Great story about Easy Ed Macauly’s high-revving engine at the U. of St. Louis.
Obit of the Day: “Easy Ed”
Ed Macauley was named captain of the University of St. Louis basketball team as a sophomore. His first game as captain, Ed led the team out of the locker room, ran down the court and threw in a layup. He heard no cheers, instead his teammates and coaches called out, “Take it easy, Ed.” Macauley was so excited that he hadn’t realized that he ran out as the National Anthem was being played. He earned some embarrassment and a nickname, “Easy Ed” Macauley.
“Easy Ed” won the 1948 NIT championship with St. Louis, at the time college basketball’s premiere tournament. The next spring he was drafted by the St. Louis Bombers of the NBA. He played one season in his home town before being traded to the Boston Celtics. For six seasons, Macauley played center alongside Hall of Fame guard Bob Cousy. They reached the playoffs every year but could not win the NBA championship. Before the 1956 draft, Red Auerbach, Hall of Fame coach of the Celtics, made a trade. He sent Ed and guard Cliff Hagen to the St. Louis Hawks in exchange for the number two draft pick that year. The Celtics picked Bill Russell.
The Hawks lost to Russell and the Celtics in the NBA Finals but came back the next year and won the 1957-1958 championship. It is the only championship in the history of the Hawks franchise, which is now located in Atlanta. Bill Russell won eleven for the Celtics. This becomes a great “what if” in NBA history.
Macauley, who was the MVP of the 1951 All-Star Game, was inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960. He averaged 17.3 points per game, 7.7 rebounds, and a .436 field goal percentage. Basketball-Reference.com compares him most favorably to Moses Malone and Bob Lanier.
In a terrific irony, Macauley’s uniform number, 22, was retired by the Celtics but not by the Hawks.
(Image copyright of St. Louis Post-Dispatch)