Thursday, November 19, 2015

Emil Benko

Emil Ludwig Benko 
(previously listed in sports encyclopedias as "Danko" )

November 9, 1913
Whiting, IN

November 14, 2007
East Chicago, IN

1930-31 Whiting High School (High School)
1935-36 Whiting Ciesar (semi-pro)
1938-39 Hammond Ciesar All-Americans (NBL)
1940-41 Hammond Ciesar All-Americans (NBL)

A player simply listed as "Danko", who played one game for Hammond. That's all we have.

Update: 4/9/16
 An article in the Hammond Times from December 17, 1935, mentions a man named Emil Benko, a "sharp shooting forward and ex-Oiler star". I like this possibility. Benko went to Whiting High 1932-33. I found Emil's obituary and it appears that Benko is indeed the player who was listed as "Danko".

He went on to play for Whiting Ciesar's, the first semi-pro team that played at the Community Center, and then they moved to the Hammond Civic Center and changed the name to the Hammond Ciesar's who were coached by Frank Martin.

Update: 12/3/18
I found a box score from March 6, 1939, where Benko played for Hammond, scoring two points. I added this to his career, and he now is a two-year veteran of the NBL.

Born to Michael and Susan Benko, he grew up in Whiting and played basketball in high school, and also for various teams in the area in the 1930's. He eventually hooked up with Ciesar and played through various incarnations of the team (semi-pro, pro, amateur). He served in the U.S. Army during World War 2, he also worked at  Standar Oil and Amoco before retiring in 1973. He died in 2007 just days after turning 94.

He married Martha Ciesar (d. 2002) in 1946 and they had two daughters, Arlene and Jean.

Decatur Daily Review, December 21, 1936
Obituary, Hammond Times, November 17-18, 2007


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