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

Category Archives: S

Sandy Saddler


Sandy Saddler (Boxing.  Born, Boston, MA, June 23, 1926; died, Bronx, NY, Sept. 18, 2001.)  Born Joseph Saddler in Boston, where he also began his pro ring career, Sandy Saddler was a boxing dynamo who fought 162 times in a career stretching from 1944-56 and entered the ring no less than 56 times in the New York metropolitan area.  Many of the major fights for which he is best remembered were in New York, where he fought 30 times, including four terrific fights with Willie Pep, which rank among the classics of the ring.  Two were held in Madison Square Garden with one each in Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds.  Saddler also fought 13 times in Brooklyn, seven times in Newark, three times in Jersey City and once each at the Jamaica Arena, in Union City and Orange, N.J.  He won the featherweight title twice in his battles with Pep, first on Oct. 29, 1948, in the Garden with a four-round knockout and again at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 8, 1950, when he knocked out Pep in eight rounds.  In between, he lost a 15-round decision to Pep at the Garden (and the title with it) on Feb. 11, 1949. The fourth matchup between these two battlers was at the Polo Grounds on Sept. 26, 1951, when Saddler won on a 10-round technical knockout.  He fought several other main events in the Garden, including a spectacular 15-round victory over Teddy Davis on Feb. 25, 1955, in a successful defense of his title.  The featherweight champ finally retired with a record of 144-16-2, with 103 KOs.

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Nick Sakiewicz


Nick Sakiewicz (Soccer.  Born, Passaic, NJ, Jan. 14, 1961.)  Rarely in pro sports has a team experienced the dramatic turnaround that the MetroStars effected following the appointment of Nick Sakiewicz as general manager Jan. 13, 2000. Having the worst record in the four-year history of Major League Soccer in 1999 (7-25), the team went 17-12-3 in 2000, making the semifinal round of the playoffs and the U.S. Cup after winning the East Division title. Sakiewicz was able to give new coach Octavio Zambrano increased firepower (particularly with the acquisition of Clint Mathis (q.v.)) and also juggled goalies successfully at the end of the season when regular Mike Ammonn was injured. Sakiewicz was himself a goalie at the University of New Haven (Conn.) and spent some time as a goalie coach. He was also in private business and the M.L.S. office before being named president and general manager of the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 1997. Sakiewicz was the league’s “Executive of the Year” in 1999 before returning to his native New Jersey to join the MetroStars.  In 2005, he was succeeded as general manager by Alexei Lalas.  He later became C.E.O. of the Philadelphia Union, which played its first M.L.S. season in 2010.

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Johnny Sample


Johnny Sample (Pro football.  Born, Philadelphia, PA, June 15, 1937; died, Philadelphia, PA, Apr. 25, 2005.)  A flashy defensive back who played the last three years of his career (1966-68) with the Jets, John Sample had a key interception in the Jets’ Super Bowl III upset.  Sample thought about retirement before the 1968 season but starred in the secondary with seven interceptions and played his final game in the Super Bowl.  His career began in Baltimore in 1958, where he played on two N.F.L. championship teams (1958, 1959) under Weeb Ewbank (q.v.), his future Jets coach.  Sample was also with Pittsburgh (1961-62) and Washington (1963-65).

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Earl Sande


Earl Sande (Horse racing.  Born, Groton, SD, Nov. 13, 1898; died, Jacksonville, OR, Aug. 19, 1968.)  During the 1920s, the so-called “Golden Age of American Sports,” each major sport had its leading hero.  Babe Ruth (baseball), Jack Dempsey (boxing), Bill Tilden (tennis), Bobby Jones (golf), and Red Grange (football) were among the most famous.  But none was better known than thoroughbred racing’s Earl Sande, the smallest of the greats of that era.  Earl H. Sande was the jockey with the biggest name, a name known amongst Americans who knew little else about racing.  He became a particular favorite among New Yorkers by winning the Belmont Stakes four times from 1921-1927.  Sande then capped off his career with rides that helped the great Gallant Fox to the Triple Crown in 1930, marking only the second time in racing history that feat had been accomplished.  (Sir Barton won the Triple Crown in 1919.)  Earlier, Sande had ridden Grey Lag (1921), Zev (1923), Mad Play (1924), and Chance Shot (1927) to victory in the Belmont.  During his active career, Sande rode 967 winners and won over $3 million in purses, enormous figures for that time in the history of racing.  He also rode two Kentucky Derby winners besides Gallant Fox.  After his retirement from riding, Sande turned to training horses and was again successful, although perhaps not as much as he was riding.  In 1938, he was the nation’s leading trainer, training 15 stakes winners who earned $226,445.

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Satch Sanders


Satch Sanders (College basketball.  Born, New York, NY, Nov. 8, 1938.)  After sublimating his game to Cal Ramsey for two years, Thomas Sanders emerged as a senior and led the N.Y.U. Violets to the 1960 Final Four in San Francisco.  In 1959-60, Sanders’ 577 points eclipsed Ramsey’s one-year record, as did his 411 rebounds in 27 games.  Sanders also captained the Violets, whose 22-5 record matched the school best for wins (22-4 in 1947-48).  At the time, his career three-year totals for points (1,191) and rebounds (923) in 71 games were second-highest (to Ramsey) in N.Y.U. history.  Sanders’ career field goal shooting (51.6%) is still a school record.  From 1960-73, Sanders had a solid career with Boston, playing on eight N.B.A. champions.

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Harold Sanderson


Harold Sanderson (Golf.  Born, Walton-on-Thames, Eng., Jan. 17, 1903; died, Roanoke, VA, Dec. 31, 2003.)  A one-time touring pro, Harold Sanderson was a long-time club professional in the New York area.  Sanderson was the head pro at Briarwood Lodge and Sleepy Hollow in Westchester in the 1920s, ran the pro shop at the Hollywood Golf Club in Deal, N.J. (1925-30) and was then head pro at Canoe Brook in Summit, N.J. (1930-67) before retiring.   He was also a pro at clubs in Illinois and Pennsylvania, as well as touring briefly but never winning a tournament.  Sanderson finished 49th in the 1932 U.S. Open at Fresh Meadows in Flushing won by Gene Sarazen (q.v.).  He won the 1959 New Jersey P.G.A. title and six state and national senior tournaments in the 1960s.  At the time of his death, Sanderson was the oldest member of the U.S. P.G.A., to which he belonged for 77 years.

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Richard Sandomir


Richard Sandomir (Sportswriter.  Born, New Hyde Park, NY, Sept. 4, 1957.)  Among the first reporters to regularly write on the business side of sports, Richard Elliott Sandomir broke in as a financial reporter for Newsday in April 1982.  Almost exactly 10 years later, Sandomir went to The New York Times, where he is a television sports columnist, as well as the main sports business writer.  He remained at Newsday until March 1987, when he briefly became a publicist for Bantam Books.  In September 1987, he joined the staff of the New York-based Sports, Inc. magazine, which closed in 1989.  After a period of freelancing for such publications as Sport magazine, The National sports daily, and Newsday, Sandomir joined The Times.

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Giorgio Santelli


Giorgio Santelli (Fencing.  Born, Florence, Italy, Nov. 25, 1897; died, Teaneck, NJ, Oct. 8, 1985.)  Giorgio Santelli wound up in the United States because his father couldn’t be bothered to make the trip. In 1928, Italo Santelli was invited to become the fencing coach of New York Athletic Club in association with James Murray.  He decided to send his son who had been a member of the 1920 Italian Olympic gold medal team.  Thus, Giorgio Santelli became one of the leading fencing coaches in the U.S., serving not only at the N.Y.A.C., but also the New York Fencers Club and the University Fencers Club.  In addition, he founded the George Santelli Fencing Equipment Co., one of the largest suppliers of fencing gear in the country. Santelli’s father, who became coach of the Hungarian Olympic team in the 1920s, was credited with revolutionizing the technique in saber. Indeed, Santelli the younger was widely praised for his saber technique in the 1920 Olympics. The Olympic tradition continued for Santelli, who coached the U.S. teams in five straight Olympic Games:  1928, 1932, 1936, 1948 and 1952. Santelli also founded a private school for fencers, Salle Santelli, in Greenwich Village that served as headquarters for dozens of outstanding American fencers and Olympic aspirants. He also brought a perspective, unique at the time, to the sport in that he coached all talented fencers regardless of their race or ethnic background.  This opened the way for black fencers in particular, as did his program of conducting free fencing classes in New York schools.  In his younger days, he had been the champion fencer in both Hungary and Austria, being acclaimed as one of the great masters of the sport.

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Stan Saplin


Stan Saplin (Public address.  Born, New York, NY, Jan. 12, 1914; died, New York, NY, Mar. 1, 2002.)  One of the most respected figures in the New York sports field, Stanley Saplin became most identified with New York University during his long career. However, he also served such varied  organizations as the New York Rangers, the Millrose Games, the Amateur Athletic Union and the old New York Journal-American.  Saplin became the publicity director of the Rangers after World War II and created a publication then known as the “Blue Book,” which was the first comprehensive annual publication about the team and its history ever produced. It has gone through many changes in the intervening years being known variously as a media guide and a yearbook but it continued to appear annually until the late 2000s.  Leaving the Rangers, Saplin joined the Journal-American as a sportswriter and stayed with the paper full-time until 1953 when he returned to N.Y.U.  But he continued to write for the Journal-American for many years thereafter, covering a wide variety of events including track and field where he became a nationally-recognized historical authority.  Saplin began his public address career on a steady basis in 1959 with the Millrose Games.  His voice became synonymous with this greatest of all indoor track meets.  He also worked behind the microphone during the National A.A.U. championship indoor meets at the Garden, the U.S. Olympic Trials and the famed Penn Relays at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.  He was influential in the creation of the Chronicle of Higher Education and served many years as the sports information director at N.Y.U., as well as its news director and as an advisor to its executives in areas of communications and public service.

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Red Sarachek


Red Sarachek (College basketball.  Born, The Bronx, NY, Oct. 19, 1912; died, Deerfield Beach, FL, Nov. 14, 2005.)  Among the legendary basketball coaches in New York, Bernard Sarachek was considered the finest mind for the offensive game.  Sarachek, who played at N.Y.U. (1931-34) as a small guard, was an assistant coach at Manhattan’s Stuyvesant H.S. when he was hired to coach Yeshiva by the student basketball organization in 1941.  His teams were 202-263 when he retired in 1969 (while continuing as the school’s athletic director).  Sarachek had very little talent at Yeshiva (though his best team was 16-2), but every game was a clinic, and he was revered by other coaches for his insight.  He also coached semipro teams (with greatest artistic success) and partnered with noted referee Lou Eisenstein in a lucrative sporting goods store, Circle Athletics, in Brooklyn.

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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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