The Pittsburgh Ironmen - Ended Before it Even Started
Although they have one of the coolest names in NBA history, the Pittsburgh Ironmen would only play one season in the NBA.
What's even worse is that, unlike the previously discussed Sheboygan Redskins and Anderson Packers, the Ironmen's NBA journey ended before it even started... kind of.
Before joining the NBA, the Redskins had an eleven-year history with the NBL. The Packers had a three-year history with the NBL. Both teams were able to win an NBL Championship during their time in the league. However, the Ironmen were different...
The Pittsburgh Ironmen had no previous experience in any other basketball leagues before joining the NBA, then known as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). They just came out of the blue, joined the BAA during the 1946-47 season, and just disappeared one season later.
Since the teams' history only spans one year, there won't be as much information on them here compared to my two recent posts about the Redskins and Packers. Don't worry! I'll still try to make this as interesting as possible!
Damn... even the Wikipedia entry for the Pittsburgh Ironmen is only 122 words. Yikes.
Heads Up: some of the photos are extremely grainy as many of these pictures are from the 40s-50s!
We Failed... Alright, Goodbye!
In the 1946-47 BAA Season, the league had eleven teams. Six of the teams were on the Eastern Conference, while five were on the Western Conference. The Top 3 teams from each conference would make it into the playoffs.
The Pittsburgh Ironmen were on the Western Conference. That means that the competition for them was easier as there was one less team to deal with to make it to the playoffs. However, they did not capitalize on that advantage... We'll come back to this later.
The person that led the Pittsburgh Ironmen was first-time head coach Paul Birch. Before becoming a head coach, Birch was actually a Forward-Guard in the NBL. He played in the NBL for six years and played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons, and the Youngstown Bears.
The NBL had some pretty cool team names.
Birch's best season was in his first year with the Pirates (1938-39). He averaged:
3.9 Field Goals