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CBA restores statistics from post-World War years

September 4, 2007 - Continental Basketball Association 1 (CBA 1) News Release

ALBANY, NY (September 4, 2007) -The Continental Basketball Association is pleased to announce that a two-year research project headed by basketball historian and Albany Patroons season ticket holder Chuck Miller has resulted in the restoration and recovery of player and team statistics for the 1946-47 through 1957-58 seasons, the CBA's first twelve years of existence (at that time the league was known as the Eastern Professional Basketball League). These player and team statistics, which were originally thought to be lost forever, were resurrected through the analysis and study of thousands of newspaper box scores, and interviews with several players and coaches who played in that era.

The CBA was originally formed in April 1946 as the Eastern Professional Basketball League, and was rebranded as the Eastern Basketball Association prior to the 1970-71 season. From 1946 until the end of the 1977-78 season, the "Eastern League" operated with franchises in Northeastern states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware. However, over time several seasons of league statistics ether disappeared or were incorrectly attributed, with virtually no player scoring statistics existing prior to the 1958-59 season - until now.

Chuck Miller, working in conjunction with sports historians Karel de Veer and Bill Himmelman of Sports Nostalgia Research, as well as with members of the Association for Professional Basketball Research (APBR), recompiled the statistics by researching through miles and miles of newspaper microfilms in state archives, public libraries and county historic societies throughout the Northeast. Among the treasures uncovered by Miller are the Eastern League playing statistics for Hall of Famers John Chaney (2,728 points from 1955-1964 with several teams), Jack Ramsay (2,127 points from 1949 to 1955 with the Pottsville Packers and Sunbury Mercuries); and Jim Boeheim (2,308 points from 1966 to 1972, as a member of the Scranton Miners and Scranton Apollos). Miller has also uncovered the first inter-league championship tournament, held in 1964 as the "World Series of Basketball", in which the Eastern League's Allentown Jets defeated the Midwest League's Grand Rapids Tackers 138-136.

Besides restoring the statistics of hundreds of Eastern League players, Miller has also recovered over fifteen Eastern League All-Star classics, including a 1949 benefit game for an injured Eastern League player that eventually became the league's first All-Star game. Also uncovered were several league "tie-breaker" games, where an extra post-season game was required to determine playoff seedings.

In addition, Miller has found several matches in which Eastern League teams played NBA squads (and in 1949 actually defeated the Philadelphia Warriors in a double-overtime game). Eastern League franchises also played exhibition games against the Harlem Globetrotters, the female All-American Red Heads, and a team called the "Masked Marvels," featuring college players from Villanova University who covered their faces with masks and cowls so as to obscure their identity and not lose their college eligibility by playing professional games.

"I had previously acquired an old CBA media guide from the 1970's," said Miller, who currently operates the online CBA Museum site devoted to the CBA's history (http://www.cbamuseum.com). "While I thumbed through the old Eastern League stats pages, I noticed that a player named Swish McKinney played 35 games for the Binghamton Flyers in the 1967-68 season. Since the league only played 32 games that season, I couldn't figure out how McKinney got those three extra games. Therefore, I did some research, and discovered that not only did McKinney start the season in another city (Scranton), but so did the Flyers team itself - that franchise began in Bridgeport, Connecticut and moved to Binghamton in mid-season. And from that moment, my Eastern League and CBA historical research began."

"Chuck has done the CBA a great service," said CBA Acting Commissioner Jim Coyne. "He has been able to go back and find information that was thought to be previously lost forever. The CBA owes him a debt of gratitude for his hard work on this project."

"What Chuck has been able to find is amazing," said CBA Vice President of Basketball Operations Dennis Truax. "There are things that no one has seen in over 50 years that are a direct lineage to what we are today. These records will now be available every year in our annual media guide."

Miller's next goal is to verify the Eastern League's 1960's and 1970's player and team statistics, as well as to recover playoff statistics for those seasons.

Anyone in possession of programs, scrapbooks, or other materials from the Eastern Professional Basketball League or Eastern Basketball Association, or players from that league, are encouraged to contact Miller either through his CBA history website, http://www.cbamuseum.com; through his personal website, http://www.chuckthewriter.com; or through the Continental Basketball Association at http://www.cbahoopsonline.com.

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