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Friday, November 25, 2011

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

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posted by David Friedman @ 1:28 AM



At Tuesday, November 29, 2011 7:30:00 AM, Blogger chuckealey35and0 said...


It would have been great to see a 48/48 split and take that 4% to the retired guys and specifically the pre 65ers. I, like you, would also love it if the NBA would recognize the ABA stats. It really irratates me when they show the 30,000 point club and no Julius. I almost think it's a conspiracy against the ABAers. I bet the Knicks really would have loved to have Julius instead of the $4.8mill Roy Boe had to pay them. I think the NBA wanted the Nets broke up so they didn't come in and win a title!! One other thing I would like to see someone write about is the breakaway rim and how it has helped shooting %'s. I believe if the guys from back in the day had a soft rim those &'s would be higher. I was almost hoping instead of the lockout ending we would see ABA 2.0 come out of it!!! Think that might happen in 6 years when one side or the other "opts out"???



At Tuesday, November 29, 2011 5:12:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Sadly, neither the league nor the Players Association are interested in providing that kind of cash to the retired players.

The NBA consistently portrayed the ABA as a second-rate league--a patently false characterization--and that is why the NBA has resisted making the ABA stats "official." Hopefully, the way that Jerry Colangelo has made the Hall of Fame more inclusive will have an impact on how the NBA formally regards ABA stats.

I don't think it is realistic to expect the creation of ABA 2.0; the original ABA emerged in a growing economy that did not have enough pro teams for each major city but now we have a shrinking economy with 30 professional basketball teams. The idea that the players might form their own league was so farfetched only guys like Dave Berri and Henry Abbott took it seriously.

At Tuesday, November 29, 2011 7:00:00 PM, Blogger chuckealey35and0 said...

Good article btw! I have not heard of this issue before specific to the early years guys!! i figured alot of the guys back then were getting jacked around by the league. On the rim issue I've heard Julius quoted before about the fact that on a non breakaway rim if you didn't dunk it clean and caught some rim it would throw you like getting bucked off a horse or something to that effect. Of course we have Darryl Dawkins to thank I guess!!

Yep not the best economic conditions to start a new league, just wishful thinking!! NBA might be better to contract IMO. Lots of guys in the league who wouldn't have made it onto a roster in the early 80's.



At Tuesday, November 29, 2011 7:28:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Yes, although some guys had broken rims and/or backboards prior to Dawkins (including Gus Johnson), after Dawkins broke two backboards during the same season the NBA started using breakaway rims. I am not sure about the effect of a breakaway rim on longer shots but it does make sense to assume that a rim with more "give" would soften shots to some degree, much the same way that the backboard softens a bank shot.


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