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

Category Archives: Z

Tom Zachary


Tom Zachary (Baseball.  Born, Graham, NC, May 7, 1896; died, Burlington, NC, Jan. 24, 1969.)  During a 19-year major league career, lefthander Jonathan Thompson Walton Zachary pitched for seven teams, including the Yankees and Brooklyn.  But Tom Zachary is most noted in New York sports lore for giving up Babe Ruth’s 60th home run when he was pitching for Washington.  Ruth’s homer on Sept. 30, the next-to-last day of the season, was a two-run shot in the eighth inning that gave the Yankees a 4-2 victory and set a record that stood for 34 seasons.  Zachary was 16-4 for the Yankees from 1928 to early 1930 (including 12-0 in 1929 with a 2.48 e.r.a. in 26 games) and was 12-21 for the Dodgers (1934-36).

Tony Zale


Tony Zale (Boxing.  Born, Gary, IN, May 29, 1913; died, Portage, IN, Mar. 20, 1997.)  “The Man of Steel” was one of the most appropriate names in boxing. Anthony Florian Zaleski was born in a town literally founded by the U.S. Steel Company (Gary was named after a president of U.S. Steel) and in a career that began in 1934 and ended in 1948, he fought up to the level of his nickname.  Zale fought four times in New York, once in Newark and once in Jersey City with each of these bouts being a major part of his career as middleweight champion. He won the title at Madison Square Garden, defended it successfully at Yankee Stadium and Newark’s Ruppert Stadium and lost it in Jersey City’s Roosevelt Stadium. His first New York appearance was a six-round win over Babe Orgovan on May 23, 1939, and he returned on Nov. 28, 1941, when he won the vacant middleweight crown with a 15-round decision over Georgie Abrams at the Garden. After World War II, he began a series of defenses against Rocky Graziano. The first was a six-round kayo of Graziano Sept. 27, 1946 at Yankee Stadium and the third was a three-round kayo of Graziano to regain the title at Newark’s Ruppert Stadium on June 10, 1948. (In between, Graziano, losing, knocked Zale out in the sixth round in Chicago to take the title.)  Zale had also lost a 15-round decision to light heavyweight Billy Conn on Feb. 13, 1942, in New York and lost his middleweight crown again to Marcel Cerdan when he was knocked out in the 12th round in Jersey City.  His colorful career saw him win 67 bouts (44 of them by knockout), lose 18 and fight two draws

Max Zaslofsky


Max Zaslofsky (Pro basketball.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Dec. 7, 1925; died, New Hyde Park, NY, Oct. 15, 1985.)  Known as “Max the Touch” for his uncanny accuracy with a two-hand set shot, Max Zaslofsky led the B.A.A. in scoring, played three years with the Knicks, and was the first coach of the Nets.  Zaslofsky’s career at St. John’s was interrupted by World War II and upon his return, he signed with Chicago in the new B.A.A. in 1946.  He led the league in scoring (21.0 points per game) in 1947-48, then came to the Knicks in the dispersal draft after Chicago folded in 1950.  In his Knicks career, Zaslofsky averaged 13.1 in 161 games.  In 1967, he became coach of the New Jersey Americans in the new A.B.A.  Zaslofsky also coached the club (then known as the New York Nets) in 1968-69 when it was based at the Long Island Arena in Commack, L.I.  His two-year record was 53-103 (.339).

Bob Zawoluk


Bob Zawoluk (College basketball.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Dec. 13, 1930; died, Spring Valley, NY, Jan. 9, 2007.)  In the first 80 years of basketball at St. John’s, only one team reached the N.C.A.A. national championship game and Robert Zawoluk was the scoring leader of that 1952 squad.  At 6’7”, Zawoluk made an immediate impact on St. John’s, averaging 20.3 points per game as a sophomore in 1949-50 for a team that was 24-5.  That year, he scored a school-record 65 points in a game against St. Peter’s (Mar. 3, 1950, in a 105-61 win).  As a junior, Zawoluk led the Redmen to third in the N.I.T. and a 26-5 season with a 21.1 average as well as a strong rebounding presence.  In the 1951-52 season, a better balanced team was 25-6, lost to Kansas (80-63) in the N.C.A.A. final, and Zawoluk averaged 18.9.  In his three-year career (1949-52), he scored a then-school record 1826 points in 91 games and the Redmen were 75-16.  Zawoluk had a three-year N.B.A. career with Indianapolis and Philadelphia (1952-55, 1210 points in 179 games, 6.8).

Vic Ziegel


Vic Ziegel (Sportswriting.  Born, New York, NY, Aug. 16, 1937; died, The Bronx, NY, July 23, 2010.)  As a versatile, tough, and incisive writer with an impish sense of humor, Victor Ziegel came out of City College to forge a considerable reputation at the New York Post for 19 years (1958-77).  Ziegel then became the columnist-sports editor at New York magazine, expanding his writing horizons to Inside Sports and Rolling Stone (1978-83).  He became the sports editor of the Daily News (1985-90), where he created a top staff, but returned to writing as a featured columnist at the paper.  Ziegel was equally at home with boxing, basketball, baseball, and a myriad of other subjects, often focusing on the human dimension outside of the events in which participants compete.

Steve Zungul


Steve Zungul (Soccer.  Born, Pozarevac, Yugoslavia, July 28, 1954.)  If there was ever a perfect offensive machine in indoor soccer, Slavisa Zungul was that machine.  Zungul, a 6-foot, 175-pound forward, had the reflexes, the speed, and the strength to continually get into scoring position.  Once there, he had the arsenal of shots to get the ball into the net.  Zungul led the New York Arrows to the first four championships of the Major Indoor Soccer League, leading the league three times in scoring in the process.  He missed six games in 1978-79 (the first M.I.S.L. season) and had only 43 goals in 18 games, finishing second in the scoring race by six points.  But Zungul delivered 90, 108, and 103 goals in the next three seasons to easily win the individual scoring title with 136, 153, and 163 points (including assists).  He was traded to Golden Bay late in the 1982-83 season and finished his New York career with 372 goals in 145 games.  His 108 goals in 1980-81 was the league record, as was his 163 points the following season.  Zungul also led M.I.S.L. scorers in 1982-83, 1984-85 (with San Diego), and 1985-86 (with Tacoma).

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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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