1 ppg, 74 FG, 0 FT in 29 games
Philadelphia League 1904-1905, Central Basket Ball League 1906-1912, Eastern Basketball League 1909-1917
Pro Leagues Star Player prior to the start of the NBA
One of early pro basketball’s highest scorers, Bill Keenan led or was among the leaders in field goals made during his 14 year career with teams in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey – Conshohocken Giants of PA, East Liverpool Potters of Ohio, Johnstown Johnnies of PA, DeNeri of PA, Camden Alphas of NJ, Trenton Potters of NJ, and Greystock Greys of PA.
Our sports archives suggest teammates and opponents alike praised his highly competitive attitude.
In 1904-1905 season Bill Keenan played a major role in helping the Conshohocken Giants win the Philadelphia Basketball League Championship, finishing with a sterling 31-8 record. He led the league with 157 field goals and was the only player in the entire Philadelphia League score a field goal in every game – 39 games. After the end of the 1904-1905 season the Conshohocken team played games against leading independent pro teams in western PA and won 6 of 8 games.
Highly recruited by other leagues Bill Keenan signed and often times, if schedules permitted, played in two leagues at the same time. His name is listed often in the top 5 of field goals made or at the very least in the top 10.
Bill Keenan stats
Philadelphia Basket Ball League 1904-1905
37 Games, 315 points, 8.5 points per game, 157 FG, 1 FT
Central Basket Ball League 1906-1912
319 Games, 2,214 points, 6.9 points per game, 1,104 FG, 6 FT
Eastern Basketball League 1909-1917
124 Games, 447 points, 3.6 points per game, 223 FG, 1 FT
Note: During the early 1900s a designated player shot free throws, not the player who was fouled. By basketballhistorian.com