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

Category Archives: J

Beau Jack


Beau Jack (Boxing.  Born, Augusta, GA, Apr. 1, 1921; died, Miami Beach, FL, Feb. 9, 2000.)  Born Sidney Walker and a one-time shoeshiner at the Augusta National Golf Club, Beau Jack rose to twice become world lightweight champion (1941-42, 1943-44).  Jack, an entertaining boxer who was constantly in motion, was so popular with New York crowds that he fought more main events at Madison Square Garden (22) than any other fighter.  One of those, a non-title bout on Aug. 4, 1944, sold $35,864,900 in war bonds for his fourth match with fellow welterweight Bob Montgomery.  Beau Jack won a 10-round decision that night to split a four-fight series.  His career record showed 83 victories (40 by knockout) and only 24 losses in 112 fights.  He was knocked out four times, including a TKO by Ike Williams in July 12, 1948, in Philadelphia’s Shibe Park in his last challenge for the lightweight title.  He retired from the ring in 1955, ending a pro career that began in 1940.

John Jackson


John Jackson (Golf.  Born, Middletown, NY, Feb. 12, 1880; died, New York, NY, Apr. 27, 1959.)  A Columbia varsity golfer (1899-1901) who became a prominent attorney, John G. Jackson also served as president of the U.S. Golf Association (1936-37).  Jackson was also president of the New York State Bar Association and a Life Trustee of Columbia University.

Levi Jackson


Levi Jackson (Colege football.  Born, New Haven, CT, Aug. 22, 1926; died, Detroit, MI, Dec. 7, 2000.)  As the first black man to play football for Yale, Levi A. Jackson was a racial pioneer.  A running back (1946-49), Jackson captained the 1949 varsity team and that year scored two touchdowns in the Elis’ 29-6 victory over Harvard.

Mark Jackson


Mark Jackson (College and pro basketball.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Apr. 1, 1965.)  A standout at St. John’s, Mark Jackson was a No. 1 Knicks draft choice in 1987 who had five productive years with the team at the start of what turned out to be a 17-year N.B.A. career.  Jackson was a regular as a sophomore guard on the Redmen Final Four team (31-4) in 1985.  He played an increasingly large role in his final two years (31-5, 21-9) and was a star as a senior in 1986-87, when he averaged 18.9 points per game.  Jackson scored 1,328 points in a school-record 131 games (10.1) at St. John’s.  He then spent five years with the Knicks (12.1 average in 389 games) before leaving for the Los Angeles Clippers in a three-team trade Sept. 22, 1992.  Jackson later moved to Indiana, where he became a major force for the Pacers’ conference championship teams.  He returned to the Knicks Feb. 22, 2001, but played a little over one season for the Knicks before being traded, again, this time to Denver, after the 2001-02 season.  For his career, he averaged 9.6 points and 8.0 assists per game.

Reggie Jackson


Reggie Jackson (Baseball.  Born, Wyncote, PA, May 18, 1946.)  One of the most flamboyant, exciting and dramatic players – and perhaps one of the most important – of Yankees history, Reginald Martinez Jackson remains an image etched forever in the minds of anyone who ever saw him play.   On the night of Oct. 18, 1977, Jackson performed one of the most  historic feats in World Series history by smashing three successive homers on the first pitch from three different Dodgers pitchers as the Yankees won the Series for the first time since 1962.  In a sense, Jackson did the job he was brought to New York to do. In the first class of free agents who had played out their contracts after the reserve clause was abolished, Jackson joined a team that had won the 1976 American League pennant but had then been swept in the Series by Cincinnati.  He saw to it that the same fate did not befall the 1977 Yankees.  In that Series against Los Angeles, he hit five homers, scored 10 runs and drove in eight. All in six games.  In five seasons with the Yankees, Jackson hit 144 homers and batted in 461 runs in 653 games. The Yankees won two World Series, one pennant and lost another in the playoffs after a division title in those five years.  In his 21-year major league career, Reggie played 2,820 games, hit 563 homers, had 1,702 r.b.i. and batted .262.  He played on championship teams in Oakland, spent one year with Baltimore and four more with California but he made his greatest impression in New York. He once said, “If I played in New York, they’d name a candy bar after me.” He was right, they did.  Always at the center of controversy, Jackson was the ultimate crowd-pleaser and remained a favorite with New York fans even after he left following the 1981 season to sign (as a free agent, of course) with the Angels.

Stu Jackson


Stu Jackson (Pro basketball.  Born, Reading, PA, Dec. 11, 1955.)  As the 14th head coach in Knicks history, Stuart Jackson was appointed July 10, 1989, to succeed Rick Pitino.  Jackson had been an assistant under Pitino for two years with the Knicks (1987-89) and two years with the Knicks (1987-89) and two years before that at Providence College (1985-87).  His 1989-90 Knicks team was 45-37, the second-best ever for a first-year coach with the team, behind only Red Holzman.  Jackson also coached a stirring Game 5 victory that year in the first playoff round at Boston as Knicks rallied from a 2-0 series deficit, but was fired Dec. 3, 1990, following a 7-8 start.  He later coached at the Unversity of Wisconsin, helped organize the Vancouver Grizzlies, and became a vice president of the N.B.A. responsible for, among other items, disciplinary matters.

Tony Jackson


Tony Jackson (College basketball.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, June 24, 1940; died, Brooklyn, NY, Oct. 28, 2005.)  An electrifying jump shooter, Tony B. Jackson lost a chance at an N.B.A. career when he was tainted by the 1961 college basketball point shaving scandals for failing to report a bribe offer.  Instead, he became an All-Star in the short-lived A.B.L. (1961-62) and a productive scorer for the New Jersey Americans of the A.B.A. (forerunners of the Nets).  Jackson burst onto the college scene as a slender 6’4” sophomore in 1958-59 when he averaged 20.0 for Joe Lapchick’s St. John’s squad.  In three varsity seasons (1958-61), he scored 1,603 points (a 21.1 average) in 76 games and also collected 997 rebounds.  Jackson was one of the best pure shooters of his era, hitting 50.3% of his field goal attempts as a senior.  He averaged 14.4 for the Americans in 1967-68 and went with the team when it moved to Long Island as the New York Nets, but then was traded to Minnesota early in the 1968-69 A.B.A. season.

Travis Jackson


Travis Jackson (Baseball.  Born, Waldo, AR, Nov. 2, 1903; died, Waldo, AR, July 27, 1987.)  A graduate of Ouachita Baptist College in Arkadelphia, Ark., Travis Calvin Jackson began his professional career as a shortstop for Little Rock of the Southern League.  At the end of his second season (1922), Jackson was sold to the Giants and played three games for them that September.  He played 96 games in 1923 and was the everyday shortstop the next season, succeeding Dave Bancroft.  Jackson played on pennant winners in 1923, 1924, 1933, and 1936.  He retired after the 1936 World Series to manage the Giants’ top farm club at Jersey City.  In his final two seasons, Jackson was almost exclusively a third baseman.  In six of his 14 full seasons, he hit over .300, finishing with a .291 career average for 1,656 games.  He served as a Giants coach and, even though his first Jersey City club finished last, 58 games behind Newark, Jackson managed many years in the minors.

Helen Hull Jacobs


Helen Hull Jacobs (Tennis.  Born, Globe, AZ, Aug. 6, 1908; died, East Hampton, NY, June 2, 1997.)  A dominating force in women’s tennis for 15 years leading up to World War II, Helen Hull Jacobs was a four-time U.S. singles champion.  Jacobs made the singles final at Forest Hills eight times in 13 years (1928-40), winning the title in 1932, 1933, 1934, and 1935.  She lost once in the final to Helen Wills in 1928 and three times to Alice Marble in 1936, 1939, and 1940.  Her most famous victory was the 1933 final, still shrouded in mystery and controversy, when Wills left the court with an apparent injury, trailing 8-6, 3-6, 3-0.  Jacobs won each of the next two years by beating her doubles partner, Sarah Palfrey, in identical 6-1, 6-4 matches.  She made six Wimbledon finals but lost five times, four of them to Wills, winning only in 1936.  In the U.S., Jacobs was ranked in the Top 10 13 times from 1927-41, making No. 1 four straight years (1932-35) and was the world No. 1 in 1936.  She was the national girls champion twice (1924, ’25) and won the U.S. women’s doubles (with Palfrey) in 1932, 1933, and 1935.  She also won the U.S. mixed doubles title in 1934, partnering with George Lott.  Jacobs introduced Bermuda shorts to international tennis, first at Wimbledon in 1932 and then at Forest Hills the following year.

Hirsch Jacobs


Hirsch Jacobs (Horse racing.  Born, New York, Apr. 8, 1904; died, Miami Beach, FL, Feb. 13, 1970.)  Racing was distinctly part of Hirsch Jacobs’ nature.  From the earliest days of his childhood, he was fascinated by the concept of racing.  Jacobs became one of the leading trainers in American racing.  He saddled his first winner in 1926 and during his career he trained a total of 3,596 winners who earned more than $15 million in purses.  One of the greatest coups of Jacobs’ career was Stymie.  He bought the horse for $1,500 and it earned purses totalling $914,485, becoming Handicap Horse of the Year in 1945.  That was the most money ever won up to that time by single horse.  Jacobs was the leading trainer in the nation 11 times from 1933-44, missing only in 1940.  Perhaps his best year in that span was 1936, when he saddled 177 winners.  He was also the nation’s leading money-winning trainer in 1946.  Jacobs was not only one of the country’s most successful trainers for more than a quarter-century but also one of the most popular amongst his peers and the fans of the sport.  During the Depression, when racing was at low ebb, Jacobs continued to work to improve the sport.  One of his great disappointments was that he never trained a horse that won any of the Triple Crown races.  His horses raced primarily in New York and on the Florida circuit.

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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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