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

Category Archives: F

Carl Furillo


Carl Furillo (Baseball.  Born, Stony Creek Mills, PA, Mar. 8, 1922; died, Stony Creek Mills, PA, Jan. 21, 1989.)  “Skoonj” and “The Reading Rifle” were two of the nicknames hung on rightfielder Carl Anthony Furillo during his years with the  Brooklyn Dodgers.  The opposition mainly called him “poison.”  Famed as one of the best throwing outfielders in baseball during his prime, Furillo was also a deft defensive outfielder who learned to master the treacherous rightfield  wall at Ebbets Field that was filled with slants, nooks and crannies. Furillo was also a solid right-hand hitter in a lineup filled with all-star bats. He won the National League batting championship in 1953 with a .344 average. He hit .322 in 1949, .305 in 1950, .314 in 1955 and .306 in 1957, the Dodgers last year in Brooklyn.  He moved with the club to Los Angeles and delivered a key hit to help them win the 1959 World Series.  But the highlight of his career was the 1955 Dodgers club that won the only world championship in Brooklyn history.  That year, he hit a career-high 26 home runs and drove in 95 runs. Furillo came to the Dodgers in 1946 and shortly had settled into the rightfield job.  He played his entire career with the Dodgers before being released in 1960. In 15 seasons, he batted .299 in 1,806 games with 192 home runs and 1,058 r.b.i.  After his release due to a torn calf muscle, Furillo sued the Dodgers and won a back pay award. But in later years, he reconciled with the club and was a regular at the Dodgertown Fantasy Camp in Vero Beach, Fla.  During his career, Furillo was one of the central figures in the fierce rivalry with the New York Giants and once had his wrist broken in a brawl when he charged Giants manager Leo Durocher.

Ed Furgol


Ed Furgol (Golf.  Born, New York Mills, NY, Mar. 27, 1919; died, Miami Shores, FL, Mar. 6, 1997.)  For sheer determination, there has rarely been a professional golfer who equaled Edward B. Furgol.  Furgol played touring pro with a crooked left arm as the result of a childhood accident. Yet, he challenged for most of the sport’s major titles and, in 1954, won the U.S. Open at Baltrusol with a 71-70-71-72-284.  Furgol’s left arm was shortened and stiff at the elbow as well as crooked but, despite the handicap, he captured titles at the Phoenix, the Miller (with a 265), the Caliente and the Rubber City Opens.  He was also a semifinalist in the PGA championship in 1956 and was voted Golfer of the Year in 1954.  However, his victory at the U.S. Open was the crowning achievement of his career.  He didn’t begin that auspiciously, being in a three-way tie for fifth after the first round on the Baltrusol lower course.  He gradually worked his way to the front of the pack over the next three days and won the tournament by a single stroke over Gene Littler.  Furgol nearly lost his chance on the final day when his drive on the long 18th hole hooked among a stand of trees near a ditch. Unable to play down the fairway without losing considerable distance, he hit through an opening onto the fairway of the upper course, hit the green on the lower with his third shot and finished with a par 5. It was just good enough.  While few thought he could be a serious contender on the tour with the handicap that forced him to hit mostly with his right arm, Furgol first began to attract attention in 1947 when he tied with George Fazio for first in the Bing Crosby.

Ralph Furey


Ralph Furey (College football.  Born, New York, NY, June 16, 1903; died, Durango, CO, Nov. 14, 1984.)  The first of four brothers to play football at Columbia, Ralph J. Furey captained the 1927 team and then remained with the university’s athletic department for 40 years.  Furey became a coach and administrator before serving 25 years (1943-68) as the school’s second full-time athletic director (Dr. Edward S. Elliott was the first in 1931).  He served as the first president of the Eastern College Athletic Conference in 1947.  The other Furey brothers were Edward (1933-35), George (1934-36), and Andrew (1943-44).

George Furey


George Furey (College football.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Mar. 8, 1914; died, Nyack, NY, Jan. 20, 1986.)  Co-captain of the 1936 Columbia football team, George Francis Furey returned the opening kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown Nov. 28 to give the Lions another 7-0 victory over Stanford, this time at the Polo Grounds.  (Columbia had also beaten Stanford, 7-0, in the 1934 Rose Bowl.)  Following a brief employment with Macy’s (1937-40), Furey returned to Columbia as an assistant football coach for most of the next 39 years, with time out for military service in World War II

Dave Fultz


Dave Fultz (Baseball.  Born, Staunton, VA, May 29, 1875; died, DeLand, FL, Oct. 30, 1959.)  Although earning a footnote in Yankees history as the man who got the team’s first extra-base hit in 1903, David Lewis Fultz was better known as an organizer and administrator.  Following a major league outfield stint with Philadelphia (N.L. 1898-99 and A.L. 1901-02), Fultz joined New York for three seasons.  He then organized the Baseball Players Fraternity, a union of which he served as president (1912-17).  With the U.S. entry into World War I in 1917, Fultz became a military aviator and, upon his return, served as president of the International League (1919-20).  He was also the football coach at N.Y.U. in 1904 as the team finished 3-6-0.

Hugh Fullerton


Hugh Fullerton (Sportswriter.  Born, Hillsboro, OH, Sept. 10, 1873; died, Clearwater, FL, Dec. 27, 1945.)  Among the first sportswriters to question the honesty of the 1919 World Series, which proved to be fixed, was Hugh Stuart Fullerton, then of the Evening Mail.  Fullerton joined the Chicago Record in 1893, shifting to the Chicago Tribune a year later.  He covered the White Sox through 1917 and his familiarity with this talented team was what first aroused his suspicions about a conspiracy to throw the Series.  Fullerton came to New York in 1918, spending a year (1918-19) with the Evening World.  He left the Mail in 1921 to freelance, joined Liberty magazine (1923-28) and returned to daily sportswriting in 1928 for the Columbus (O.) Dispatch.  His son, Hugh S. Fullerton, Jr. (1904-65), was a sportswriter for the Associated Press.

Judge Emil Fuchs


Judge Emil Fuchs (Baseball.  Born, Hamburg, Germany, Apr. 17, 1878; died, Boston, MA, Dec. 5, 1961.)  An emigrant as a child who was graduated from N.Y.U. Law School, Emil E. Fuchs became a New York City magistrate and then owner of the Boston Braves in 1923.  Fuchs was friendly with Giants manager John McGraw and served as Giants attorney briefly.  His Giants connection got him the chance to buy the Boston Braves for $550,000.  For a brief while, both Boston baseball clubs were owned by New Yorkers.  But unlike Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, Fuchs became a popular figure in Boston.  This was despite an extraordinary record of failure by the Braves during his tenure.  But Fuchs tried, losing over a million dollars as he brought stars such as Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, and George Sisler to Braves Field,  but the team never finished higher than seventh in an eight-team league.  Fans, however, threw a day in his honor.  He sold in 1935 and went into law practice to pay off more than $250,000 in debts.

Shirley Fry


Shirley Fry (Tennis.  Born, Akron, OH, June 30, 1927.)  A post-World War II contender who was probably at her best on clay, Shirley J. Fry was the singles champion at Forest Hills (on grass) in 1956.  Fry (later Mrs. Irvin) was ranked in the U.S. top 10 for 13 straight years (1944-56) and won the French title (on clay) in 1951.  She was the losing finalist (to Maureen Connolly) the same year in the U.S. championship.  Fry won the U.S. doubles title at Forest Hills four straight times, partnering with Doris Hart (1951-54).  She won the Wimbledon singles title in 1956, was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. that year, and defeated Althea Gibson, 6-3, 6-4, to win the U.S. championship.  When Fry won the Australian singles in 1957, she became only the third woman (after Maureen Connolly and Doris Hart) to win all four “Grand Slam” singles titles.

Bruce Froemming


Bruce Froemming (Baseball.  Born, Milwaukee, Wisc., Sept. 28, 1939.)  Consistently one of baseball’s best umpires, Bruce Neal Froemming was also one of the longest-serving in major league history.  Retiring after the 2007 season, he tied Bill Klem for the major league record for most seasons umpired (37).  Froemming started his career in 1958 in the Nebraska State League at age 18, the youngest pro umpire in the modern era.  In April 1971, he came up from the P.C.L. and began his N.L. tenure.  In 2000, he became only the fourth N.L. umpire to complete 30 years of service.  Froemming has worked eight N.L. championship series since 1973, five division series, and four World Series (1976, 1984, 1988, 1995).  The start of his 32nd season in 2003 was delayed 10 days by a suspension that he incurred by using an apparent anti-Semitic remark on the telephone during a dispute over his travel plans to Tokyo, Japan, for the season’s opening series.  Froemming issued an apology and said he didn’t intend the remark to be addressed to the woman (Cathy Davis) to whom he had been speaking on the telephone.  He worked a record 10 championship series.

Frankie Frisch


Frankie Frisch (Baseball.  Born, New York, NY, Sept. 9, 1898; died, Wilmington, DE, Mar. 12, 1973.)  Frankie Francis Frisch was known throughout his baseball career as the “Fordham Flash” for good reason.  Fordham  incubated Frisch’s talents. He attended Fordham Grammar School, Fordham Prep and Fordham College.  His speed earned him the sobriquet “flash” as a youngster and sportswriters were unable to resist the alliterative combination with his alma mater.  While at Fordham University, Frisch excelled in the two major varsity sports of the time – football and baseball.  Frisch was a steady .300 hitter, a superb fielder and a constant base-stealing threat.  The Rams’ 1919 baseball team was one of its best with Frisch as the catalyst, finishing 21-6.  They were ranked as the Eastern Champions and considered the second-best team in the country in the days long before the College World Series. Frisch set several Fordham baseball records, including six hits and, more remarkably, three triples in a game (against Yale in 1919). Frisch later coached football at Fordham and was one of the referees for the first basketball game played in the Rose Hill gymnasium in January 1924 against Boston College.  His exploits attracted the notice of major league scouts, particularly those of the New York Giants.  John McGraw signed him in 1919 and he moved straight from campus to the Polo Grounds, becoming a regular second baseman in the major leagues without any minor league experience. Frisch went on to post a .316 lifetime average for 19 seasons in the major leagues.  He also played consistently for winning teams, attested to by his presence in eight World Series during his career, four with the Giants and four more with the St. Louis Cardinals.  John McGraw traded Frisch to St. Louis on Dec. 20, 1926 with pitcher Jimmy Ring for the greatest righthand hitter in baseball history–Rogers Hornsby.  However, McGraw never managed another pennant-winner at the Polo Grounds while the switch-hitting Frisch became one of the leaders of the fabled “Gashouse Gang” Cardinals who won the National League title in 1928, 1930, 1931 and 1934. The final of those four flags was achieved with Frisch performing as playing manager. He was appointed manager on July 24, 1933.  In 1930, Frisch had perhaps his best all-around season when he hit .346 with 10 homers and 114 r.b.i.  Although never a power hitter, he drove in 100 or more runs three times and three times led the National League in stolen bases (1921, 1927 and 1931).

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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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