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

Category Archives: M

Ken MacAfee

Ken MacAfee (Pro football. Born, North Adams, MA, Aug. 3, 1929; died, Brockton, MA, July 4, 2007.) Though he played at Alabama, Kenneth Adams MacAfee Sr. really built his reputation as a pass receiver playing for Marine Corps teams during and right after the Korean War. MacAfee signed with the Giants while still in the Marines. In five seasons (1954-58), he caught 70 passes for 1,073 yards and 17 touchdowns, a high scoring ratio for the era. MacAfee was considered a fast receiver and good blocker for a team that passed mainly to backs, rather than ends. His first year was his best. He caught 24 passes for 438 yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie. MacAfee was a regular on the 1956 N.F.L. champions at right end. In 1959, he played for both Philadelphia and Washington. His son played for Notre Dame and the San Francisco 49ers.

Bunk MacBeth

Bunk MacBeth (Sportswriter. Born, Ingersoll, Ont., Aug. 19, 1884; died, Saratoga Springs, NY, Aug. 5, 1937.) Very few sportswriters can claim to have helped bring a major sport to a major city, but William J. MacBeth is one about whom that can be said. Bill MacBeth was largely responsible for bringing the N.H.L. to New York. He influenced Bill Dwyer to put up the money to start the Americans, the first N.H.L. team in what was then the new Madison Square Garden on 49th Street and Eighth Avenue. MacBeth helped get the players from the suspended Hamilton franchise to stock the team. Prior to coming to New York (in 1908), he had been sports editor of the Montreal Herald (1905-06) and wrote for the Detroit Free Press. MacBeth spent six years (1908-14) with Hearst’s morning American, then moved to The Sun before joining the New York Herald on Aug. 16, 1916. When the Herald merged with the Tribune in March 1924, he went to the new Herald Tribune. MacBeth helped start the New York chapter of the B.B.W.A.A. in 1908 but was primarily a racing writer in his later years and died during the annual Saratoga meeting. For years, the Americans and Rangers contested for the MacBeth Trophy during their annual intramural N.H.L. series at the Garden.

Henry MacCracken

Henry MacCracken (College executive. Born, Oxford, OH, September 28, 1840; died, New York, NY, December 24, 1918.) As Vice Chancellor (1885-91) and Chancellor (1891-1910) of New York University, Henry Mitchell MacCracken was an enthusiastic supporter of intercollegiate athletics. He persuaded N.Y.U. alumni from his native Ohio to contribute sufficient funds to build athletic facilities for Violets teams in The Bronx (which facilities were then named Ohio Field) and, in 1906, in concert with Army captain Palmer E. Pierce of the U.S.M.A., led the formation of a group called the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States. This organization was created to press for changes in college football rules after a wave of violence and deaths racked the sport and threatened its extinction. Several colleges (including Columbia) dropped football, others threatened to do so, and President Theodore Roosevelt added his voice to the national outcry against the violence when (on Jan. 12, 1906) the new I.A.A.U.S. met with the older American Football Rules Committee headed by Yale’s venerable Walter Camp. Out of this meeting emerged a new organization which in 1913 became known as the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Thomas Macioce

Thomas Macioce (College basketball. Born, New York, NY, Jan. 2, 1919; died, New York, NY, Aug. 3, 1990.) Columbia’s basketball captain in 1938-39, Thomas Macioce was the chairman and chief executive of Allied Stores (1970-87) during the period when it took over and operated such famed retail clothiers as Brooks Brothers and Ann Taylor.

John MacLean

John MacLean (Hockey. Born, Oshawa, Ont., Nov. 20, 1964.) Selected No. 1 by the Devils (sixth overall) in the 1983 draft, John Harold MacLean is acknowledged to have scored what may be the most important single goal in team history. On Apr. 3, the final night of the 1988 regular season, MacLean tallied at 2:21 of overtime to give the Devils a 4-3 victory at Chicago. The win clinched the first playoff berth for the franchise in New Jersey and in the process knocked out the Rangers, who would have earned the spot had the Devils not won. MacLean then scored four goals and had seven assists in the first-round six-game series win over the Islanders. The team went to the Conference final before losing to Boston in seven games. MacLean joined the Devils in 1983-84 (one goal in 23 games), and became a regular right wing the following season. He scored a club-record 347 goals in 14 seasons, including 45 in 1990-91, 42 in 1988-89, and 41 in 1989-90. He missed an entire season (1991-92) after knee surgery in June 1991. MacLean also had 31 goals and 44 assists in 88 playoff games (including 5-13—18 in 1995, when the Devils won their first Stanley Cup). He was traded to San Jose in a four-player deal Dec. 7, 1997. MacLean signed with the Rangers as a free agent July 22, 1998, scoring 46 goals in 161 games before being dealt to Dallas Feb. 5, 2001, for future considerations.  He was named Devils coach in June 2010 but after a disastrous 33-game start (9-22-2), he was fired, replaced by Jacques Lemaire.

John MacLeod

John MacLeod (Pro basketball. Born, New Albany, IN, Oct. 3, 1937.) Noted as head coach of the Phoenix Suns for 14 seasons (1973-87), John Matthew MacLeod also had a brief turn coaching the Knicks. MacLeod became the team’s 15th head coach Dec. 3, 1990, following the dismissal of Stu Jackson. He was 32-35 for the balance of the season and 0-3 in the playoffs before being fired himself May 2, 1991. MacLeod was succeeded by Pat Riley May 31.

Les MacMitchell

Les MacMitchell (Track. Born, New York, Sept. 26, 1920; died, San Jose, CA, Mar. 21, 2006.) Unusual for his era, Thomas Leslie MacMitchell was competitive with the world’s elite mile runners while still an undergraduate at N.Y.U. MacMitchell was the 1941 N.C.A.A. mile champion outdoors, but that winter he had already won the Baxter Mile in the New York A.C. Games in a meet record (4:07.4) that wasn’t broken until 1960, and finished second in the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games. With a hitch in the U.S. military in between, he made a clean sweep of the Wanamaker Mile, the Baxter and the Columbian at the Knights of Columbus Games in both 1942 and 1946. MacMitchell was also the 1941 Sullivan Award winner.

Larry MacPhail

Larry MacPhail (Baseball. Born, Cass City, MI, Feb. 3, 1890; died, Miami, FL, Oct. 1, 1975.) One of the most flamboyant and truly innovative executives in American sports, Leland S. MacPhail was the chief executive at various times of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees. MacPhail’s major league baseball career began when he became general manager of the Cincinnati Reds in 1934. The following year, he introduced night baseball to the majors at Crosley Field. President Franklin Roosevelt, sitting in Washington, D.C., pushed the button that turned on the power for that first night game. MacPhail became president of the Dodgers in 1938 and wherever Larry went, lights were soon to follow. Night baseball came to Ebbets Field in 1938. The Reds’ Johnny Vander Meer pitched his second straight no-hitter in the first such game at Brooklyn. After building the Dodgers into the 1941 National League champions, MacPhail left in 1942. In 1945 in partnership with Dan Topping and Del Webb, he purchased the Yankees from the estate of the late Jacob Ruppert. The first night game at Yankee Stadium came in 1946, and MacPhail’s first world championship came the next year when the Yankees defeated the Dodgers in the 1947 World Series. He then resigned as president and general manager of the Yankees, saying he had promised his wife he would retire if a team of his ever won a world championship. MacPhail also was the first executive to fly his team to all of its road games and pioneered spring training games in the Caribbean.

Lee MacPhail

Lee MacPhail (Baseball. Born, Nashville, TN, Oct. 25, 1917.) Son of one of baseball’s most flamboyant and influential characters, Leland Stanford MacPhail, Jr., was mainly understated and soft-spoken but nonetheless influential. Lee MacPhail was part of the Yankees organization twice and later president of the American League (1974-83). A graduate of Swarthmore, he started as a minor league executive in 1941 and later became general manager of the Yankees’ A.A. farm club in Kansas City. MacPhail came to New York as co-farm director and then director of player personnel but left in 1959 to become general manager of the Baltimore Orioles, where he built a contender. He served in the Commissioner’s office under Spike Eckert but returned to the Yankees in Oct. 1966 as general manager. MacPhail was elected A.L. president Oct. 23, 1973. Ironically, the ruling for which he will be most remembered in the 1983 “Pine Tar” decision, in which he ruled against the Yankees and overturned his own umpires to allow George Brett’s two-out, two-run, ninth-inning game-winning homer to stand. MacPhail was named head of the Player Relations Committee Jan. 1, 1984, and subsequently retired. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. MacPhail’s brother, Bill, was head of CBS Television Sports for many years (later with TBS in Atlanta) and his sister, Marian, was an executive with Time, Inc. MacPhail moved the A.L. office to New York in 1974 from Boston, where his predecessor, Joe Cronin, was headquartered.

Bill Madden

Bill Madden (Sportswriter. Born, Teaneck, NJ, Aug. 9, 1945.) Starting as a general sports reporter for U.P.I. (1970-78), Charles William Madden became a leading baseball writer and then columnist with the Daily News. Madden began covering baseball at U.P.I. but became a Yankees beat writer with the Daily News and began writing a Sunday baseball column. He was among the first to recognize the news value of baseball collectibles and has written extensively about memorabilia. In this vein, Madden was also among the first to write about the vast collection of Yankees limited partner Barry Halper (whose collection, after his death in 2005, became suspect, surrounded by accusations of fraud, forgery, and theft). For many years, Madden did a rating of major league annual yearbooks. Both at U.P.I. and as a columnist and national baseball writer at the Daily News, he has covered post-season, All-Star Game, and World Series baseball. Madden has also authored or co-authored books on baseball, the Yankees in particular, one of which was Damned Yankees (1990) with Moss Klein. He was chairman of the New York chapter of the B.B.W.A.A. in 1981-82.

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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