New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Category Archives: L

Clem Labine


Clem Labine (Baseball.  Born, Lincoln, RI, Aug. 6, 1926; died, Vero Beach, FL, Mar. 2, 2007.)  Primarily a righthanded reliever, Clement Walter Labine pitched perhaps the best game of his career as a starter in the 1956 World Series.  With Brooklyn down, three games to two, Labine pitched a 10-inning seven-hitter in Game 6, winning 1-0.  But the Dodgers lost Game 7.  Labine was called up from St. Paul in 1950 and appeared annually through 1953, when he came up from Brooklyn to stay.  From 1955-57, he appeared in 180 games, starting only 11.  When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, Labine had 59-35 record (13-5 in 1955 in a league-high 60 games).  His career ended in 1962 when he appeared in three games for the Mets (0-0).

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Mike LaChance


Mike LaChance (Harness racing. Born, St. Augustin, P.Q., Dec. 12, 1950.) Coming from a small cattle farm in Quebec, Michel Lachance became a leading driver at Yonkers, Roosevelt, and the Meadowlands racetracks. Lachance arrived in New York in 1982 and soon supplanted Carmine Abbatiello as the king of the New York half-mile tracks. He erased Abbatiello’s single-season marks in 1984 by becoming the first driver to win 200 races in one year at both Yonkers and Roosevelt. Lachance shifted to the Meadowlands in 1988 and ranked in the top five at the sport’s leading track for 15 straight seasons. Lachance teamed with trained Ron Gurfein to win three Hambletonians with Victory Dream (1994), Continentalvictory (1996), and Self Possessed (1999). In 2003, he won a fourth Hambletonian with Amigo Hall. Lachance was inducted into harness racing’s living Hall of Fame in 1995. – M.F.

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Marty Lader


Marty Lader  (Sportswriter.  Born, Brooklyn, Jan. 29, 1936.)  During his 33-year career at U.P.I. (1960-93), Martin Lader became a leading wire service authority on tennis, regularly covering the U.S. Open and other major events.  Lader began at what was then United Press in 1956 as an agate clerk.  (The organization became U.P.I. in 1958 when U.P. merged with the International News Service.)  Lader left U.P.I. for a year (1959-60) to be a general-assignment reporter for the Melbourne Herald in Australia.  In 1993, he went to The Record of Hackensack, N.J., on the sports copy desk.  Lader has also been an active freelance writer, doing books on the Olympics, hockey, and basketball.  He has also contributed to golf almanacs and tennis encyclopedias, as well as writing numerous magazine articles on a variety of sports.

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Wendell Ladner


Wendell Ladner (Pro basketball. Born, Necaise Crossing, MS, Oct. 6, 1948; died, New York, NY, June 24, 1975.) A popular 6’5”, 220-pound forward who played with four A.B.A. teams, Wendell Ladner was killed in a plane crash in at Kennedy Airport while with the New York Nets. Ladner played for three A.B.A. teams before being traded, with Mike Gale, by Kentucky to the Nets in Jan. 1974. His Nets career consisted of 55 regular-season games, during which he scored 306 points (5.6 per game). He was a member of the 1973-74 Nets A.B.A. championship team, but played only 25 games the next season following knee surgery. His uniform number 4 was retired by the team.

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Pete Lammons


Pete Lammons (Pro football. Born, Crockett, TX, Oct. 20, 1943.) As a linebacker and end at Texas, Pete Spencer Lammons, Jr., attracted only mild interest from pro scouts. Lammons was thought to be too small to be a linebacker and too slow to be an end. He did intercept two passes by Alabama’s Joe Namath in the 1965 Orange Bowl. Lammons became an eighth-round pick by the Jets in 1966. Before his six-season career (1966-71) ended, he missed just one game, became a top blocking tight end and at his retirement was the Jets’ fourth-highest career receiver. Lammons led all A.F.L. tight ends in receptions (41) as a rookie and was an A.F.L. All-Star the next year, when he caught 45 passes. In the 1968 A.F.L. championship game at Shea Stadium, Lammons had four receptions for 52 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown from Namath in the third quarter to help the Jets win, 27-23. For his career, he had 184 catches for 2,345 yards (12.7 yards per reception) and scored 14 touchdowns.

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Lou Lamoriello


Lou Lamoriello (Hockey. Born, Providence, RI, Oct. 21, 1942.) By building a team that in 2003 won the Stanley Cup for the third time in nine seasons, Lou Lamoriello solidified his place as one of hockey’s outstanding executives. After a career at Providence College in which he was an athlete, coach, and athletic director, Lamoriello became president of the Devils on Apr. 30, 1987, succeeding Bob Butera. He had played hockey and baseball for the Friars and became notable during his 15 seasons as the Providence hockey coach. His overall record was 248-179-13 and his last five seasons were a stellar 107-58-13 with an N.C.A.A. Final Four appearance in 1983, his final season as Friars coach. Lamoriello spent the next five years as the school’s athletic director and, among other activities, hired Rick Pitino as basketball coach and saw that program elevated to national status. He was also among the founders of the Hockey East Association, one of the country’s most prestigious collegiate hockey leagues. In 1992, he won the Lester Patrick Award for his contributions to hockey. In 1995, the Devils won the Stanley Cup with a startling four-game sweep of the Detroit Red Wings. His club won a second Cup in 2000 and made the Final again the next year. Lamoriello was retained as president-general manager after the sale of the club to the YankeeNets consortium in Aug. 2000 and again when the club was sold in 2004.

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Jake LaMotta


Jake LaMotta (Boxing. Born, The Bronx, NY, July 10, 1922.) One of the celebrated middleweight champions of the post-World War II era, Jake LaMotta remains one of the most popular fighters in New York history. LaMotta’s heyday coincided with the advent of boxing as a major television attraction and he became nationally known even before his victory with a 10th – round knockout over Marcel Cerdan won him the middleweight crown in Detroit, Mich., June 16, 1949. During his colorful career, LaMotta had 37 fights in New York, winning all but four of them. He also fought another 11 bouts in the metropolitan area, including five in White Plains, three in Brooklyn, two in Long Island City, and another in Woodhaven. His rough, aggressive style earned him a loyal and enthusiastic following among New Yorkers. LaMotta collected 30 knockouts among his 83 career pro wins and was knocked out only four times. Unfortunately, one of those kayos came Feb. 14, 1951, in Chicago, Ill., at the hands of Sugar Ray Robinson, and cost LaMotta his title. Although undisputed middleweight champion for slightly less than two years, LaMotta’s name and fame were ensured by his nickname, “The Raging Bull,” which became the title of a major film. His professional career encompassed 106 bouts, of which lost only 19. LaMotta had not fought a draw when he retired nor did he want any. He always fought to win, all out, and usually did.

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Kennesaw Mountain Landis


Kennesaw Mountain Landis (Baseball. Born, Millville, OH, Nov. 20, 1866; died, Chicago, IL, Nov. 25, 1944.) A former federal judge, Kennesaw Mountain Landis became baseball’s first commissioner in the wake of the 1919 “Black Sox” World Series dumping scandal that rocked the public’s confidence in the game. Landis barred all eight Chicago players for life even after they were found not guilty of conspiracy by a hometown jury. Later, he suspended for life Giants Jimmy O’Connell and coach Cozy Dolan and, separately, pitcher Phil Douglas for conspiring to throw games. Landis fined and gave suspensions to Babe Ruth, among others, and freed dozens of minor leaguers on contract violations. He disciplined several owners and ordered that the receipts from Game 2 of the 1922 World Series be donated to charity when he disagreed with the umpires’ decision to call the game because of darkness.

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Dick Landon


Dick Landon (Track and field. Born, Salisbury, CT, Nov. 20, 1898; died, Lynbrook, NY, June 13, 1971.) A Yale star and I.C.4A. champion in the high jump, Richmond Wilcox Landon was a gold medalist in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. Landon won the gold (despite some controversy) by being the only jumper to clear 6’4” (well below the world record at the time), which was then an Olympic Games record. The controversy occurred when Bo Ekelund of Sweden was distracted by an American official on his final try at 6’4”. Ekelund hit the bar and finished third. Landon later married U.S. Olympic high diver Alice H. Lord.

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Tom Landry


Tom Landry (Pro football. Born, Mission, TX, Sept. 11, 1924; died, Dallas, TX, Feb. 12, 2000.) Though later justifiably famed as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Thomas Wade Landry was part of the New York pro football scene for 11 seasons (1949-59). A quarterback and defensive halfback out of Texas, Landry signed with the Yankees of the A.A.F.C. in 1949. When the A.A.F.C. folded following that season, he was chosen by the Giants in the dispersal draft. Landry played six seasons (1950-55) for the Giants, with 1952 by far the most interesting. A member of coach Steve Owen’s “umbrella defense,” Landry was pressed into action as a quarterback. He threw 47 passes and completed 11 for 172 yards and one touchdown. On defense, Landry intercepted eight passes. As a quarterback, he threw seven interceptions. He ran for one touchdown and returned one interception for a score. Landry retired before the 1956 season and served four years (1956-59) as a Giants defensive coach – during which time the Giants won three East Division titles and one N.F.L. championship game – before going to Dallas.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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