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

Category Archives: P

Brad Park


Brad Park (Hockey.  Born, Toronto, Ont., July 6, 1948.)  As the team’s first high-scoring defenseman, Douglas Bradford Park made his mark on Rangers history in less than seven full seasons.  Park became the first Rangers backliner with a hat trick (Dec. 12, 1971, against Pittsburgh) and the first to score 20 goals in a season (24 in 1971-72).  He exceeded his own record with 25 goals and a career-high 82 points in 1973-74, becoming the first defenseman in team history to lead the team in scoring.  In June 1974, Park was named the 15th captain in Rangers history, but on Nov. 7, 1975, he was traded to Boston in the blockbuster deal that brought Phil Esposito to the Garden.  He left with 378 points in 465 games for the Rangers, a record point total at the time for the club’s defensmen (Harry Howell had 345).  He was a First Team or Second Team All-Star in five straight seasons with the Rangers (1969-70 throught 1973-74) and was generally acknowledged to be the league’s second-best defensemen, behind Bobby Orr.  Knee problems limited him to 52 games in 1972-73 and injuries kept him out of 15 games in 1974-75.  Park played seven full years with Boston and two with Detroit before retiring in 1985 with 896 points (213 goals) in 1,113 N.H.L. games.  Park helped the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup final in 1972 with four goals and seven assists in 16 playoff games.

Dan Parker


Dan Parker (Sports editor.  Born, Waterbury, CT, July 1, 1893; died, Waterbury, CT, May 20, 1967.)  Among the longest-serving sports editors and columnists ever in New York, Daniel Francis Parker was titular head of the sports department at the Daily Mirror for 37 years (1926-63).  A physically large man (6’4”, 250 pounds), Parker was often pungent and acerbic but also compassionate (particularly with down-on-their-luck former athletes), often a crusader, and, on occasion, lightened his column with amusing rhythmic doggerel.  He began his career with the Waterbury American in 1913, but when the Mirror was launched in 1924, Parker was hired by sports editor Gene Fowler.  He thus served with the paper through its entire existence.  In later years, the actual production of the sports section of the paper (which for much of its life had a daily sale exceeding one million) was handled by others, including Harold Weisman and Irene Janowitz, technically Parker’s secretary.  But Parker remained as sports editor, devoting most of his time to composing his column, known for much of its run as “Broadway Bugle.”  He launched campaigns against fixed wrestling matches in the 1930s when the events were still billed as sports, against unscrupulous racetrack touts, and most notably, against underworld influence in boxing, an effort that produced investigations and convictions.  When the tabloid Mirror closed Oct. 16, 1963, Parker’s column was transferred to its Hearst-owned stablemate, the evening Journal-American.  Parker, however, continued to write from his office in the Mirror building at 235 East 45th Street until he retired in 1964.  He was the long-time president of the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund, founded by fellow Mirror columnist Walter Winchell.

Rob Parker


Rob Parker (Sportswriter.  Born, Jamaica, NY, Jan. 10, 1964.)  Robert Lee Parker, Jr., was a pro basketball writer for the Daily News for five seasons (1986-91) and, after tours with dailies in Cincinnati, O. (1991-93) and Detroit, Mich. (1993-95), returned to New York as a columnist for Newsday (1995-98).  He later became a reporter for ESPNNewYork.com

Dr. Jim Parkes


Dr. Jim Parkes (Team physician.  Born, Red Bank, NJ, Mar. 2, 1932; died, New York, NY, Dec. 13, 1999.)  Celebrated for getting the Knicks’ Willis Reed ready for the seventh game of the 1970 N.B.A. Final, Dr. James Creighton Parkes, II, was also the team physician for the Mets for 18 seasons (1974-91).  A graduate of Dartmouth and Harvard Medical, Dr. Parkes became attending surgeon at Manhattan’s Roosevelt Hospital.  In that capacity, he was called in to handle Reed’s torn thigh muscle in 1970.

Bill Paschal


Bill Paschal (Pro football.  Born, Atlanta, GA, May 28, 1921; died, Marietta, GA,May 25, 2003.)  Twice N.F.L. rushing champion during World War II, William A. Paschal was signed for $1,500 by the Giants in 1943 on the recommendation of sports columnist Grantland Rice.  Paschal had been working as a switchman for the Central of Georgia railroad while recovering from a knee injury sustained while playing for Georgia Tech.  A star at Atlanta’s Tech H.S. in both football and track, he was kept out of the military draft by his bad knee.  Paschal became an overnight sensation for the Giants, leading the league with 572 yards on 147 carries and scoring 10 touchdowns as the team tied for the East Division title but lost a playoff to Washington.  In 1944, Paschal became the first man to win the N.F.L. rushing title in successive years (737 yards on 196 rushes with nine touchdowns) and the Giants won the East Division race with an 8-1-1 record.  Paschal was the all-league fullback and his halfback partner Ward Cuff was also a first-team pick.  Injuries held him to 59 carries in 1945 (although one was a career-best 77-yard run).  Paschal played for the 1946 East champions and then spent two years with the Boston Yanks (1947-48) before retiring.  He played 31 games for the Giants in four years and rushed for 1,918 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Lester Patrick


Lester Patrick (Hockey.  Born, Drummondville, Ont., Dec. 31, 1883; died, Victoria, BC, June 1, 1960.)  Lester Patrick was the “Father of the New York Rangers.”  Conn Smythe assembled most of the original expansion team in 1926 before leaving after a squabble with Madison Square Garden management led by Tex Rickard.  Patrick stepped in, regrouped the team, and became symbolic of the Rangers.  Patrick coached the team from 1926-39 and served as general manager from the club’s inception through 1946.  During that span, he coached the Rangers to Stanley Cup wins in 1928 and 1933 and was the g.m. when the team, under coach Frank Boucher, won the Stanley Cup in 1940.  Known as the “Silver Fox” for his flowing mane of silver-grey hair, Patrick began playing organized hockey in 1902 at McGill University in Montreal.  He turned professional with the Renfrew Millionaires in 1909.  The following year he moved west and, with his father and brother Frank, started the Pacific Coast Hockey League and its Victoria team.  After the collapse of the P.C.H.L., Patrick became involved with the expansion of the N.H.L., which absorbed numerous players from the defunct western circuit.  He is perhaps most famous for going into the nets, as the Rangers’ 44-year-old coach-g.m., in the second game of the 1928 Stanley Cup final in Montreal, when the Rangers, trailing in the series 1-0, were playing the Maroons.  Patrick, substituting for injured goalie Lorne Chabot, held Montreal to one goal and the Rangers beat the Maroons on Boucher’s overtime goal, 2-1.

Muzz Patrick


Muzz Patrick (Hockey.  Born, Victoria, British Columbia, June 28, 1915; died; Riverside, CT, July 23, 1998.)  One of the finest all-around athletes ever produced in Canada, Frederick Murray Patrick was a star defenseman for the New York Rangers for a half-dozen seasons and later served as both head coach and general manager of the club.  After a tour with the New York Rovers, Patrick joined the Rangers in 1937 and played on a team coached by his father, the legendary Lester Patrick. He was also a key member of the 1940 Rangers team that won the Stanley Cup but he then became the first member of the team to enlist in the military when World War II broke out.  Patrick became the Rangers coach Jan. 6, 1954, and coached the team through the end of the 1954-55 season when he was named the third general manager in Rangers history after his father and his own former coach, Frank Boucher, coach of the 1940 Stanley Cup championship team, who served as general manager from 1946-54.  He remained as general manager until 1964 and also served another brief hitch as bench coach in 1962.  Perhaps even more astonishing is the fact that as a youngster in Canada, Patrick was celebrated as an athlete in no less than eight sports. Many felt that hockey was, in fact, not his best one.  He also starred in basketball, baseball, Canadian-style football, boxing, English rugby, cycle racing and track and field.  In 1936, he was sought for the Canadian Olympic team in two sports but had to undergo surgery on his nose instead. While playing for the Rovers (which he captained and was assistant coach), he fought in the Golden Gloves as a heavyweight and won his first 11 fights, eight by knockout.  He played basketball and hockey, and boxed, in the Garden, as well as serving as general manager of the Garden’s soccer team, the Skyliners, that played at Yankee Stadium in 1967.

Floyd Patterson


Floyd Patterson (Boxing.  Born, Waco, NC, Jan. 4, 1935; died, New Paltz, NY, May 11, 2006.)  Although he was born in North Carolina, New York fans adopted Floyd Patterson as one of their own, and he was to become a New York institution after making his pro debut at St. Nick’s Arena Sept. 12, 1952.  That fight, a two-round knockout of Eddie Godbolt, started Patterson on a road that was to lead to the heavyweight championship within four years.  Under the careful handling of Cus D’Amato, Patterson progressed steadily.  With the title vacated by Rocky Marciano’s retirement, Patterson and Archie Moore met in Chicago in Sept. 1956, and Patterson won the crown with a fifth-round knockout.  He was the youngest heavyweight champion ever at 21 years, 331 days of age.  He held the crown for nearly three years before losing in a surprise to Sweden’s Ingemar Johansson on June 25, 1959, at Yankee Stadium.  Patterson became the first man ever to regain the heavyweight title by defeating Johansson in a 1960 rematch at the Polo Grounds.  It was one of only two fights for Patterson at the Polo Grounds.  He fought only once at Yankee Stadium.  However, he fought 12 times at the Eastern Parkway Arena, three times at the St. Nicholas Arena, and six times at Madison Square Garden.  Patterson was the 1952 Olyrnpic middleweight champion and after losing his heavyweight championship again (to Sonny Liston in 1962 in Chicago), he eventually became chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission.

Red Patterson


Red Patterson (Public relations.  Born, Long Island City, NY, Feb. 1, 1909; died, Fullerton, CA, Feb. 10, 1992.)  Arthur E. (Red) Patterson had the unique distinction of being the first public relations director of the New York Yankees and the last one for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Patterson, a New York University graduate, covered baseball for the New York Herald Tribune during much of his 17-year career with the paper and served as chairman of the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers (1943-44) before joining the National League publicity operation in Dec. 1945.  In 1946, he became the first full-time public relations director for a major league team when he joined the Yankees.  Prior to that time, what publicity there was generally was handled by the club’s road secretary, who doubled as a part-time press agent.  Patterson stayed with the Yankees until 1954 when he moved to the Dodgers. During his tenure with the Yankees, he was instrumental in making Old Timers’ Day an annual event.  He also introduced the tape measure to baseball.  Mickey Mantle walloped a massive home run off the Senators’ Chuck Stobbs in Washington on April 17, 1953, and Patterson, as the legend has it, went outside, paced off the distance from the back of the ballpark, and found the youngster who collected the ball.  After doing that, he returned to the press box to announce the homer traveled 565 feet.  Jane Leavy’s book on Mantle has debunked that myth.  Home run measurements are now a standard item in baseball statistics.  When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, Patterson went along, and later served as president of the then-California Angels (1975-77).

Al Paul


Al Paul (College athletics.  Born, Baltimore, MD, Sept. 17, 1926.)  A coach and administrator, Alvin R. Paul was involved in New York sports for more than 40 years.  A graduate of Western Maryland, where he played football and lacrosse, Paul came to Hofstra as lacrosse coach and an assistant on Howdy Myers’ football staff in 1950.  Paul left Hofstra to join Buff Donelli’s staff as an assistant football coach at Columbia in 1960.  He was an assistant coach until 1967, when he was named assistant director of athletics, and the next year was named associate director under Ken Germann.  Paul then served as director of athletics, the fourth in Columbia history, for 17 years (1974-91) after Germann became commissioner of the Southern Conference.  Under Paul, Columbia built a new soccer stadium and replaced its 54-year-old wooden football stadium with a new building that was opened in 1984.  There were also several improvements to the gymnasium and the creation of the unique athletic consortium for woman athletes at Barnard College.

About This Dictionary

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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