Cleveland Rosenblums (also known as the Rosies) was an American
basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio that was one of the original
members of the American
Basketball League. The Rosenblums played in
the league between 1925–1930, winning three championships before
1 Early years
2 Formation of the American
3 First ABL championship
4 Later years
5 Annual record
7 Further reading
Team owner Max Rosenblum, c. 1918
The Rosenblums were organized in the late 1910s and were owned by
Cleveland department store owner, Max Rosenblum
(1877–1953). Originally known as the "Rosenblum
Celtics," the 1919 team compiled a record of 18–2 and was
Cleveland sporting editors as "the recognized champions of
During the 1922–1923 season, the team became known as "the fastest
basket ball aggregation in this part of the country," and consisted
of "an array of former college stars," including Kelly McBride, who
was the team's top scorer for several seasons. The 1922–1923 team
was coached by Bill Lange, who later led the North Carolina Tar Heels
men's basketball team to its first NCAA tournament appearance in
In April 1924, the Rosenblums traveled to Brooklyn to compete in a
tournament of five professional basketball teams. The tournament was
organized as a fundraiser for the U.S. Olympic Committee. The
Rosenblums lost in the tournament to the
Original Celtics by a score
of 25 to 17 in a game that featured a fight late in the game between
Nat Holman and Marty Friedman, forward for the
Rosenblums. Both players were ejected from the game.
Formation of the American
In April 1925, Rosenblum hosted an organizational meeting at the Hotel
Cleveland to establish a professional basketball league
that was originally called the National
Basketball League. The
Pittsburgh Press reported at the time, "Max Rosenblum, of Cleveland,
who has sponsored professional basketball on a large scale for many
years, is the leading spirit in the organization."
First ABL championship
In the inaugural 1925–1926 season of the American Professional
Basketball League, the Rosenblums compiled a record of 23–7. Their
leading scorers were John "Honey" Russell (216 points), Nat Hickey
(198 points), and
Carl Husta (158 points). On April 9, 1926, the
Rosenblums won the ABL's first championship by defeating the Brooklyn
Arcadians by a score of 23–22 in the final game of the league's
first championship series played at Brooklyn's 71st Infantry Regiment
Armory. The championship was decided in a best-of-five series,
and the Rosenblums won in three consecutive games. The Rosenblums won
the first and second games at Cleveland's Public Hall by scores of
36–33 and 37–21.
The New York Times
The New York Times described the Rosenblums'
playing style in the final game as follows:
Cleveland deceived the Brooklyn players by short, tricky
passes at various stages of the game the main strategy of the invaders
seemed to be to get a few points ahead and then play catch with the
ball to prevent the Brooklyn players from getting a chance. In the
final six minutes, when Cleveland's margin was never more than a point
or two, the ball was 'frozen' or passed from hand to hand for four
minutes of the time."
The starting five for the Rosenblums' 1925–1926 championship team
Carl Husta (left forward),
Nat Hickey (right forward), Rich
Dave Kerr (left guard), and John "Honey" Russell
During the 1926–1927 season, the Rosenblums went 17–4 in the first
half of the season but fell to 9–12 in the second half. The team's
decline in the second half of the season followed a falling-out
between Max Rosenblum and Honey Russell that ended with Russell being
traded to the Chicago Bruins. The team's leading scorers for the
1926–27 season were
Nat Hickey (343 points) and
Carl Husta (330
points). Having won the first half of the season, the Rosenblums
returned to the ABL championship series in the spring of 1927. They
lost the championship series in three consecutive games to the
The team won its second and third ABL championships, known as the
world series of professional basketball, in the 1928–29 and
1929–30 seasons. The team dropped out during the
first half of the 1930–31 season on December 8, 1930.
2nd (1st half); 1st (2nd half)
1st (1st half); 5th (2nd half)
1st (1st half); 3rd (2nd half)
1st (1st half); 2nd (2nd half)
7th (1st half)
^ Bob Dyer (2007). The Top 20 Moments in
Cleveland Sports History.
Gray & Company. p. 154. ISBN 1-59851-030-4. ("A
team called the
Cleveland Rosenblums, named after owner Max Rosenblum,
a department store magnate, , had come and gone despite winning the
ABL title in 1928–29.")
^ John J. Grabowski (1992). Sports in Cleveland: An Illustrated
History. Indiana University Press. p. 58.
^ William Ganson Rose (1990). Cleveland: The Making of a City. Kent
State University Press. p. 837. ISBN 0-87338-428-8.
^ David Borsvold (2003). The
Cleveland Press Years,
1920–1982. Arcadia Publishing. p. 21.
Cleveland Stars Will Play Coffey". The Pittsburgh Press. March 7,
1919. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
^ a b "William F. Lang, Musking'm Coach, Arrives Today". The Times
Recorder (Zanesville, Ohio). September 7, 1923.
^ "Merry Battle On Tomorrow Night". Rochester Evening Journal. March
2, 1923. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
^ "Fives Will Play Tonight". The New York Times. April 14, 1924.
Retrieved October 3, 2011.
^ "Celtics Wn From Rosenblum Five: 3,500 Persons See Professional
Basketball Tourney for Olympic Fund". The New York Times. April 15,
1924. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
^ "Meet to Organize Professional Cage Teams Into League". The
Pittsburgh Press. April 12, 1925. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
^ a b John Hogrogian. "ABL PLAYOFFS, 1926 and 1927". Association for
Basketball Research. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
^ a b c "
Cleveland Quintet Corrals Pro Title: Defeats Brooklyn
Arcadians, 23 to 22, Taking League Series With 3 Straight Triumphs".
The New York Times. April 10, 1926.
^ a b c "History of Basketball". nbahoopsonline.com. Retrieved October
^ "Rosies Face Ft. Wayne In Crucial Cage Tilt: Clevelanders Will Fight
To Close Game in Four Games". Painesville Telegraph. March 30, 1929.
Retrieved October 3, 2011.
Cleveland Nips Ft. Wayne, 19-18, In Title Tilt". Chicago Daily
Tribune. March 31, 1929. p. A3. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
Cleveland Beats Centrals, Wins Cage Title: Rosies 21–15 Victors
Over Rochester Five". Painesville Telegraph. March 25, 1930. Retrieved
October 3, 2011.
Cleveland Team Withdraws from Pro Basketball". Chicago Daily
Tribune. December 9, 1930. p. 25. Retrieved October 3,
Peterson, Robert W. (2002). "Coming Out of the Cage". Cages to Jump
Shots: Pro Basketball's Early Years. Lincoln: University of Nebraska
Press. pp. 80–94. ISBN 0-8032-8772-0.
Cleveland Rosenblums 1925–26 ABL champions
Head coach Friedman
Cleveland Rosenblums 1928–29 ABL champions
Head coach Friedman
Cleveland Rosenblums 1929–30 ABL champions