Bill Tosheff: Champion for the "Pre-1965ers"William Tosheff, generally known as Bill or "Tosh," earned recognition as the 1952 NBA co-Rookie of the Year, rubbed shoulders with Fidel Castro and Earnest Hemingway during a seven year minor league baseball career and served his country as a member of a B-17 bomber crew during World War II--but his enduring legacy is his tireless fight for the "Pre-1965ers," the early NBA players who built the league and then were shamefully cast aside by both the next generations of players and the league itself; Tosheff battled for decades until he won a multimillion dollar settlement that provided some aid and comfort to several dozen "Pre-1965ers." Tosheff passed away in October 2011; neither his life nor his death received an appropriate amount of coverage and I think that it is critically important that Tosheff is remembered both for what he accomplished individually and also for what he accomplished on behalf of so many retired NBA players.
In 2009, I interviewed Tosheff and I am proud to reprint that two part series here:
Bill Tosheff: NBA Co-Rookie of the Year and Tireless Advocate for the "Pre-1965ers" (Part I)
Bill Tosheff: NBA Co-Rookie of the Year and Tireless Advocate for the "Pre-1965ers" (Part II)
Until his last days, Tosheff still worked tirelessly to correct NBA injustices; he felt that the NBA should provide retroactive payments to the "Pre-1965ers" who were covered by the 2005 agreement but had not received pensions from 1988-2005 and he insisted that the NBA should formally recognize the 1948-52 Rookies of the Year who were listed in the 1995 NBA Guide but then mysteriously erased from history the next year (Paul Hoffman in 1948, Howie Shannon in 1949, Alex Groza in 1950, Paul Arizin in 1951 and Bill Tosheff/Mel Hutchins in 1952). It would be a most fitting tribute to Tosheff's legacy if, after the NBA owners and players finish squabbling over how to divide roughly $4 billion amongst themselves, they agree to set aside a tiny portion of that cash to ease the final days of the remaining "Pre-1965ers"; it also would be fitting if the league and its media partners corrected a nearly two decades old injustice and restored the 1948-52 Rookies of the Year to the "official" listings of NBA award winners.
Further Reading About Bill Tosheff
Legends of Basketball Tribute/Obituary for Bill Tosheff
Association for Professional Basketball Research (APBR) Documentation of the Plight of the Pre-Pension Players
Bill Tosheff's Minor League Baseball Statistics
posted by David Friedman @ 1:28 AM