Bob Feerick and the Washington Capitols


Bob Feerick Crouching

Credit: Peach Basket Society


Bob Feerick was a 6'3" guard that played professional basketball between 1946-50. Feerick was in three different leagues within those five seasons: The NBL, BAA, and NBA. He would play one season with the Oshkosh All-Stars in the NBL, three seasons with the Washington Capitols in the BAA, and another season with the Capitols in the NBA.


Although he had a short career, Feerick made the best of his five seasons. He was one of the BAA's best players and was the Stephen Curry of the BAA (for three seasons). Want to learn more about Bob Feerick and the numerous awards and records he has accumulated? Keep on reading!


Since Bob Feerick was the best player in Washington Capitols' history, probably due to the Capitols' very short history (1946-51), this article will also highlight the Washington Capitols' three seasons in the BAA and two seasons in the NBA.

 

Table of Contents:

 

NBL: Oshkosh All-Stars

At the age of 26, Bob Feerick would join Oshkosh All-Stars in the 1945-46 NBL season and immediately make an impact. In his first and only season with the Oshkosh All-Stars, they would go 19-15 (55.9 W/L%), finishing second in the Western Conference.

This was a seven-game improvement from last season (12-18)! This improvement was due to the All-Stars acquisition of Bob Feerick and Bob Carpenter. In the 1945-46 NBL season, Feerick averaged:


9.4 Points

3.9 Field Goals

1.7 Free Throws, 2.1 Free Throw Attempts


As for Bob Carpenter, he averaged:


13.9 Points

5.5 Field Goals

3.0 Free Throws, 4.2 Free Throw Attempts


In addition to Feerick and Carpenter, the All-Stars already had 3x MVP, Leroy Edwards! The three players combined for 34.9 points! The All-Stars averaged 53.4 points, so that means that the 'Big 3' scored 65.4% of the team's points! Unfortunately, out of the three, the only player to NOT make an All-NBL Team was Bob Feerick.

Bob Feerick would have made an All-NBL Team if he played more games. Out of the 34 regular-season games, Feerick would only play 21 of them. Half the players on the All-NBL Second Team had worst stats than Feerick but played more games:

  • Mike Novak: 9.1 Points (34 Games)

  • Jerome Steiner: 9.0 Points (30 Games)

  • Robert Calihan: 8.7 Points (31 Games)

In addition, Bob Feerick would also unluckily lose the Rookie of the Year award to Red Holzman. However, that didn't matter. Bob Feerick's prime was on the horizon. Also, NBL awards aren't recognized by the NBA, so... whatever.

Although the All-Stars had a good regular season, their postseason run was cut short. In the first round against the Sheboygan Redskins, the All-Stars would lose 2-3. In this playoff series, Feerick would average:

8.4 Points

3.2 Field Goals

2.0 Free Throws, 2.2 Free Throw Attempts


A one-point difference might not seem like much, but in an era where teams would end games with 50 points, one point could have completely changed the results of this series.


The blame doesn't just lie on Bob Feerick. Bob Carpenter and Leroy Edwards also played worse. Carpenter only averaged 10.6 points, while Edwards only averaged 8.8 points. The 'Big 3' scored 6.1 fewer points in the playoffs.


By the end of the season, Feerick was 25th in points (198), 21st in field goals (81), and wasn't even Top 25 in free throws.


1946-47: New Beginnings

Bob Feerick's impact in the NBL was minimal, but it was the complete opposite while in the BAA. Feerick would join the Washington Capitols in the 1946-47 BAA season and would go 49-11 (81.7%), finishing first in the Eastern Conference and overall. The Capitols also led the league in OPPG (63.9) and were second in PPG (73.8).


To provide some context, this was also the Washington Capitols first season in the BAA. That's because the BAA was founded in 1946! Sixteen teams were a part of the BAA. Out of those 16, six of those teams still exist:

  • Boston Celtics

  • Fort Wayne Pistons (now Detroit Pistons)

  • Minneapolis Lakers (now Los Angeles Lakers)

  • New York Knickerbockers

  • Philadelphia Warriors (now Golden State Warriors)

  • Rochester Royals (now Sacramento Kings)

The BAA was the first 'major' professional basketball league. Although the NBL and American Basketball League (ABL) existed, teams played in relatively small stadiums in unknown cities (ex: Oshkosh, Toledo, Youngstown, etc.). On the other hand, the BAA primarily played in larger stadiums in major cities, which helped with sales.

As a result, after the 1948-49 BAA season, the BAA and NBL would merge to create the NBA!


Now back to the Washington Capitols.


The reason for the Capitols success was primarily due to Bob Feerick's performance this season. Feerick was decent with the Oshkosh All-Stars but was FANTASTIC with the Washington Capitols this season. He averaged:

16.8 Points, 1.3 Assists

40.1 FG%, 76.2. FT%

55 Games


Bob Feerick led the Capitols in points, assists, and field goal percentage! He was undoubtedly, the best player on the Capitols. In fact, Feerick was probably the second-best player in the league (behind Joe Fulks). Within the five seasons that the Capitols played in the BAA and NBA, this was their best regular-season record.

As a result of his impressive performance, Feerick was selected to the All-BAA First Team! MVPs were not an award in the BAA, but if they were... Feerick still wouldn't have won MVP since Fulks averaged 23.2 points on 30.5% shooting from the field.

By the end of the regular season, Bob Feerick would lead the league in six different stats:

  • Field Goal Percentage: 40.1 FG%

  • 2 Point Percentage: 40.1 2P%

  • Effective Field Goal Percentage: 40.1 eFG%

  • True Shooting Percentage: 45.3 TS%

  • Win Shares: 18.6 WS

  • Offensive Win Shares: 14.1 OWS

To be fair, the three-point line didn't exist back then, so FG%, 2P%, and eFG% were always going to be the same. In reality, Feerick only led the league in four different stats, which is still very impressive.

Feerick's shooting efficiency doesn't sound that impressive, and in a modern context, it isn't. In the 2020-2021 NBA season, the average FG%, 2P%, TS%, and eFG% are:

  • 46.6 FG%

  • 53.0 2P%

  • 57.2 TS%

  • 53.8 eFG%

None of Feerick's efficiency-related stats come close to the 2020-2021 NBA average. However, in the 1946-47 BAA season, quantity was valued over accuracy. The average FG%, 2P%, TS%, and eFG% back then were:

  • 27.9 FG%, 2P%, eFG%

  • 32.6 TS%

Besides these stats, Feerick was also second in points (926), points per game (16.8), field goals (364), two-point field goals (364), and fourth in free-throw percentage (76.1%).

Bob Feerick's best game this season was on March 19th, 1947, against the Providence Steamrollers. In this game, Feerick put up:


35 Points

1/1 FT, 17 Field Goals

2 Personal Fouls


Unfortunately, I can't find his field-goal attempts, but based on his regular-season field goal percentage (40.1%), I'd assume that Feerick took 42 field attempts this game.


Although Bob Feerick played amazingly this season, it wasn't just Feerick that propelled the Capitols to where they were. While the Oshkosh All-Stars had a Big 3, the Washington Capitols had a Big 4:

  • Bob Feerick: 16.8 Points

  • Fred Scolari: 12.6 Points

  • Bones McKinney: 12.0 Points

  • Johnny Norlander: 10.4 Points

The only other team that four players average more than 10+ points and play 55+ regular-season games were the Providence Steamrollers.


Also, Bones McKinney would make the All-BAA First Team while Fred Scolari would make the All-BAA Second Team!


Although the Washington Capitols had an amazing regular season, they had a disappointing playoff run. In the first round, the Capitols would lose to the Chicago Stags, 2-4.


Nobody in the Big 4 played better in the playoffs:

  • Bob Feerick: 15.0 Points

  • Fred Scolari: 11.8 Points

  • Bones McKinney: 9.7 Points

  • Johnny Norlander: 6.8 Points

The only player that played better in the playoffs was John Mahnken. In the regular season, he averaged 9.3 points. In this series, he averaged 10.3 points.


Bob Feerick played decently from Game 1-5, but in Game 6, the deciding game, Feerick would only score 8 points. If Feerick had scored just six more points, the Capitols would have won that game.


This wasn't the biggest upset since the Chicago Stags were the first seed in the Western Conference.


1947-48: Oof

The 1947-48 BAA season would be about the same for Bob Feerick, but not for the Washington Capitols. The Capitols would end up going 28-20 (58.3 W/L%). The Capitols were tied with the Baltimore Bullets (28-20) and the Chicago Stags (28-20) for the second seed in the Western Conference.


They won 21 fewer games than last season! I would understand performing worst if one of your star players left, but none of them did. The Big 4 was still intact. In addition, it wasn't like anybody did drastically worst. Everybody either stayed consistent or did slightly worst than last season:

  • Bob Feerick: 16.1 Points