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

Category Archives: K

Ernie Koy, Jr.


Ernie Koy, Jr. (Pro football. Born, Bellville, TX, Oct. 22, 1942.) A 225-pound running back from the U. of Texas, Ernest Melvin Koy was a No. 1 draft choice by the Giants in 1965. Koy was a member of the “Baby Bulls” backfield with 220-pounders Steve Thurlow and Tucker Frederickson. He played at 225. Injuries were a problem for Koy and in his rookie year, he carried only 35 times and mostly handled the Giants’ punting. Koy’s best year was 1967, when he gained 704 yards rushing (a 4.8 average), scoring four touchdowns, and caught 32 passes for another 212 yards and another touchdown. He played through 1970 but never approached those numbers again. Koy gained 160 yards rushing Oct. 1, 1967, against Washington, then the Giants’ third-best individual rushing effort ever. He finished with 1,723 yards rushing on 414 carries and 498 more on 76 receptions. Koy’s father was a major league outfielder.

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Jim Kaat


Jim Kaat (Baseball.  Born, Zeeland, MI, Nov. 7, 1938.)  A solid lefthander who pitched for 25 years in the major leagues, James Lee Kaat had a playing career that touched four decades (1959-83).  Kaat, who was also an excellent fielder, was 283-237 in his career with five teams.  He had his best seasons with Minnesota but also twice won 20 games with the White Sox.  Kaat appeared in 44 games for the Yankees (1979-80).  His second career as a broadcast analyst began even before his playing days had ended but came to full flower after his retirement.  Kaat worked 100 Yankees games for WPIX-TV in 1986.  He returned to the Yankees with MSG Network in 1995, essentially replacing Tony Kubek as analyst, and moved to YES in 2002 when that network took over the Yankees telecasts.  He retired from YES Network broadcasts in 2006.

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Rich Kahn


Rich Kahn (Public address.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Sept. 27, 1951.)  A television public relations executive, Richard A. Kahn served as the Jets public address announcer for 19 seasons (1983-2001).  Kahn’s first season was the team’s last at Shea Stadium.  His tenure was the longest in that job ever for the Jets.  Kahn also did public address for the Islanders (1982-95), Fordham, Seton Hall, and C.W. Post (his alma mater).  He was director of marketing and public relations at SportsChannel (1987-94) before joining Primestar Satellite TV.  In 2005, he became the voice of the Palestra in Philadelphia, PA.

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Roger Kahn


Roger Kahn (Sportswriter.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Oct. 31, 1927.)  Joining the New York Herald Tribune fresh out of N.Y.U. in 1948, Roger Kahn began his career as a general assignment reporter but gravitated to sports.  During that period, Kahn covered the Dodgers in Brooklyn but left the paper in 1955 to become a contributor to the then-new Sports Illustrated.  In 1956, he was named the New York sports editor of Newsweek, where he remained until 1960.  Kahn became a prolific and much-praised magazine writer, but was transformed into a national name in 1972 with the publication of The Boys of Summer, his insightful book about the great Dodgers teams he had covered in the 1950s.  Another baseball book, A Season in the Sun, followed in 1977 to general, though not universal, acclaim.  His third national best-seller was Pete Rose: My Story (with Rose) in 1989.

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Jack Kaiser


Jack Kaiser (College athletics.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Oct. 6, 1926.)  A highly-successful baseball coach, John Warren Kaiser served 22 years (1973-95) as St. John’s director of athletics.  Kaiser was also one of three founders of the Big East Conference in 1979 (Dave Gavitt of Providence and Seton Hall’s Richie Regan were the others).  He played four seasons (1950-53) in the Boston Red Sox farm system and also managed in the minors.  Kaiser hit .303 in 131 games at Roanoke, Va., in the Piedmont League in 1951.  A leg injury ended his playing career.  After three years as an assistant, he became St. John’s varsity baseball coach in 1956.  In 18 seasons, he compiled a sterling 366-130 record and sent several players to pro ball.  Kaiser spent 15 seasons (1952-67) in the Redmen basketball program as an assistant, freshman, and junior varsity coach.  He had coached basketball at Brooklyn Prep in 1949-50.  Having been the basketball ticket manager, he rose to assistant athletic director and succeeded Walter T. McLaughlin in 1973.  Kaiser has served on numerous N.C.A.A. committees and as president of the American Baseball Coaches Association (1969-70).  He was also president of the M.I.B.A., the group that presented the N.I.T. basketball tournament.

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Bill Kane


Bill Kane (Baseball.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Aug. 29, 1937.)  A ubiquitous figure in the Yankees organization for more than three decades, William Kevin Kane served twice as the team’s traveling secretary.  Kane, known to his friends as Killer, began as a radio-television statistician in the days long before such work was computerized.  He then became an administrative assistant in the front office and did his first stint as road secretary from 1974-76 before returning to the front office.  In August 1978, Kane and his successor, Gerry Murphy, switched assignments, with Kane again becoming traveling secretary.  When the team staged its legendary comeback and won the World Series, he was stuck with the job and remained on the road through 1987.  Kane then served as assistant general manager and returned in the 1990s as the supervisor of luxury box services before retiring.

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Rocky Kansas


Rocky Kansas (Boxing.  Born, Buffalo, NY, Apr. 21, 1895; died, Buffalo, NY, Jan. 10, 1954.)  Born Rocco Tozzo, Kansas was a lightweight who fought 165 times in a 21-year career (1911-32) and won the division championship in 1925.  Kansas fought just seven times in New York but earned headlines for two bouts against champion Benny Leonard and a win over Lew Tendler.  His celebrated bout with Leonard was actually at the Harrison Oval in Harrison, N.J., June 6, 1921, when the pair drew 28,000 for a 12-round no-decision.  That led to a rematch Feb. 10, 1922, at Garden No. 2, which drew 11,683 but grossed over $100,000, a big figure for a non-heavyweight fight.  Leonard defended his crown with a 15-round decision.  Kansas finally won the title in Buffalo Dec. 7, 1925, but lost it to Sammy Mandell July 3, 1926, in Chicago, Ill.  He retired shortly after that loss but then made a brief comeback.  Nearly half (81) of his fights were no-decision affairs, but he lost only 13 times and won 64 with seven draws.

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Max Kase


Max Kase (Sports editor.  Born, New York, NY, July 21, 1898; died, Yonkers, NY, Mar. 19, 1974.)  Max Kase was known during his years as sports editor of the New York Journal-American for his newsy notes column entitled “Briefkase.”  He had a distinct “nose for news.”  Two years after the merger of the New York American and the Evening Journal into the afternoon Journal-American in 1939, Kase succeeded Ed Frayne as the sports editor of the combined operation.  In 1945, when columnist Bill Corum got wind of the Yankees’ sale by the Ruppert Estate, Kase took over the story and tracked down mystery buyer Del Webb (a partner with Dan Topping and Larry MacPhail).  He woke Webb in a hotel suite with a late-night telephone call and scored a Page One scoop.  Six years tater, Kase’s dogged determination helped uncover the 1951 college basketball betting scandals.  Kase received a special Pulitzer Prize citation the following year.  All of those associated with Kase, however will recall his daily greeting, “Got any notes?”  He was relentless in collecting items for his column.  Kase was very active in many social and professional groups, serving as the driving force behind the formation of B’nai B’rith Sports Lodge and its annual fund-raising dinner.

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Jim Katcavage


Jim Katcavage (Pro football.  Born, Wilkes-Barre, PA, Oct. 28, 1934; died, Maple Glen,  PA, Feb. 22, 1995.)  Drafted out of Dayton as the Giants’ fourth pick in 1956, James R. Katcavage became a standout defensive left end.  Katcavage was an all-N.F.L. choice three straight years (1961-63) and was a Pro Bowl selection in both 1963 and 1964.  As a rookie, he played both defensive end and tackle for the 1956 world champions, but then became a mainstay at left end.  Katcavage was a regular on five Eastern Division champions (1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963).  He posted safeties in 1958 and 1961 and scored a touchdown on a recovered fumble in 1963

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Benny Kauff


Benny Kauff (Baseball.  Born, Middleport, OH, Jan. 5, 1890; died, Columbus, OH, Nov. 17, 1961.)  Known as the “Ty Cobb of the Feds,” Benjamin Michael Kauff spent most of his early career under the control of the Yankees.  Kauff played only five games for them in 1912 and spent much of the next two years shuttling around the minors.  When the Federal League tried to become the third major league in 1914, he jumped to the Feds’ Indianapolis club.  When that team moved to Newark in 1915, Kauff went to Brooklyn as a form of territorial compensation.  He won the batting title both years the F.L. was in operation, hitting .370 (1914) and .342 (1915).  Kauff also led the upstart league in stolen bases twice with 70 and 55.  When the F.L. collapsed, Kauff’s rights went to the Giants, where he stole 40 bases but hit just .264 in 1916.  He hit .308 with 30 steals in 1917 and got four hits in the World Series, homering twice in Game 4.  Still, it is unlikely that Giants manager John McGraw considered him worth the $30,000 he paid to the Brookfeds for Kauff’s rights.  Kauff played five years for the Giants (1916-20) despite repeated rumors of his involvement in gambling coups.  He and his brother were charged with auto theft in 1921 and, though Kauff was acquitted, Commissioner Landis barred him for life for consorting with criminals.  Kauff sued Landis and lost.  The lefthanded hitter finished with a .311 average for 859 games, including the two stellar years with the Feds.

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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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