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

Category Archives: B

Ping Bodie


Ping Bodie (Baseball.  Born, San Francisco, CA, Oct. 8, 1887; died, San Francisco, CA, Dec. 17, 1961.)  Born Francesco Stephano Pezzolo, Bodie had a nine-year big league career as an outfielder with three teams (1911-14, 1917-21).  A righthanded hitter, Bodie spent his final four seasons with the Yankees.  He was perhaps the first of many Italian-Americans to play in the majors and was said to have been an inspiration to the DiMaggio clan of San Francisco, among others.  Bodie was a centerfielder and good defensive player despite a thick (5’8”, 195 pounds) build.  His best year was 1920, when he hit .295 in 129 games.  That year, Bodie roomed with a young Babe Ruth, then in his first season with the Yankees.  When asked what Ruth was like, Bodie’s stock reply was, “I don’t know.  I don’t room with the Babe, I room with his suitcase.”  After his last season (1921) with the Yankees, he played several more years in the Pacific Coast League and in 1928 hit .348 for the San Francisco Missions.  Bodie batted .275 for his major league career in 1,049 games.

Dusty Boggess


Dusty Boggess (Baseball.  Born, Terrell, TX, June 7, 1904; died, Dallas, TX, July 8, 1968.)  Starting as a Class D shortstop at Waco of the Texas Association in 1923, Lynton Ross Boggess was a baseball lifer.  Boggers’ minor league career ended in 1934 and in 1939 he began umpiring in the Western League.  Boggess was an N.L. umpire for 18 years (1944-48, 1950-62), though he was out from June 27 to the end of the 1957 season due to illness.  He worked four All-Star games (1946, 1952, 1955, 1960 (at Yankee Stadium)) and five World Series (1940, 1952, 1954, 1958, 1962), places he never would have gone as a middle infielder.  Boggess had every umpire he worked with in the majors autograph a baseball and had the balls buried with him.

Wade Boggs


Wade Boggs (Baseball.  Born, Omaha, NE, June 15, 1958.)  In his 11 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, Wade Anthony Boggs estalished himself as one of the premier hitters in baseball, but hardly a favorite of Yankees fans.  However, once incumbent third baseman Charlie Hayes went to Colorado in the 1992 expansion draft, it took the Yankees less than a month to sign free agent Boggs (Dec. 15, 1992).  In five seasons (602 games) with the Yanks, he accumulated 702 of his career 3,010 hits and batted .314.  Few who saw it will ever forget the sight of Boggs mounted on a New York City police horse riding around the warning track in the Yankee Stadium outfield after the sixth game of the 1996 World Series.  He had won his championship ring and earned the plaudits of Yankees fans (who were, at first, hesitant to accept him).  By mid-1993, Boggs had thoroughly modified his batting stroke (away from the inside-out, hit-to-left style so useful in Fenway Park) to become an effective Yankee Stadium hitter.  He finished his 18-year career with two seasons (1998-99) with the expansion Devil Rays in his adopted hometown of Tampa, Fla., where he became baseball’s 23rd 3,000-hit player.

Vladimir Bogicevic


Vladimir Bogicevic (Soccer.  Born, Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Nov. 6, 1950.)  Signing with the N.A.S.L. Cosmos from Red Star Belgrade, Vladimis Bogicevic made an immediate impact in the 1978 season.  “Bogie” scored 10 goals in 30 games and helped the Cosmos win their third Soccer Bowl title and second in succession.  He was to play on two more championship teams (1980, 1982) but never reached the 10-goal plateau again.  Instead, Bogicevic became the N.A.S.L. playmaking leader.  He led the league four times in five years in assists (1979, 1981-83) and had a career N.A.S.L.-record 134 assists by the end of the 1983 season.  Bogicevic was chosen a Second Team All-Star his first two seasons and to the First Team the next four as his playmaking skills became easily the league’s finest.

Lynn Bomar


Lynn Bomar (Pro football.  Born, Gallatin, Tex., Jan. 21, 1901; died, June 11, 1964.)  A tough, two-way end from Vanderbilt, Lynn Bomar was an original Football Giant who played two seasons (1925-26) with the team and scored five touchdowns (three in 1925, two in 1926).

Oscar Bonavena


Oscar Bonavena (Boxing.  Born, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sept. 25, 1942; died, Reno, NV, May 22, 1976.)  A serious heavyweight contender who once took Muhammad Ali 15 rounds, Oscar Natalio Bonavena was never quite good enough to beat a top heavyweight.  Among his eight career losses in 67 fights were those to Zora Folley (1965), Jimmy Ellis (1967), Floyd Patterson (1972), and Ron Lyle (1974).  Bonavena lost a 15-round decision to Joe Frazier in Philadelphia, Penna., Dec. 10, 1968, and to Ali, who knocked him out in the 15th round Dec. 7, 1970, before 19,417 at the Garden.  He scored 46 KOs in his career, was knocked out only once (by Ali), and held the South American heavyweight crown from 1965 until his death.

Filip Bondy


Filip Bondy (Sportswriter.  Born, New York, NY, Jan. 3, 1952.)  Best known for his whimsical columns from Wimbledon during the tennis fortnight there and his “Bleacher Creature” features on Yankee Stadium fans, Filip Joseph Bondy brings a unique perspective to Daily News readers.  Bondy is a skilled and experienced reporter who has covered football, pro basketball, hockey, soccer, and Olympic sports as well as tennis and baseball.  He began his career at the old Paterson (N.J.) News in June 1973 as a City Hall reporter, theatre critic, and basketball writer.  After a hiatus to earn his M.A. in Communications at Pennsylvania (1974-76), Bondy returned to the Paterson News (1976-80) before moving to The Record of Hackensack, N.J., in June 1980, where he covered baseball and basketball.  In Aug. 1983, Bondy began his first term at the Daily News as a columnist and writer.  He moved to The New York Times in March 1991, primarily as a hockey and Olympic writer, but returned to the Daily News as a regular columnist in June 1993.  His son, Stefan, is also a member of the News sports staff.

Tiny Bonham


Tiny Bonham (Baseball.  Born, Ione, CA, Aug. 16, 1913; died, Pittsburgh, PA, Sept. 15, 1949.)  A husky righthander (6’2”, 220 pounds), Ernest Edward Bonham helped pitch the Yankees to the 1942 A.L. pennant with a 21-5 record.  Bonham spent seven seasons with the Yankees (1940-46) and was 79-50, with over a quarter of his victories coming in 1942.  He was 15-8 in 1943 and 12-9 the next year.  Bonham won the fifth (and final) game of the 1941 Series with a four-hitter against Brooklyn but lost a game each in 1942 and 1943 against St. Louis.  He was traded to Pittsburgh Oct. 21, 1946, after being slowed by back problems, but was 7-4 with six straight wins when struck down by complications from appendicitis in 1949.  Bonham was 103-72 for his 10-year career.

Bobby Bonilla


Bobby Bonilla (Baseball.  Born, New York, NY, Feb. 23, 1963.)  The general impression that Roberto Martin Antonio Bonilla did nothing positive during his two tours with the Mets (1992-95, 1999) is not entirely correct.  Signed as a free agent (and telling sportswriters they’d never be able to “wipe the smile off my face”), Bonilla, in fact, had the biggest home run year of his career (34) with the Mets in 1993.  Other than that, though, it seemed to be one unpleasant, silly, or downright childish incident after another.  He evidently caused a call to be made to the press box on Opening Day to try to influence official scorer Red Foley, got a two-game suspension for bumping an umpire, and spent three weeks on the disabled list in Aug. 1992.  Then came his clubhouse tirade against writer Bob Klapisch, who had written critically of him in a book, in which he volunteered to “Show you The Bronx,” which compounded his generally tempestuous relationship with the writers.  Finally, Bonilla was traded to Baltimore (July 28, 1995) after 91 homers in 455 games.  Surprisingly, he returned in 1999, but spent most of the year either in the doghouse or on the disabled list.  The switch-hitter had four homers in 60 games, batted .160, and drove in 18 runs.  The Mets released him Jan. 3, 2000.

Bill Bonthron


Bill Bonthron (Track and field.  Born, Detroit, MI, Nov. 1, 1912; died, Princeton, NJ, Jan. 17, 1983.)  One of the star milers of the mid-1930s, William R. Bonthron was a Princeton man who often dwelled in the shadow of the immortal Glenn Cunningham.  But Bonthron’s career was not without its notable successes.  As a junior, he set a U.S. mile record of 4:08.7 and also won three events in the Princeton-Yale dual meet on the cinders of Palmer Stadium (the 800, 1,500, and 3,000 meters).  In 1934, Bonthron won the Baxter Mile in the N.Y.A.C. Games at Madison Square Garden (beating Cunningham) in 4:14.0, his best indoor mile time.  Later that year, he defeated Cunningham again, setting a world record (3:48.8) in winning the 1,500 in the A.A.U. nationals outdoors.  That feat helped him win the 1934 Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete.

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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About Bill Shannon

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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