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Pittsburgh Pirates

Founded:  1937
Folded:   1939
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Arena:    Duquesne U Gym 
Built in:
Titles:   0

Pittsburgh YMHA, an amateur and professional basketball team located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that played for two seasons in the mid-1930s in the Midwest Basketball Conference.

The team was formed in 1931 by the Pittsburgh Young Menís Hebrew Association, to compete against YMCA and other amateur teams. The team was a barnstorming team that toured throughout the northeast section of the country. In the 1930s Jewish players were highly prominent in basketball, and the Pittsburgh team was indicative of the Jewish presence in basketball.

Pittsburgh YMHA turned professional in the 1935-36 season by competing in the newly formed Midwest Basketball Conference, which was composed mostly of industrial teams. The Pittsburgh team was recruited largely from the college stars that competed for University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University. Pittsburgh did extraordinary in its first season of MBC competition, finishing the season in second place in the Eastern Division with a 10-7 record, a half game behind the Akron Firestone Non-Skids with a 11-7 record (one of the problems with the new league was the unequal number of games played by the teams). In the playoffs of the two top teams of each divisions, Pittsburgh did poorly, ending up with two losses and a fourth place finish.

In the MBC second season, 1936-37, Pittsburgh YMHA did horribly, finishing last in the Eastern Division with a 2-9 record and the rights to the team was sold.

In 1937 the MBC changed names to the National Basketball League and the YHMA changed their name to the Pirates after the MLB team in the city. The team also changed directions and stopped trying to be an all Jewish team and more inclusive.

The team played two seasons in the NBL before disbanding for good.

In 1944-45 the NBL again tried a team in Pittsburgh named the Raiders but they too failed after just one season.

Edward Wisbar 1937-38

Year League Record Reg. Season Playoffs
1935-36MBC10-7 (.611)2nd, EasternLost first round
1936-37MBC2-9 (.182)6th, EasternNo playoffs
1937-38NBL 8-5 (.615) 3rd, Eastern No playoff
1938-39NBL 13-14 (.481) 4th, Eastern No playoff

Hyman Ginsburg

William Jesko

The Pittsburgh YMHA basketball team from sometime in 1930s when they were an all-Jewish barnstorming team.
Identified are the following: Row 1, Bill Cole, Al Abrams, unidentified, and Al Epstein; Row 2, Abe Golomb, Joe Singer, Malk Linton, Harry (Cutsey) Levine, Dave Olbum, and George Levinson.