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

Category Archives: S

Mickey Shuler


(Pro football. Born, Harrisburg, PA, Aug. 21, 1956.)  Earning varsity letters in football, basketball, and track at East Pennsboro H.S. in Enola, PA, Mickey Charles Shuler, Sr., was recruited by legendary college basketball coaches Dean Smith and Bobby Knight.  However, after receiving First Team All-State honors following a senior season in which, as a tight end, he caught a state high school record 67 passes for 1,040 yards, he opted to play football full-time for Joe Paterno at Penn State.  Shuler was a three-year letterman for the Nittany Lions. He was then drafted by the Jets with the 61st overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft.  In his 12 seasons with the Jets, New York made the playoffs four times, and Shuler went to the Pro Bowl twice (1986, ’88).  In 2003, he was named the tight end on the Jets’ All-Time Four-Decade Team.  Over his 14-year career (the last two seasons spent with Philadelphia), Shuler caught 462 passes for 5,100 yards, with 37 touchdowns.  At one time, he caught passes in 86 consecutive games.  After retiring, Shuler co-hosted Sports Channel’s weekly Jets TV show. – By Giovanni Wu

Buck Showalter


(Baseball.  Born, DeFuniak Springs, FL, May 23, 1956.)  Generally acknowledged today as a top major league manager, William Nathaniel Showalter, III, began his career as a player in the Yankees farm system in 1977. Buck (so nicknamed because he would walk around minor league clubhouses naked) played in the minors for seven seasons.  His first managing job was with Oneonta (NY) in the New York-Penn League in 1985, when was 29.  Showalter managed five seasons in the minors and then was a Yankees coach for two seasons before being hired to succeed Stump Merrill as Yankees manager for the 1992 season.  In the strike-shortened 1994 campaign, Showalter led the Yankees to an American League-best record of 70-43 and was named AL Manager of the Year.  The next season, the Yankees finished the regular season 26-7 to qualify for the playoffs as the wild card by 1½ games.  In the first round of the playoffs, the Yankees lost to Seattle in five games after winning the first two.  Showalter was not offered a new contract, and he was succeeded as Yankees manager by Joe Torre.  Showalter went on to manage Arizona (1998-2000), Texas (2003-2006), and Baltimore. – By Kyle Anderson

 

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.

Snuffy Stirnweiss


Snuffy Stirnweiss (Baseball.  Born, New York, NY, Oct. 26, 1919; died, Newark Bay, NJ, Sept. 15, 1958.)  Even though he hit .264 and .270 in his two full seasons at Newark of the International League, George Henry Stirnweiss wasn’t draft-eligible.  Stirnweiss thus became the Yankees’ regular second baseman during World War II.  Against that watered-down competition, he became a star.  Stirnweiss led the A.L. in hits, runs scored, triples, and stolen bases in both 1944 and 1945.  On the final day of the 1945 season, Stirnweiss was locked in a tight struggle with Chicago’s Tony Cuccinello for the A.L. batting title.  Chicago was rained out, freezing Cuccinello at .3077.  Stirnweiss got three hits (one on a controversial official scoring decision by Bert Gumpert that was originally called an error) and finished at .3085 to win the championship.  He played with the Yankees until June 15, 1950, when an eight-player deal sent him to the St. Louis Browns.  He finished his active career with Cleveland (1951-52) but never hit higher than .261 in any season after 1945.  Stirnweiss was a career .268 hitter in 1,028 games.  Working on Wall Street, he died when his Jersey Central commuter train ran off an open lift bridge over Newark Bay near Bayonne, N.J., killing him and 47 others.

Charlie Stillitano


Charlie Stillitano (Soccer.  Born, Elizabeth, NJ, Dec. 4, 1959.)  Vice president and general manager of the MetroStars for their first four seasons, Charles Stillitano is a former soccer player and coach turned executive who is also an attorney.  After a four-year career at Princeton, Stillitano played professionally with New York United in 1981.  From 1984-87, he was an assistant coach of Princeton’s men’s team and also attended Rutgers Law School, where he earned his degree in 1987.  After several years as a practicing lawyer, Stillitano returned to soccer full-time as venue director for World Cup 1994 games staged at Giants Stadium.  The success of these games led directly to his engagement by owners John Kluge and Stuart Subotnick to be the general manager of the MetroStars, the Major League Soccer club based in the Meadowlands which started play in 1996.  Stillitano was replaced as general manager after a disastrous 1999 season (7-25).  After his stint with the MetroStars, Stillitano became the C.E.O. of ChampionsWorld, a sports marketing consultancy.

Rusty Staub


Rusty Staub (Baseball.  Born, New Orleans, LA, Apr. 1, 1944.)  For most of three decades, Daniel Joseph Staub was part of the New York baseball scene as a Mets outfielder, the major leagues’ top pinch-hitter, and then as a Mets broadcaster.  After nine seasons with Houston (1963-68) and Montreal (1969-71), Staub came to the Mets before the 1972 season for three players (Tim Foli, Ken Singleton, and Mike Jorgenson).  But he missed over half that season with a broken bone in his right hand.  In 1973, Staub paid big dividends by helping the Mets win the N.L. pennant and then by hitting .423 in the World Series.  He was traded to Detroit in 1976, made a brief stop in Montreal and spent a year in Texas before rejoining the Mets in 1981.  This time, Staub was primarily a pinch-hitter and set a record with 81 at-bats in that capacity in 1983 (he had 24 hits).  Staub led the N.L. again in 1984 (18 for 66) and retired after the 1985 season.  He drove in 105 runs in 1975, a Mets record until 1990.  Staub is only the second man to hit a big league homer before his 20th birthday and after his 40th (Ty Cobb is the other).  He finished with 100 career pinch hits.  Always a gourmet chef, Staub operated successful restaurants in New York after his retirement and was a color commentator in cablecasts for 10 years (1986-95).

Henry Stoecker


Henry Stoecker (Dog show.  Born, Verdan, North Germany, Sept. 29, 1903; died. Holmdel, NJ, Dec. 12, 1998.)  Rated over four decades as one of the great judges in the history of American dog shows, Henry Stoecker was born and raised in Germany with a father who bred and showed Airdales, smoot Fox Terriers, and Boxers.  He showed his first dog at 10.  After coming to the U.S., Stoecker bred and showed Boxers and Doberman Pinschers in his own right, and his “Dodi v.d. Stoeckersburg” was the first American-born champion bitch in boxers.  He later became manager of the famed Philicoc Kennels owned by Mrs. Milton Erlanger and after World War II showed poodles for other renowned kennels.  He and Ch. Philicoc Cado Noel won the country’s first obedience trial in 1936.  Like many Americans, he was detoured a bit in his career by World War II.  He joined the Army as a civilian trainer of dogs and traveled across the country training dogs, eventually reenlisting as an officer and rising to the rank of Captain by 1945.  Although his first judging assignment came in 1930, Stoecker did not become a professional judge until 1950.  He then became internationally known, judging in all 50 states as well as Bermuda, Canada, Australia, South America, England, and Puerto Rico.  Stoecker qualified as an all-breed judge in 1966 and judged the most prestigious of all shows, the Westminster Kennel Club at Madison Square Garden, on numerous occasions.

Charles Stoneham


Charles Stoneham (Baseball.  Born, Jersey City, NJ, July 5, 1876; died, Hot Springs, AR, Jan. 6, 1936.)  During the months immediately after the end of World War I (Nov. 11, 1918), there was great anxiety in baseball circles as to whether the sport would recover from its war-shortened 1918 season and whether the game could recapture its fan base.  That fear reached the estate of the late Giants owner, John T. Brush, where Brush’s son-in-law, Harry Hampstead, urged his wife and mother-in-law (Brush’s widow) to sell the team.  When manager John McGraw was unable to raise the purchase price, Charles Abraham Stoneham formed a syndicate that included McGraw and city magistrate Francis X. McQuade.  Stoneham, a racehorse owner and Wall Street stockbroker, bought the controlling interest from the Brush estate Jan. 14, 1919.  In 1913, Stoneham had established his own firm of brokers (Charles A. Stoneham & Co., at 41 Broadway) and was a member of the Curb Exchange (now the American Stock Exchange).  He dissolved the firm in 1921 to concentrate on his baseball and racing interests, transferring millions of dollars in his customers’ accounts to four Wall Street brokerages.  Stoneham then bought a racetrack, a newspaper, and the Casino in Havana, Cuba.  He transformed the Casino into what was called “a Cuban Monte Carlo” and created a heavy tourist business.  In 1923, Stoneham renovated and enlarged the Polo Grounds, actively expanding its booking to include more football games and major boxing events.  But in the early 1920s, two of the firms to which Stoneham had shifted his brokerage business (E.D. Dier & Co. and E.M. Fuller & Co.) failed.  On Aug. 31, 1923, Stoneham was indicted for perjury in connection with the failures (and subsequent loss of customers’ funds).  He returned from Havana to defend himself but was indicted for mail fraud in Sept. 1923.  A trial in 1925 saw him vigorously deny the charges and on Feb. 27, a verdict of acquittal was announced.  Meanwhile, the Giants reeled of f a record four straight N.L. pennants (1921-24) and won the World Series in 1921 and 1922 over the Yankees.  Stoneham eventually disposed of his Havana holdings, and, after Bill Terry succeeded McGraw as manager, the Giants won the 1933 pennant and World Series.

Horace Stoneham


Horace Stoneham (Baseball.  Born, Newark, NJ, Apr. 27, 1903; died, Scottsdale, AZ, Jan. 7, 1990.)  Following the death of his father in Jan. 1936, Horace Charles Stoneham became head of the Third Surety Co., owner of the National Exhibition Co., which, in turn, owned the New York Giants baseball club.  Stoneham was to serve as president and principal owner of the team for over 40 years.  During that period, the Giants won N.L. pennants in 1936, 1937, 1951, and 1954, when they swept the Cleveland Indians in the World Series.  In 1948, Stoneham signed a deal with NBC’s local television outlet (WRCA-TV) to show all 77 Giants home games on Channel 4, the first New York team to do so.  In a personally traumatic decision, Stoneham announced in Aug. 1957 that the Giants were moving to San Francisco at the end of the season.  Before he sold the club to Bob Lurie in 1976, the Giants won another pennant (1962) but lost the Series, for the fourth time under Stoneham’s stewardship, to the Yankees.

Mel Stottlemyre


Mel Stottlemyre (Baseball.  Born, Hazelton, MO, Nov. 13, 1941.)  Signed by the Yankees in 1961, Melvin Leon Stottlemyre became the team’s best pitcher during the second half of the decade.  Following an 11-season career (1964-74), Stottlemyre embarked on a 25-year coaching career in which he handled Mets and Yankees pitchers during periods of prolonged success.  He was called up to the Yankees Aug. 11, 1964, when the Yankees trailed Baltimore by one game in the A.L. race.  Stottlemyre was 9-3 in 12 starts (plus one relief appearance) as the Yankees built a four-game lead and eventually won the pennant on the next-to-last day to get to the World Series for a fifth straight year.  Stottlemyre outpitched Bob Gibson to win Game 2, had a no-decision in Game 5, and lost Game 7, in which Gibson went the distance to win the Series for St. Louis.  The right hander compiled a 164-139 record in 360 games (356 starts) for the Yankees.  His best seasons were 1965 (20-9), 1968 (21-12), and 1969 (20-14).  In 1974, rotator cuff problems ended his career.  After five years as a roving minor league instructor, Stottlemyre joined the Mets (1984-93), and as pitching coach, guided the staff that produced the 1986 World Series championship and 1988 N.L. East Division title.  He then worked for the Astros (1994-95) before becoming Joe Torre’s pitching coach for the Yankees in 1996.  In his 10 seasons as pitching coach, the Yankees won four World Series titles and six pennants.  He resigned two days after the club was knocked out of the 2005 playoffs.  Stottlemyre was selected for five All-Star games as a pitcher and five more as a coach.

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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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