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Association for Professional Basketball Research

Team and League History

November 3, 1947
Jim Price announces that he will own the Birmingham franchise in the new Southern Professional Basketball League. The team will be named the Birmingham Vulcans.

The season is to begin later this month and the Vulcans will play their games at the Municipal Auditorium and the National Guard Armory.

Price also names Wheeler Flemming as player-coach. Kevin Connors, first baseman for the Mobile Bears baseball club, was to be the coach but he could not secure a release from the Boston Celtics.
  Southern Professional Basketball League   
   Birmingham Vulcans
   Gadsden Whiz Kids / Bessemer Whiz Kids
   Houston Mavericks
   Jackson Senators 
   Memphis Legionnaires
   Montgomery Rebels     Champion
   Nashville Vols
December 15, 1947
Manuel Dorsky and Abe Epsman quit the Vulcans after the game against the Gadsden Whiz Kids. The two players are some of the better players in the league. Dorsky said they had not been paid for the game they played in the month of November.

Dorsky said they quit because team owner Jim Price "held out on the paycheck" and they weren't the only dissatisfied players on the team. "There are more than us not satisfied. Some other players are going to quit before this thing is settled."

Price issued a statement saying, "I have released Manuel Dorsky for the good of the club. I haven't released Abe Epsman yet, but it looks like it's coming. They have caused dissention on the club by criticizing the players when on the bench. The reason they did not get paid for the game in November was that it would cause extra bookkeeping at the end of the year. We close our season February 29th, so we brought the November game over to the December records. All players have been paid in full."

December 19, 1947
After losing to the Montgomery Rebels by one point, 69-68, Price protests the outcome of the game with the league. At the end of the game a Rebel player was given an extra free throw due to an inadvertent whistle from the scorer's table. The league agreed and decreed the game will be replayed at a later date.

December 27, 1947
League commissioner Raymond Johnson announces that the winless Gadsden club has been relocated to Bessemer and will be known as the Bessemer Whiz Kids.

January 12, 1948
The league announces the Memphis Legionnaires franchise will move to Mobile and become the Mobile Bears. Games will be played in Mobile's Recreation Center.
January 23, 1948
Player-coach Wheeler Flemming resigns due to "constant changes in personnel which made it impossible to form a winning combination." General manager Jim Price responds by saying, "We are parting on the best of terms. I'm already lining up his successor and I'm keeping the wires hot looking for new players. Anybody who can strengthen our team, I'll sign."

January 26, 1948
Price announces the Vulcans have a new coach. Cherry Foster, one of Howard College's all-time basketball greats, will take over the team. Foster graduated from Howard in 1931.

February 16, 1948
Price announces that Vulcans head coach Cherry Foster is leaving the team to attend to his construction business in South Alabama. Price says he will coach the team until a replacement is found.

March 2, 1948
Johnson announces that Birmingham, Montgomery, and Nashville will form the playoff teams after Jackson withdraws due to injuries to three of their players. The three teams will play one another until a team has lost three games. Then, the remaining two teams will play a best three out of five series for the championship.

March 12, 1948
It is reported that all the former Vulcans players are considering suing team owner Jim Price for salaries they have not received for weeks. Price agrees the players are due some remaining payments but not to the extent they contend. Price says the team has enough money deposited with the league to pay the players what he believes they are due.

The Southern Professional Basketball League would play the following year but not with the Birmingham Vulcans. Owner Jim Price would instead field a new team for the SPBL named the Birmingham Steelers.

The Bessemer Whiz Kids also decide to fold after the season completes.

The SPBL decides to cease operations soon after the 1948-49 season ends.
Contact Gene Crowley
Last update: August 07, 2019