Tuesday, October 10, 2017

American Basketball League (ABL-I)

I am probably going in over my head with this one, but I am going to step back a few decades and look at the first successful (for the most part) professional basketball league, the American Basketball League.

Formed in 1925, just three decades after the sport's invention, the American Basketball League was the brainchild of multi-millionaires George Preston Marshall and Max Rosenblum, with the guidance of legendary football coach, owner and businessman George Halas. All around the eastern half of the country were dozens of small local professional leagues. These three gentlemen thought that it was time (and likely profitable) for a large scale league run and operated like the other American's sports leagues had. At this time, baseball's National League had been around almost 50 years, and their counterpart, the American League, 25 years. The NHL and NFL were still in their first decade but doing fairly well.

Joe Carr, who was the president of the NFL, was brought in to establish the playing system and rules. Every league in the country operated under their own rules, so Carr took what already existed and put together what was believed to be the best system at the time. The league was also to grant franchises only in large markets throughout the Mid-Atlantic through the Midwest. The league was able to successfully raid leagues like the Eastern League for the best players in the country.

The season was to be split into 16-game two halves, with the winner of each half to face each other in the championship. Teams were set up in Boston, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Fort Wayne, Rochester and Washington. Brooklyn won the first half, going 12-4 and finishing one game ahead of Washington. The Boston Whirlwinds dropped out after the first half, leaving eight teams to compete in the second half. With Boston gone, the second half was now  a 14-game schedule, won by Cleveland who won 13 of 14.

The Cleveland Rosenblums met Brooklyn in the ABL Championship and swept them in three games.

( I am going to refer to this ABL as ABL-I with respect to labeling blog posts.)

1 comment:

  1. It was the first really major, nation-wide league (at least as far as travel would allow at the time) during it's first run (1925-31) so I'm glad you decided to tackle the ABL.