NBL alums snubbed by Hall

NBL, BAA, and others

NBL alums snubbed by Hall

Postby Brian Gaynor » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:57 am

As a lurker on this board for years, I had always thought a great discussion would focus on what former National Basketball League players should be in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

In the last 25 years, Al Cervi, Bobby Wanzer, Buddy Jeannette and Arnie Risen finally got their due. But not since Risen in 1998 has an NBL alum stirred the imagination of the electorate.

LeRoy "Cowboys" Edwards was a dominant player for a solid decade, from 1935 to 1945, winning three NBL MVP awards with the Oshkosh All-Stars. He is not in the Hall, even after a movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s gained the interest of the influential Red Auerbach.

Who else was every bit as good as Cervi, Wanzer, Jeannette and Risen? How about Charlie Shipp, who was an all-NBL choice seven times? In addition to Edwards and Shipp, I might even throw in five-time NBL all-star Ed Dancker, the Sheboygan Red Skins center who was the NBL's second-best big man, to Edwards, in the pre-Mikan era.

Has too much time passed for Edwards, Shipp, Dancker or any other NBL alum to gain enshrinement?
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Postby Brian Gaynor » Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:06 am

I failed to mention Bobby McDermott (1988) as part of the NBL's contribution to the Hall of Fame in the last 25 years.

It really does boggle the mind, though, how a guy like "Cowboy" Edwards cannot be in the Hall of Fame. Even George Mikan called Edwards his toughest opponent. Since his days at Kentucky in the early 1930s, into his years in the Midwest Basketball Conference, and finally through the later years of the NBL, "Cowboy" was the standard for centers. Maybe his status as an undersized 6-foot-4 center hurts his candidacy.

But just the fact that Al Cervi was inducted before McDermott calls into question the validity of the Hall of Fame voting. Every player from that era with whom I've spoken immediately say McDermott's name when asked who was the greatest. Never Al's. And Al, by all accounts, was a tenacious defensive player who could also score with some regularity. McDermott, on the other hand, was legendary — voted the greatest player in basketball history in a 1945 poll.

And now that the NBL has been deemed a dinosaur by current voters, relegated to the ash heap of history, a yellowed, dog-eared scrapbook page in time, you wonder if the league has seen its last Hall of Famer.
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Postby Jon Scott » Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:21 pm

Brian,

You mentioned in a different thread an article you wrote about Sparky Adams being a surviving member of the NBL.

Please keep in mind that I'm still interested in getting any comments / recommendations for Cowboy Edwards for the Hall of Fame from anyone who played with or against him. If possible, I would love to get some quotes or better yet a written note from Mr. Adams regarding what kind of player and person Edwards was, how he compared to the other post players of his era and/or other eras and whether he thinks Edwards deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Let me know if you can help.

Thanks

Jon
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NBL alums snubbed by Hall

Postby Brian Gaynor » Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:57 pm

Frankly — no pun intended — the best person to talk with would be Francis E. "Frank" Zummach, who coached the Sheboygan Red Skins from 1939-42. He is a lucid and youthful 98 years old and is the only surviving NBL coach to have dipped a toe into the 1930s, according to Bill Himmelman. His Sheboygan teams went up against LeRoy "Cowboy" Edwards numerous times, as you know. Frank was a lawyer in Sheboygan for many years, still lives there and is in the phone book. I wrote a long story about Zummach that ran the day of his 96th birthday. I don't think it was ever posted on this board, but I could be wrong. He spoke glowingly about Edwards and could give some impetus to your quest to get him into the Hall of Fame.

You know, it's almost ridiculous that "Cowboy" has been overlooked all of these years. Why is that, Jon? What have you heard? Was it because he was an undersized 6-foot-4 center, even though he packed, what, 230 pounds or so onto his frame.

Who else in basketball history played his position for 15 years better than anyone else in the game and is not in the Hall? From the early 1930s and until Mikan burst onto the scene with the Chicago American Gears in 1946-47, Edwards was the professional standard. No doubt. He was probably the second-best player, behind Bob McDermott, from 1935-45: Eight-time all-NBL choice, a three-time NBL MVP, three-time scoring champion, winner of two NBL championships and one World Professional Tournament title with Oshkosh, played all 12 seasons of the 12-season NBL and scored the second-most points behind Hall of Famer McDermott.

As for Glenn R. "Sparky" Adams, who played for the Sheboygan Red Skins late in the 1938-39 season and all of the 1939-40 season, he lives in Newberry, S.C. I could PM you his number, which is unlisted.

Off the top of my head, others who might be able to give significant input and are listed in their city's phone book are Milt Schoon of Janesville, Wis., and Ken Buehler of South Palm Beach, Fla. Schoon, especially, went up against Edwards numerous times while playing for the Flint Dow Chemicals and the Red Skins. Milt has said many times that Edwards, in his prime, was just as powerful and feared as Mikan.

Hope this helps.

Brian
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Postby rdlwolverine » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:51 pm

I think Chuck Chuckovits and Wyatt "Sonny" Boswell are both worthy of consideration.
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Postby Brian Gaynor » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:02 am

Sonny Boswell, by most accounts, could play with anyone of his era. Another former Globetrotter, Duke Cumberland, was a starter for the Chicago Studebakers on that trailblazing 1942-43 NBL team and was still playing for the Globetrotters as late as the mid-1950s. He enjoyed a long, distinguished career and might be worthy of consideration. Bernie Price, also of the Studebakers and Globetrotters, is another guy who had a long career, could score at will and had a fairly long career. He was inducted into the Globetrotters' Ring of Honor a few years before he died. It would have been interesting to see how Chuck Chuckovitz would have done had he played longer. He was invincible for that one season and maybe played a little longer, but he was off the court and blowing an official's whistle soon after.

But even before these great names, we must circle back to the greatest omission: Leroy "Cowboy" Edwards. I would still like to know why "Cowboy" has been shunned.
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Postby Brian Gaynor » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:06 am

I've tried to think of a parallel to the Leroy Edwards Hall of Fame omission. Is there any other player who was best at his position for a decade or more and is not in the Hall of Fame? I can't think of any, but maybe someone else can.
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Postby Brian Gaynor » Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:36 pm

The A-Train scored nearly 25,000 points and shot nearly 60 percent over the course of his long career. Yes, those are Hall of Fame numbers. I'd bet he gets downgraded for piling up huge numbers in the ABA and then emerging in the NBA as a very good but possibly not superstar center. And he was second banana to Kareem at his position during that era (heck, some might point to Bill Walton and even Dave Cowens as at least equals to Artis).

I'll add another possible reason for Edwards' being HOF-snubbed: He had a reputation as one who lived life hard. He ran a tavern in Oshkosh, and while he did not have the reputation of the hard-drinking McDermott, he got into plenty of mischief. But he was not a bad guy, by any means.
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Postby Mike Goodman » Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:24 pm

Artis Gilmore played 68% of his games, and 63% of his minutes in the NBA.
He also got 63% of his points, 56% of his rebounds, and 55% of his blocks against NBA competition. He shot better from the field and from the line in the NBA.

But in 5 ABA seasons, he was MVP once, and Playoff MVP once. All-league 1st team and all-Defensive team every year.
Then in the NBA, he was never once first or 2nd team all-league. A single all-D 2nd team for 1978.

His 6 NBA Allstar appearances indicate he was considered at least a top 6 NBA center. But never a top 2. Based on historical Hall of Fame voting patterns, he's given only a 10% chance of making the Hall:

http://www.basketball-reference.com/pla ... oar01.html

Yet b-r.com ranks him among the top 10 NBA players in season Win Shares 7 times. As high as 3rd, in '79, behind Kareem and Moses. In the NBA, he never dominated his position -- just everyone else.
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Postby mtamada » Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:00 am

Mike Goodman wrote:Yet b-r.com ranks him among the top 10 NBA players in season Win Shares 7 times. As high as 3rd, in '79, behind Kareem and Moses. In the NBA, he never dominated his position -- just everyone else.


There were giants in the league in those days. Artis had the misfortune of playing at a time when there were a lot of good centers around, including three dominant ones: Kareem, Moses, and I include Artis as the third one. The stats as well as the subjective judegments properly put Artis third behind those other two, but those two are at worst, what, maybe the 3rd best and 10th best centers of all time? Being third best behind those two is no small feat.

Around 1979 the Washington Post had a nicely analytic article (though not based on stats), it may've been by Thomas Boswell, that characterized all of the NBA teams' style of play. He described three teams as built around their franchise centers, yup Lakers-Kareem, Rockets-Moses, and Bulls-Gilmore. There were plenty of other good centers around -- Unseld, Lanier, Sikma, Hayes if you consider him to be a center -- but only those three were considered to be dominant enough to be the focus of their teams.
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Postby Brian Gaynor » Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:27 am

I get the impression that most of us agree that the Hall of Fame has given Artis Gilmore the shaft. He's perhaps the third-best center of his era, behind Kareem and Moses.

As far as Lefty Edwards, I go back to my original question: Is there another player who was BEST at his position in his era and has not received Springfield's endorsement? Or maybe a better place to start is here: WAS Cowboy Edwards the best at his position in his era? And by "his era," I mean, roughly from the time he was named an all-American at Kentucky in the early 1930s until about 1943 or '44, when Edwards' skills became diminished and George Mikan became Big Man on Campus at DePaul and the standard by which centers, college or pro, were judged.

Edwards was better than Sheboygan's Eddie Dancker, better than Chicago/Sheboygan's Mike Novak, better than Fort Wayne's John Pelkington, better than any of the centers from the Firestones or Goodyears, the Detroit Eagles (although Ed Sadowski was a horse), the Hammond and Indianapolis teams. Every former NBL player with whom I've ever spoken has put Edwards first in his era.

And as far as Edwards' character, sure he liked to tip a few. He ran a tavern and had the entire Oshkosh All-Stars team to his joint after games. Can you picture ol' Cowboy behind the bar pouring beers for his teammates and for all of his star-struck fans? But that's the way it was back then. These were community teams, whether run as a civic organization or sponsored by a manufacturing concern or, in Oshkosh's case, run by a seed salesman, Lon Darling. Players were close to the fans and liked to have fun with the fans. Heck, in Sheboygan, the Eagle Auditorium and, later, the Sheboygan Armory would empty after games and everyone would race down to the Chicken Tavern, along the Sheboygan River, to get a seat and a refreshment. Everyone: Fans, players, team officials, opponents. The Chicken Tavern was two blocks from the railroad station and that made it convenient for the Red Skins and their opponents, both of whom might have had to catch a late train that night. You might have Chicago's George Mikan and Bobby McDermott sitting at the bar with Sheboygan's Eddie Dancker and Rube Lautenschlager, rehashing the events of the night. Another time, you might have Rochester's Bob Davies and Sheboygan's Bob Holm, teammates at Seton Hall, having a late dinner and cocktails with their wives. In short, just because someone from that era acquired the reputation as a drinker doesn't mean that he was out of control and locked up every night. Then there was McDermott. ... But McDermott's fights and bouts of drinking didn't stunt his candidacy for the Hall. ...

All you have to do is read the Hall of Fame-bound letters of recommendation on Jon Scott's site to know what kind of a man Cowboy Edwards was. One of the Sheboygan players — of all people! (might have been Dancker) — called Leroy Edwards a great husband, father and friend.
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Postby rlee » Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:43 am

Let's not overlook Bob Kurland as the equal or near-equal of Mikan in the immediate post-Edwards era.
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Postby Jon Scott » Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:59 am

Brian Gaynor wrote:But just the fact that Al Cervi was inducted before McDermott calls into question the validity of the Hall of Fame voting. Every player from that era with whom I've spoken immediately say McDermott's name when asked who was the greatest. Never Al's. And Al, by all accounts, was a tenacious defensive player who could also score with some regularity. McDermott, on the other hand, was legendary — voted the greatest player in basketball history in a 1945 poll.


Brian,

I'm curious what poll you're referring to. I know of the UPI All-Time Pro team which named a top 5 (and 5 additional players) in February 1945. [Note I edited this to a First Five and Next Five rather than 1st and 2nd team because they really didn't designate a 1st team and a 2nd team.]

First Five

Robert McDermott
LeRoy Edwards
Nat Holman
Dutch Dehnert
John Beckman


Next Five

Joe Lapchick
Willie Smith
Nat Hickey
Jerry Bush
Buddy Jeannette

Here's a link to the news article.

http://www.newspaperarchive.com/PdfView ... g=54027059

(Newspaper Archive #54027059, Ogden Standard-Examiner, February 14, 1945)

Of the above players, Edwards Hickey and Bush haven't been inducted. (Note this may be an ignorant question but is "Wee" Willie Smith formally inducted or not as part of the Rens ? I checked the Hall of Fame website and while they list the Rens as being inducted, they don't list the players involved. Frankly, that is inexcusable IMO.)

http://www.hoophall.com/halloffamers/bh ... -rens.html

Jon

PS, I have mentioned this before but it is worth mentioning again. A number of years ago, I was looking through microfilm from the early 1950's and I distinctly remember seeing a newspaper article with a poll listing the top 5 basketball players in the first half of the century, with Edwards one of the 5. Unfortunately I failed to copy it and since that time, I have not found that anywhere else. If anyone is familiar with this, let me know.
Last edited by Jon Scott on Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jon Scott » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:10 am

Keith Ellis wrote:Last negative impression of Edwards, & I'm really scraping the bottom of the barrel: His team didn't win the Indiana state tourney despite reaching the Final Four. After the tourney he was declared ineligible (for having played offseason games IIRC).


Keith, I'm kind of surprised you mentioned this. This was discussed previously on this forum and I believe already debunked.

http://apbr.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=186

Basically Edwards is said to have been declared ineligible for playing in a non-sanctioned game during the off-season, however as discussed above, there's no reason to believe it was legitimate, since Edwards had already used up his high school eligibility. (ie the time he and the others were supposedly to be suspended from high school play, Edwards was already in college out of state)

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Postby Jon Scott » Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:50 am

Brian Gaynor wrote:As far as Lefty Edwards, I go back to my original question: Is there another player who was BEST at his position in his era and has not received Springfield's endorsement? Or maybe a better place to start is here: WAS Cowboy Edwards the best at his position in his era? And by "his era," I mean, roughly from the time he was named an all-American at Kentucky in the early 1930s until about 1943 or '44, when Edwards' skills became diminished and George Mikan became Big Man on Campus at DePaul and the standard by which centers, college or pro, were judged.

Edwards was better than Sheboygan's Eddie Dancker, better than Chicago/Sheboygan's Mike Novak, better than Fort Wayne's John Pelkington, better than any of the centers from the Firestones or Goodyears, the Detroit Eagles (although Ed Sadowski was a horse), the Hammond and Indianapolis teams. Every former NBL player with whom I've ever spoken has put Edwards first in his era.


I'm not an expert on professional basketball in general, and with my emphasis primarily on Edwards from that era obviously I'm biased towards him. But there's nothing I've seen to diminish Edwards dominance during that period. If anything the more I see of the information contemporary to that time, the more convinced I am that he was the top center (if not player period) of his era. (But again, I'm really not qualified to make this type of judgement since I'm not specifically trying to look at the big picture.)


I don't see anyone who was as dominant or as well considered for such an extended time period or as consistently as Edwards. From my (admittedly limited) vantage point, I think the answer to whether Edwards was the best at his position during his era is clearly yes.

I think it's noteworthy what Charlie Shipp said when writing about Edwards. According to Shipp "I remember when we used to play the then famous New York Rens when Tarzan Cooper was their center (and the old center jump was still in basketball) they talked LeRoy into letting them get the tap every other jump. If they hadn't agreed to that, they knew it would be next to impossible for them to outjump or out-muscle Lefty. . "

Link to Letter


Brian Gaynor wrote:And as far as Edwards' character, sure he liked to tip a few. He ran a tavern and had the entire Oshkosh All-Stars team to his joint after games. Can you picture ol' Cowboy behind the bar pouring beers for his teammates and for all of his star-struck fans? But that's the way it was back then. These were community teams, whether run as a civic organization or sponsored by a manufacturing concern or, in Oshkosh's case, run by a seed salesman, Lon Darling. Players were close to the fans and liked to have fun with the fans. Heck, in Sheboygan, the Eagle Auditorium and, later, the Sheboygan Armory would empty after games and everyone would race down to the Chicken Tavern, along the Sheboygan River, to get a seat and a refreshment. Everyone: Fans, players, team officials, opponents. The Chicken Tavern was two blocks from the railroad station and that made it convenient for the Red Skins and their opponents, both of whom might have had to catch a late train that night. You might have Chicago's George Mikan and Bobby McDermott sitting at the bar with Sheboygan's Eddie Dancker and Rube Lautenschlager, rehashing the events of the night. Another time, you might have Rochester's Bob Davies and Sheboygan's Bob Holm, teammates at Seton Hall, having a late dinner and cocktails with their wives. In short, just because someone from that era acquired the reputation as a drinker doesn't mean that he was out of control and locked up every night. Then there was McDermott. ... But McDermott's fights and bouts of drinking didn't stunt his candidacy for the Hall. ...


Thanks for expounding on and clarifying that point. When you originally mentioned Lefty owning a bar as a potential issue, I didn't read into it so far to mean that you thought he had a problem with alcohol etc. (which Keith seemed to suggest which I think was very presumptive and went way overboard).

FWIW, I feel uncomfortable trying to delve too deeply into people's personal lives and potential afflictions (whether real or imagined) etc. I feel uncomfortable doing so for people today who can address, clarify and refute assumptions people may make, much more so trying to presume things about people who lived decades ago and for whom I never met.

Having said that, I do think that Lefty's lifestyle was sufficiently different than some others (for example someone like John Wooden) that it has hurt him in some people's eyes.

Jon
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Postby Jon Scott » Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:26 am

Keith Ellis wrote:Perhaps to an extent Edwards has suffered the fate of Bill Spivey, who died running a canteen in a shady section of Central America. But Bill Spivey was a much tougher character than they ever were.


Keith, sorry to keep nitpicking your comments but I do take strong exception to a number of the things you mention.

Spivey did become reclusive late in life and chose to live in Costa Rica away from his previous life.

But I think it's wrong to characterize him as a 'tougher character'. Honestly I don't know where that even comes from. By all accounts Spivey was a fun loving guy. If anything he was a 7-foot goofball.

The 1951 gambling scandal certain affected him adversely, but it didn't prevent him from staying in the public eye, running a bar in Lexington for a number of years, working in state government and even trying to run for lieutenant governor.

FWIW, you can read about Spivey and how people remembered him at the following page.

http://www.bigbluehistory.net/bb/Statis ... _Bill.html

If you're interested, I have even more articles from the time period prior to the scandals which shed even more light on his personality.

Having said all that, obviously Spivey's disposition had nothing to do with him making the Hall of Fame or not. The gambling scandal, which he was implicated in but never convicted, is the sole reason he was not able to play in the NBA, or eventually achieve Hall of Fame status (which there's no doubt in my (and many others) mind that he would have achieved).

Jon
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Postby Brian Gaynor » Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:32 am

Jon, I've come upon several references to Bob McDermott as the all-time top player in a 1945 poll. One place was in an old game program. I've also read it in stories from the era. It could have been a UPI honor: His name appears at the top; might he have received the most votes?
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Postby Jon Scott » Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:40 am

Brian Gaynor wrote:Jon, I've come upon several references to Bob McDermott as the all-time top player in a 1945 poll. One place was in an old game program. I've also read it in stories from the era. It could have been a UPI honor: His name appears at the top; might he have received the most votes?


I edited my comment slightly since the article didn't specifically mention a 1st team and a 2nd team. It only mentioned the top 5 players and then at the end mentioned another set of 5 players who came up behind them in the balloting.

McDermott is mentioned first followed by Edwards in the article, but it doesn't say they are listed in the order of their vote totals. It may just have been that it made more sense to group the three Celtics (Holman, Dehnert and Beckman) together.

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Postby Brian Gaynor » Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:32 am

I will stand by this: It's very simple. If Cowboy Edwards had been 6-7 or 6-8, instead of 6-4, he would have been inducted into the Hall of Fame 30 or 40 years ago. A slam dunk, as they say in basketball. Oh, to be a mouse in the room when the selection committee convened. "A 6-4 center? Next window, please (or words to that effect)." A center, they might have said, needed to extend vertically rather than horizontally, as the muscular Edwards did.

It didn't seem to matter that Edwards had won three NBL scoring championships, three NBL MVP awards and routinely was named to the all-NBL team. Throw in two NBL championships and a World Professional Tournament title and you begin to appreciate the complete picture.

Now, isn't the best gauge of a player's worth the adolation he receives from his contemporaries? George Mikan, the greatest player of the first half of the century, called Leroy "Cowboy" Edwards his greatest competitor. No contest. Sheboygan Red Skins center Eddie Dancker, who happened to be 6-7 and was very successful and Lefty's chief rival in the late '30s and early '40s, echoed Mikan. Even Red Auerbach had heard of the legend of Cowboy and had planned to give the Hall his input (see Jon's Big Blue site) when a push to put Edwards in the Hall came about around 1980.

Jon, nearly 30 years since that 1980 effort, is there any support in the Hall chambers for Cowboy's induction? And, frankly, it will only get tougher, as so many qualified women's candidates (Vivian Stringer this year) and international stars receive their deserved honors.

Unfortunately, Cowboy's window may have closed. ...
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Postby Brian Gaynor » Tue May 05, 2009 5:56 am

There seems to be little doubt Lefty Edwards is qualified for the Hall.

But what about his Oshkosh All-Stars teammate and fellow Hoosier Charlie Shipp, an all-NBL selection at least seven times, member of NBL and World Pro Tournament title teams and coach of the Waterloo Hawks in the NBA's inaugural season of 1949-50? He played something like 15 seasons, was known as a defender without equal, a hard-nosed son of a gun and an enforcer even though he was only 6-1. Poor guy lost a leg about 10 years after his career ended, too. I spoke with Red Auerbach a couple months before he died and he raved about Shipp. Why isn't Charlie getting any love from Springfield?
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Postby Mike Goodman » Tue May 05, 2009 3:38 pm

Brian Gaynor wrote:There seems to be little doubt Lefty Edwards is qualified for the Hall.

As a somewhat 'outside' observer:
'Cowboy Edwards' sounds more HOF-likely than 'Lefty Edwards'.
One sounds like a sleight-of-hand artist; the other like he can maintain a grip on a bucking bronco.
Is one nickname more prevalent in written accounts?
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Postby Brian Gaynor » Tue May 05, 2009 5:36 pm

As a somewhat 'outside' observer:
'Cowboy Edwards' sounds more HOF-likely than 'Lefty Edwards'.
One sounds like a sleight-of-hand artist; the other like he can maintain a grip on a bucking bronco.
Is one nickname more prevalent in written accounts?


Excellent question, Mike. From what I've read, looking at old programs and news accounts, Leroy was referred to almost exclusively as "Lefty" during his playing career. But later, the name "Cowboy" stuck and "Lefty" drifted into the background.

The "Lefty" referred to either the left arm/hand he used shooting his famous hook shot, or the lead left arm he used to push away defenders as he shot with his right hand. He was known for having a brutal clear-out arm, or whatever you'd call it.

Does anyone have a ruling on the origin of "Lefty's" name?
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Postby Brian Gaynor » Thu May 07, 2009 6:22 pm

Edwards and maybe Charlie Shipp are Hall-worthy, given their honors, longevity and team accomplishments. As for the NBL guy who was probably next in line for consideration, 6-foot-7, 220-pound center Ed Dancker of Sheboygan, the argument might be less convincing, although his individual statistics and team accomplishments are intriguing.

Dancker did not play college ball (a la Al Cervi and Bobby McDermott and, I think, Charlie Shipp). He was a welder and began his career in recreational leagues playing for the Milwaukee Harvesters. Still raw, he apparently hooked up with the professional Sheboygan Art Imigs (of Jack Mann fame) in 1936-37 (at least he appears in their team picture). The following season, he played for the pro Enzo Jels in Sheboygan. That team went 17-3, beating Bobby McDermott's New York Celtics, and earned a berth in the National Basketball League the following season. Well, Dancker then played 11 seasons in the NBL (10 with Sheboygan and one with Oshkosh) and finished as the fourth-leading scorer in league annals. He was named to five all-NBL teams, one World Pro Tournament team, played in six NBL championship series and won an NBL title with the Red Skins in 1942-43. And even though Dancker was the No. 4 scorer in NBL history, he wasn't known for that. Opponents and his former coach, Frank Zummach, talked about Dancker's rebounding and defense before his scoring. Of course, rebounding statistics were not compiled in the 1930s and 1940s, so the world will never know whether Ed Dancker was the Bill Russell of his era. Only the stories survive from the scattered, remaining NBL alums. ...

So from 1936 to 1946 — a solid decade in the pre-Mikan pro era — it could be argued that Ed Dancker was the overall No. 2 center in organized pro ball, at least in the dominant Midwest. And for two seasons after 1946, Dancker was still productive, a starter for Sheboygan and still one of the league's better centers. Only in the 1948-49 NBL, when he and Cowboy Edwards were both 34 years old and hanging on with Oshkosh, did Dancker become a footnote.

In short, how many positional No. 2s of any particular decade still have their nose up to the glass outside the Naismith Hall of Fame? Yes, other centers may have been better than Dancker during certain seasons from 1936-46 (the names of Chestnut, Tarzan Cooper, Jake Pelkington, Ed Sadowski and others come to mind), but I believe Dancker had better LONG-TERM success and on a grander and more competitive stage than every NBL center other than Edwards and than all of the most noteworthy barnstormers.

Yes, I am biased toward Dancker, as Jon is biased toward Edwards and other researchers have their special areas of interest. Some historians might agree with me and acknowledge that at the very least Dancker's name is worthy of discussion. But, admittedly, the superior Edwards would have to capture the electorate's imagination first and clear the lane, so to speak, for Dancker and other underappreciated old-timers.
Brian Gaynor
 
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Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:15 pm
Location: NBL country

Postby Brian Gaynor » Mon May 11, 2009 10:12 pm

You talk about the fairness or accuracy of Hall voting. ...

I will never understand why Fred Zollner is in the Hall and not Kautsky. If anything, Kautsky was more the trailblazer, being there from the start, whereas Zollner and his Pistons joined the National Basketball League in 1941-42, when the loop was already well established. Kautsky did the heavy lifting and Zollner reaped the rewards.

And while we are comparing, why Buddy Jeannette and not Charlie Shipp? Neither player scored all that much, between five and eight points per game. Shipp had a longer career and comparable honors.

Just the fact that the great Bobby McDermott was inducted almost as an afterthought, in 1988, when he should have been in the first class or at least in one of the early classes (Andy Phillip??) brings into question Springfield's voting.
Brian Gaynor
 
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:15 pm
Location: NBL country

Postby Brian Gaynor » Thu May 21, 2009 9:20 pm

At least twice in his NBL book, Murry Nelson comes out and scolds the Hall of Fame for excluding Leroy "Lefty (or Cowboy)" Edwards. I am paraphrasing Murry, but he calls it a tremendous and shameful oversight.

Jon, does the APBR have any pull with the Hall? (I ask this as a newbie.) At what stage is Edwards' application? Has anyone pushed the case for Edwards since that movement around 1980?
Brian Gaynor
 
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:15 pm
Location: NBL country

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