When Jeep Had a Basketball Team: The Toledo Jeeps
Credit: NBA Hoops Online
Yes. The automotive company, Jeep, had a professional basketball team in the NBL from 1946-48, known as the Toledo Jeeps. Were they good? Not really. But still, a team with fascinating roots.
It wasn't rare for companies such as Jeep to own basketball teams in the NBL. Most companies were not really looking to actually win a championship. Many were trying to market and advertise their product, like Jeep.
Jeep wasn't the only company to do this. Goodyear had an NBL team from 1937-42 known as the Akron Goodyear Wingfoots. General Electric had an NBL team for only one year known as the Fort Wayne General Electrics.
We'll talk about those teams another day. We're here to talk about the Toledo Jeeps. The team was known as the Toledo Jeeps as the Toledo Complex in which they manufacture Jeeps was based in Toledo. I feel like the Jeep part of the 'Toledo Jeeps' is pretty self-explanatory.
1946-47: Their First Season
The Toledo Jeeps' first season was pretty mediocre. They weren't the best team, weren't the worst. The Jeeps ended up with a 21-23 record (47.7 W/L%). This made them the third seed in the Eastern Conference.
Offensive and Defensive Rating were not stats back then, so we'll have to rely on PPG and OPPG to indicate the teams' offense/scoring and defense. The Toledo Jeeps' PPG was 57.7. Out of twelve teams, they ranked sixth, so not bad! However, their OPPG was 56.8. They were the fourth-worst team when it came to OPPF (i.e., defense).
The Toledo Jeeps' duo consisted of Hal Tidrick, a 6'1" Forward-Guard, and Chips Sobek, a 6'0" Guard-Forward. They averaged:
5.3 Field Goals
2.6 Free Throws, 3.8 Free Throw Attempts
5.9 Field Goals
4.3 Free Throws, 5.9 Free Throw Attempts
Although they both basically averaged the same stat-line, only Hal Tidrick made the All-NBL Second Team.
If you add on Robert Gerber's points (9.1), the third-leading scorer, to Tidrick's and Sobek's PPG, you would get 37.4 points. On average, the Toledo Jeeps scored 56,8 points. That means the Top 3 Scorers scored 66% of the teams' points!