St. Louis Hawks

The St. Louis Hawks often soared near the heights of the National Basketball Association standings during their 13 seasons, taking one NBA title and leaving wonderful memories of great players and games.

The St. Louis Hawks : a gallery of images & memorabilia
by Greg Marecek.
St. Louis, MO : Reedy Press, c2007 + 1 sound disc.
Full court : the untold stories of the St. Louis Hawks
Greg Marecek.
St. Louis, MO. : Reedy Press, LLC ; 2006.
Includes bibliographical references and index.

Owner Ben Kerner, cherubic to fans yet a battler to referees and even his players and coaches, moved his unsuccessful Milwaukee Hawks here for the 1955-56 season. Behind high-scoring forward Bob Pettit, the transplanted Hawks made the playoffs - something they did every season except one in St. Louis.

Hawks' crowning achievement was a nail-biting 110-109 win over the Boston Celtics to capture the 1957-58 NBA title before a packed Kiel Auditorium in downtown St. Louis. Pettit, "Big Blue" to team radio broadcaster Buddy Blattner, scored 19 of the Hawks' final 21 points - and 50 for the game. Besides Pettit, that Hawks championship squad featured four other Hall of Famers: forward Cliff Hagan, center Ed Macauley, guard Slater "Dugie" Martin, and coach Alex Hannum.

With future Hall of Famers Clyde Lovellette and Lenny Wilkens joining, the Hawks perched atop the Western Division for three more seasons but lost twice to the Celtics in the finals.

Kiel Auditorium, home court for the Hawks and built in 1932 as a municipal auditorium, was named in honor of former St. Louis mayor Henry W. Kiel.

Kiel Auditorium

The Hawks dropped in the standings in the early 1960s, but with forward Lou Hudson, center Zelmo Beaty, and veteran guard-coach Richie Guerin, won the 1967-68 Western Division title before losing in the playoffs' first round.

A tired Kerner found no local buyers for the team and in May 1968 sold it to a group which moved the Hawks to Atlanta. The city of St. Louis has yet to see another team since then, except for an AAB basketball team for 2 seasons known as the Spirits of St. Louis.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff