Pictures from the past in St. Louis sports…
Sunday January 17th 2021

Hawks Playoffs – 11

Ritchie Guerin reaches high to control the ball from Baltimore’s Bailey Howell in this third game of the 1965 Western Division Semi-Finals, a Bullet’s victory that set up the clincher two nights later in Baltimore…Bob Pettit’s farewell.

Hawks Playoffs – 12

Lennie Wilkins drives around Guy Rodgers of the Chicago Bulls in the 1966 Western Division opening round of the playoffs…the Hawks won this game and closed out the Bulls three straight…setting up the best of seven division final with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Hawks Playoffs – 13

The Hawks got off to a rough start in that series..losing the first two games in L.A. Here rookie Jeff Mullins gets faked out by superstar Jerry West, who then hit for two of his 31 points in the second game…and the Hawks hopes were flickering at 0-2.

Hawks Playoffs – 14

The Hawks won game three at home, but in a surprise, the Lakers took game four at Kiel and led the series 3-1. It’s Zelmo Beatty over the Lakers Leroy Ellis for the rebound, and the Hawks as a team needed to rebound to avoid an early exit in 1966.

Hawks Playoffs – 15

The Headline in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the day this photo appeared said it all….’ROAR OF CROWD PROPELS HAWKS TO VICTORY’…after winning game five in L.A. the Hawks came back to Kiel on Wednesday, April 13th, 1966 and a beer vendor could have cleaned up selling ear plugs on the side, especially in the exciting fourth quarter! I know…I was there…and I’ve never heard a crowd like it since at a basketball game….It was hustle like this from then Hawk’s player-coach Ritchie Guerin that gave St. Louis a 131-127 victory and knotted the series at three game apiece.

Hawks Playoffs – 16

This ad from the Post the day of the seventh game at the L.A. Sports Arena was a bit off target, but Hawk fans got the idea…the game was televised live on Channel 11 the night of Friday, April 15th, 1966…but the ad invites you to LISTEN live…oh, well…before the game that night, the final quarter of the sixth game the night before at Kiel was shown and Hawk fans were ready…but what a letdown! Leading by two with 7 minutes to play, the Hawks faltered at the end and the Lakers pulled away with a 130-121 win and took the series..hey, there’s always next year!!

Hawks Playoffs – 17

And the following year the Hawks were right back in the chase…this is photo from game one of the 1967 Western Finals…Rick Barry around Ritchie Guerin in a Warriors win. Remember that series? Rick Barry in games three and four having the Snickers bars thrown at him…then splitting his pants and having to leave the game late in the fourth quarter of game six in St. Louis? None of it seemed to bother him as the led San Fransisco to victory in six games, ending the Hawks season on a sour note.

Hawks Playoffs – 18

And it was even worse the following year, the Hawks last in St. Louis….cocky and careless, they lost the opening round best of seven series to the San Fransisco Warriors of Jeff Mullins, the recently traded from the Lakers Rudy Larusso, Fred Hetzel, Clyde Lee, Nate Thurmond…and minus Rick Barry who had jumped to the newly formed ABA’S Oakland Oaks. Here’s a shot from game two of that series, Bill Bridges with a rebound….remember the Hawks final game in St. Louis? It was a Sunday afternoon in early April, and, of all places, at the fieldhouse of Washington University. A scheduling conflict with a circus drove them out of Kiel for game five, a Hawk victory…but the series ended two nights later in San Fran and the Warriors won in six games. Ironically, the Hawks had beaten the Warriors six times in seven games that year in regular season play, but the playoffs were another story…less than two months later, owner Ben Kerner sold the team to an Atlanta interest, and as we say..and in this case…sadly….the rest is history!!

Hawks Extras – 20

Player….Coach….NBA All-Star and one of the true great guards of the game….he came from a very small school  in upstate New York…I mean, had you ever heard of Iona College? But Ritchie Guerin more than made his mark on the game as both a player and leader…here’s his pic from a Hawks game program…circa 1967.

Hawks Extras – 19

An early Hawks team from the late 1950’s….Easy Ed leading the troops…

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