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

Category Archives: B

Aaron Boone


Aaron Boone (Baseball.  Born, La Mesa, CA, Mar. 9, 1973.)  Shortly after midnight on Oct. 17, 2003, Aaron John Boone wrote himself into the annals of New York sports with a dramatic pennant-winning home run at Yankee Stadium.  Boone, who entered the game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement, hit the first pitch in the bottom of the 11th inning into the leftfield seats.  His homer, off Boston reliever Tim Wakefield, ended the seventh game of the A.L. Championship Series, giving the Yankees a 6-5 victory and their 39th A.L. pennant.  Boone had joined the Yankees July 31, 2003, from Cincinnati in a trade that sent pitchers Brandon Claussen and Charlie Manning with cash to the Reds.  He hit just .254 with six homers in 54 games as the regular third baseman for the Yankees and had only five hits in 31 playoff at-bats prior to his homer.  On Jan. 16, 2004, Boone tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a pick-up basketball game in California, prompting the Yankees to trade for Alex Rodriguez to play third base.

Albie Booth


Albie Booth (College football.  Born, New Haven, CT, Feb. 1, 1908; died, New York, NY, Mar. 1, 1959.)  Yale’s legendary Albert J. Booth was one of the magic names of the “Golden Age” in American sports during the 1920s and early 1930s.  He stood only 5’7” and played at about 144 pounds, but he led Eli football teams through three seasons in which they lost only five times against the toughest competition available.  He was often called “the watch fob back” as his stature was comparable to the small counterweight on the opposite end of a pocket watch chain.  Booth was a star baseball player and captained the Yale basketball team as a senior, but it was in football that he earned fame.  Yale faced Army in the third game of the 1929 season.  The Cadets’ famed Chris Cagle ran for a 65-yard touchdown, but it was “Little Boy Blue” about whom America read the next morning in its sports sections.  He turned in a 75-yard punt return, a 70-yard kickoff return and a 75-yard touchdown run, gained 233 yards rushing on 33 carries and drove the Bulldogs to a 21-13 win.  Later that season, Booth scored all of the points in Yale’s 14-6 win over Brown.  After missing the Princeton game with pneumonia in 1931, Booth came back with a 53-yard touchdown run and a 96-yard kickoff return against Dartmouth.  He finished his football season with a 24-yard field goal in the final 14 seconds to beat Harvard, 3-0.  In addition, he hit a grand slam homer the following spring to beat Harvard in baseball, 4-3.

Frenchy Bordagaray


Frenchy Bordagaray (Baseball.  Born, Coalinga, CA, Jan. 3, 1910; died, Ventura, CA, Apr. 13, 2000.)  During two tours with Brooklyn and a brief stint with the Yankees, fun-loving utility man Stanley George Bordagaray more than earned his reputation as one of baseball’s characters.  Bordagaray’s career was 11 seasons in 12 years (1934-45) with five teams, but it was with the Dodgers (1935-36, 1942-45) that he spent most of his time.  A college football player (Fresno State), he never gave up the joie de vivre of his French heritage.  When he appeared at spring training in 1935 with a handlebar mustache, manager Casey Stengel (something of a character himself) made him shave it off.  Bordagaray blamed its absence for his slow start but hit .282 in 120 games.  After a fine and suspension for allegedly spitting at an umpire, he said, “Maybe I did wrong, but the penalty was more than I expectorated.”  Bordagaray batted .315 in 1936 but was traded Dec. 3 to the St. Louis Cardinals.  In 1941, he wound up with the Yankees, but after suggesting to manager Joe McCarthy that Stengel would have “won 15 pennants” with the Yankees’ talent, he was released (even though he might have been correct and certainly was prescient).  Bordagaray re-signed with Brooklyn, where he spent the war years (hitting .302 in 1943 and stealing 22 bases in 1944).  War’s end also ended his big league career.  Bordagaray batted .283 in 930 big league games.  He also appeared twice in the World Series, both times as a pinch runner for catchers (1939 Cincinnati for Ernie Lombardi twice and 1941 Yankees for Bill Dickey).  For nearly four decades, Bordagaray operated a glass and metal works in Ventura, Calif.

Bjorn Borg


Bjorn Borg (Tennis.  Born, Sodertalje, Sweden, June 6, 1956.)  Seldom has any world-class athlete come to New York more often for more frustration than Bjorn Borg.  Borg first appeared in the U.S. Open in 1972 and played every year through 1981, compiling a 40-10 record.  Although he was a dominant player everywhere in the world (winning five straight Wimbledon singles, 1976-80, and six French Open crowns), he never won in New York.  Borg made four U.S. Open finals, losing twice to Jimmy Connors (1976, 1978) and twice to John McEnroe (1980-81).  For good measure, he lost the Grand Masters Final at Madison Square Garden in 1977, though he did win that event twice (1979, 1980) before effectively retiring at the end of the 1981 tournament season.

Sid Borgia


Sid Borgia (Pro basketball.  Born, Farmington, W. Va., Jan. 10, 1917; died, Jan. 24, 1999.)  There were few smaller (5’5”) or more memorable referees in pro basketball than Sid Borgia.  All fans of the game are familiar with a photo of Wilt Chamberlain (7’1”) towering over Borgia  during a “discussion” of a foul call.  Borgia, who ran a florist shop in New York for many years, began officiating Boys Clubs games at age 16.  He joined the newly-formed Basketball Association of America in 1946.  The B.A.A. merged with the National Basketball League to form the N.B.A. in 1949 and Borgia went into the new combination.  He remained an active referee until the end of the 1961-62 season.  He worked over 2,000 regular-season and playoff games in 16 seasons in the league.  In addition to dozens of playoff games, Borgia refereed eight N.B.A. All-Star Games (1952-54, 1957, 1960, and 1962-64).  He then became the N.B.A.’s supervisor of officials (1962-66).  Borgia’s long career is more than ample testimony to his competence as well as his tenacity.  Marv Albert ascribes his famed “Yes, and it counts!” call to, as a child, his imitating Borgia.

Benny Borgmann


Benny Borgmann (Pro basketball.  Born, Haledon, NJ, Nov. 2, 1899; died, Pompton Plains, NJ, Nov. 11, 1978.)  A high-scoring guard (5’8”) in the embryonic days of pro basketball, Bernhard Borgmann later became both a pro and college coach.  Borgmann was a quick man who was also a deadly shooter and well above the norm from the foul line in his era.  In 1924-25, he led the Metropolitan League in scoring with an 11.8 average over 33 games, more than three points per game higher than any other regular player in the league.  During his career (1918-40), Borgmann played more than 2,500 games with various teams in different leagues, but achieved his early fame with clubs in Paterson, N.J.  He later coached pro teams in Paterson and Syracuse, N.Y., and both the St. Michael’s of Vermont (1947-50) and Muhlenberg (1950-54) college squads.

Julius Boros


Julius Boros (Golf.  Born, Fairfield, CY, Mar. 3, 1920; died, Fort Lauderdale, FL, May 28, 1974.)  Joining the P.G.A. Tour in 1950, Julius Nicholas Boros played it for a quarter-century.  Boros won under $1 million purse money during that time, but older was definitely better for him.  Almost half of his prize winnings came after his 40th birthday.  Boros won the U.S. Open twice (1952, 1963) and the latter win made him the second-oldest ever to take that title (next to Ted Ray, 1920).  But there was more to come.  In 1968, Boros captured the P.G.A. championship at San Antonio, Tex., and the Westchester Classic.  He finally switched to senior play and won the P.G.A. Senior in 1971.

Jean Borotra


Jean Borotra (Tennis.  Born, Biarritz, France, Aug. 13, 1898; died, Arbonne, France, July 17, 1994.)  A French Davis Cup hero and winner of three of the four major tournaments during his career, Jean Borotra missed only at Forest Hills.  Borotra, known as the “Bounding Basque,” lost an all-French final to Rene Lacoste in 1926, 6-4, 6-0, 6-4.  One of the “Four Musketeers” of French tennis (with Lacoste, Henri Cochet, and Jacques Brugnon), he won the French championship in 1924 and 1931, Wimbledon in 1924 and 1926, and the Australian title in his only try in 1928.

Hank Borowy


Hank Borowy (Baseball.  Born, Bloomfield, NJ, May 12, 1916; died, Brick, NJ, Aug. 23, 2004.)  After going 38-27 in three years for the Newark Bears, the Yankees’ premier farm team, Henry Ludwig Borowy finally made it to the big club in 1942.  The righthander was 15-4 as a rookie as the Yankees won the pennant.  In 1943, the Fordham graduate was 14-9 and won the third game of the World Series, which the Yankees captured in five games.  Borowy was 56-30 for the Yankees when he was sold July 27, 1945, to the Chicago Cubs for a reported $95,000.  Borowy was 11-2 in 15 starts and pitched the Cubs to the pennant.  He threw a six-hit shutout in the opening game of the World Series against Detroit.  But Borowy then pitched in the last three games of the seven-game series, winning one and losing one in relief before starting the seventh game on one day’s rest.  He got shelled out in the first inning and was never the same.  Borowy pitched for the Cubs through 1948 and three other teams (including Detroit) until retiring after the 1951 season with a 108-82 career record.

Vince Boryla


Vince Boryla (Pro basketball.  Born, East Chicago, IN, Mar. 11, 1927.)  After a pre-pro career that included two tours at Notre Dame, a year at the University of Denver, six months at the U.S. Naval Academy, service time in both the U.S. Navy (at Great Lakes Naval Air Station) and the Army Air Corps (Fort Sheridan, Ill., and Lowery Air Base, Colo.) as well as two years with the Denver Nuggets A.A.U. team, Vince Boryla wound up with the Knicks in 1949.  (He was also a member of the 1948 U.S. gold medal Olympic team.)  As a 6’5” forward, Boryla averaged 11.2 points in 285 N.B.A. games and led the Knicks in scoring in 1950-51 (982 points, 14.9 average).  On Feb. 10, 1956, Joe Lapchick resigned and Boryla succeeded him as the third head coach in Knicks history.  He had an 80-85 record through the end of 1957-58, including 9-12 for the balance of the 1955-56 season.  Boryla then retired to pursue business interests in Denver.  He returned to the Knicks as general manager in 1960-61 before again returning to Denver and private business, although he remained as a western scout for the team for two years (1961-63).

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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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