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Writing about the Bullets in the '40s

With Ted Leonsis writing that a move back to the Bullets nickname is under consideration, lots of people have been talking about the origins of that nickname this week. There are several stories floating around, and so I tried going through The Post's archives to find something definitive. That effort failed. But I did find this story from February of 1947. I enjoyed it. Maybe you will, too.

By Roger Wolbarst, Post Reporter

The Baltimore Bullets were only blank cartridges yesterday as the Washington Bears decisively defeated the invaders, 47-39, before a sell-out crowd at Turner's Arena.

Flashing great speed under the baskets, the Bears, led by Sugar Cain and Charlie Isles, ran the Bullets into the ground in the last period to break the game wide open.

The Bears moved into a 6-0 lead after the opening tap off, but Baltimore pulled even on a series of foul shots by big Mike Bloom, and a lay up by Capt. Bud Jeannette. At the end of the first period the Bullets led, 12-11.

Bears Get Going

At the start of the second stanza the Bears began moving the ball in their customary manner, and their shooting became more accurate. Johnny Isaacs and Cain dropped three baskets between them midway through the period to put the Bears ahead and they held a 24-20 lead at the gun.

Cleggie Hermsen, giant center who recently jumped the Toronto Club of the Basketball Association of America, dropped two goals to keep the Bullots [sic] in the game, but a fine hook shot by Buddy Wilson and two layups by Cain put the Bears ahead to stay.

With five minutes to play the Bears held a 38-31 margin, and they stayed in front to the finish, despite a flurry of baskets by Jeannette and Billy McKeever.

Caps Have Little to Fear

The Bullets, who have been trying to arrange a game with the Caps, will have to show lots more ability both under the baskets and from outside before they would stand a chance with Feerick, Scolari, McKinney and Co.

In fairness to the Bullets, it should be said that the officiating was far from good, and the mayhem perpetrated by both teams yesterday wouldn't go in the Association of America.

By Dan Steinberg  | October 8, 2010; 9:34 AM ET
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That's approaching Big 10 levels of low scoring.

Posted by: Colm1 | October 8, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Sugar Cain is possible the greatest name in the history of professional basketball players.

Posted by: EdTheRed | October 8, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

With a guy named Sugar Cain on the team, Charlie Isles nickname must have been Sunny.

Posted by: mojo6 | October 8, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I imagined a 1940's newsreel narrator voice as I read this article. Fits perfectly.

Posted by: smshadowman | October 8, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Why not call the team the Capitals? There is DC basketball history in the Caps name. NY had 2 teams named the Giants.

Posted by: JAMNEW | October 8, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

@smshadowman, I did the same thing. I like "blew the game wide open," when referencing a winning team having 47 points.

Posted by: walker_3000 | October 8, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Per wikipedia.

The team took their name from the Bata Bullets athletic shoes, which were made in nearby Harford County.

Posted by: don5438 | October 8, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Auerbach coached the Caps. Fat Freddie Scolari was my favorite, with his great set shot. They were the league champs!

What is it about teams from our youth that causes us to have fond memories frozen in time? The players' virtuosity was not as great as today, but the thrill of the game, itself, was every bit as vital.

Julian Tepper
Placitas, NM

Posted by: jutepper1 | October 9, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

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