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

Category Archives: T

Cristina Teuscher

Cristina Teuscher (Swimming.  Born, The Bronx, NY, Mar. 12, 1978.)  Seldom, if ever, has an individual overwhelmed her sport in a league as Columbia’s Cristina Teuscher dominated Ivy League women’s swimming.  Teuscher was unbeaten in over 40 collegiate dual meets and was 12-0 in four years in the league’s championship meet, setting records in five events.  She won in all strokes at distances ranging from 100 to 1650 yards.  Teuscher was also the first woman from an Ivy League school to win individual events in the N.C.A.A. championships.  She captured both the 400-yard individual medley and the 500-freestyle at Minneapolis, Minn., in Mar. 1998.  Teuscher also won two events in the 2000 N.C.A.A. championships in Indianapolis, Ind., and produced the fastest 400-meter individual medley in the world up to that point in the year.  During her years at Columbia, Teuscher set 19 varsity and pool women’s records.  Of course, Teuscher’s performance was not really surprising, as she was an Olympic gold medal winner out of New Rochelle (N.Y.) High School at Atlanta in 1996, when she swam the third leg of the winning U.S. team in the 400-meter free-style relay.  What was surprising was that she selected Columbia rather than a more prominent swimming program for her college education.  Another surprise was that while she continued training with her Westchester County swim club, Teuscher competed for her varsity all four years instead of taking semesters off to train for major international events, as many of her peers did.  In her senior year (1999-2000), she won the Honda Award as the nation’s top collegiate female athlete.

Frank Thomas

Frank Thomas (Baseball.  Born, Pittsbugh, PA, June 11, 1929.)  It perhaps said more about the early Mets than about his ability that Frank Joseph Thomas was the first real star of the team.  Thomas was a dead pull hitter from the right side whose stroke was ideally suited to the leftfield confines of the Polo Grounds.  He had done well there while the Giants were still in New York as a visiting player for Pittsburgh.  Thomas had already logged time with the Pirates, Cincinnati, the Chicago Cubs, and the Milwaukee Braves before joining the 1962 Mets.  He delivered what was expected, hitting 34 homers (18 of them at the Polo Grounds).  Six of them came in a three-game spree at the start of August, tying a major league record.  Thomas hit two homers (and drove in six runs) on Aug. 1, two more on Aug. 2 and another two on Aug. 3.  The Mets won all three games by a combined 28-19 score.  A hernia and tendinitis in his shoulder held Thomas to 15 homers in 1963, though he still led the Mets in r.b.i. with just 60.  More injuries slowed him in 1964 and he had just three homers with 19 r.b.i. in 60 games when he was traded Aug. 7 to Philadelphia.  Thomas, a former seminarian, was an abrasive personality and an indifferent outfielder but at the start, he was the Mets’ legitimate power threat.

Fresco Thompson

Fresco Thompson (Baseball.  Born, Centreville, AL, June 6, 1902; died, Fullerton, CA, Nov. 20, 1968.)  A second baseman who did brief tours with the Giants (1926, 1934) and Brooklyn (1931-32), Lafayette Fresco Thompson later became a Dodgers executive.  Thompson was named assistant farm director in 1949 and a vice president the next year after Walter O’Malley took over in Brooklyn, forcing out Branch Rickey, whose son had been the director of minor league clubs.  Shortly before his death, he became the Dodgers’ general manager.  Thompson played 609 games in the majors, all but about 100 of them with the Phillies, and batted .298.  He became a Dodgers scout following the end of his playing career.  Thompson played college baseball under Andy Coakley (q.v.) at Columbia.

Bernard Thomson

Bernard Thomson (Sports editor.)  Born, Point Fortune, PQ, Nov. 27, 1873; died, New York, NY, Feb. 26, 1937.)  Among the most colorful lives ever by a New York sports editor was lived by a man universally described as “self-effacing.”  Bernard William St. Denis Thomson, the son of a prominent Canadian newspaperman, was an athlete, a rancher, a gold prospector, and a military officer, as well as sports editor of The New York Times for 21 years.  Thomson was also a lawyer who graduated Harvard Law in 1895.  He spent much of his youth in the Canadian wilds before attending Harvard and some time after his graduation practicing law in the State of Washington.  Thomson turned to newspaper work with the Chicago Record-Herald, then moved to the original New York Sun morning edition as Sunday editor before joining The Times as assistant Sunday editor in 1913,  During breaks in his newspaper career, he was advertising manager for Continental Insurance in New York and twice broke the casino bank at Monte Carlo before going broke himself.  He succeeded Harry Phillip Burchell (q.v.) as sports editor Dec. 14, 1915.  Thomson inherited a staff of six writers and over time expanded it to 46 full-time writers and editors, plus a clerical staff handled by Philip E. Burke (q.v.).  As a sports editor, he wrote little by the standard of the day, hiring John Kieran as a columnist instead.  Thomson concentrated on organizing and building both a staff and a style.  At his death, only James P. Dawson (q.v.) and Clarence E. Lovejoy remained from his original group of writers.  His favorite sports were rowing (in which he had competed), boxing, and horse racing (which he frequently attended).  During World War I, Thomson was an officer in the Quartermater Corps, serving in France in 1918.  Following a tour with the occupation force in Germany, he turned to The Times on Apr. 9, 1919.  Thomson mustered out of the Army as a captain.

Bobby Thomson

Bobby Thomson (Baseball.  Born, Glasgow, Scotland, Oct. 25, 1923; died, Savannah, GA, Aug. 16, 2010.)  In his 15-year career, Robert Brown Thomson had 1,705 hits and 264 home runs, but he will be remembered as long as baseball history is recalled for only one.  On Oct. 3, 1951, Thomson’s three-run, ninth-inning homer, won the N.L. pennant for the New York Giants.  They had trailed their arch-rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers, by 13½ games on August 11 and 4-1 starting the bottom of the ninth inning of the third (and deciding) playoff game against Brooklyn, which they had forced after catching the Dodgers in the pennant race in the last week of the season and splitting the first two games of the playoff series.  With one out, two on, and a run in, Thomson drilled reliever Ralph Branca’s 0-1 pitch into the lower leftfield stands of the Polo Grounds to end the season.  Thomson’s homer was his second of the playoff (both off Branca) and his 32nd of the season.  Thomson came to the Giants in 1946 for 18 games and the righthand hitter became a regular outfielder in 1947, hitting 179 homers in his first seven full seasons.  He was traded to the Milwaukee Braves Feb. 1, 1954, and was scheduled to be a regular outfielder, but a broken ankle in spring training opened the door for a rookie named Henry Aaron.  Thomson briefly returned to the Giants (1957) and then played for three other clubs before retiring after the 1960 season.  He was a lifetime .270 hitter.

Casey Tibbs

Casey Tibbs (Rodeo.  Born, Fort Pierre, SD, Mar. 5, 1929; died, Ramona, CA, Jan. 28, 1990.)  During his flamboyant career, Casey Tibbs was the premiere saddle bronc rider on the rodeo circuit and was twice the all-around champion of his sport. What perhaps more than his ability attracted the attention of the public was his flair. Tibbs’ purple Cadillacs and exciting lifestyle projected him beyond the confines of rodeo into a name known nationwide and even landed him on the cover of Life magazine, a first for a rodeo rider.  Of course, Tibbs would not have received the attention he did if he was not one of the best riders on the circuit and frequently a champion in the World Championship Rodeo staged annually at Madison Square Garden.  From 1948-61, Tibbs won the saddle bronc title six times in the Garden and when he retired for the first time in 1964, he held more Garden riding championships than any other cowboy.   Known as the “Babe Ruth of Rodeo” partly because of his riding prowess and partly because of his personality, Tibbs became the all-around champion for the first time in 1951. He repeated in 1955 when he was again the leading money-winner on the circuit with over $42,000 in purses, a huge figure for the time.  Tibbs also won the bareback bronc riding crown once in the Garden, giving him nine championships overall.  He ended his first retirement in 1967 and won nine of the first 10 rodeos he entered.

George Tidden

George Tidden (Sportswriting.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, 1856; died, Brooklyn, NY, June 30, 1913.)  Born Gerhard Otto Tidden to immigrant German parents in South Brooklyn, George Tidden became a leading baseball authority.  Tidden began his sportswriting career in the late 1870s with the short-lived Daily America and worked as a general sports reporter for several New York and Brooklyn papers.  But he became increasingly drawn to baseball and, before the 1895 season, joined Joseph Pulitzer’s dominant daily, The World, as baseball editor.  At first, Tidden focused mainly on the Manhattan-based Giants but gradually gave more coverage to the Brooklyn club as well.  In 1903, he was among the first important writers to accord equal coverage to the fledgling American League team at Hilltop Park that later became known as the Yankees.  It was his devotion to the A.L. team that led to his demise at age 57.  Tidden attended the first game at Ebbets Field, an exhibition between the Highlanders and Brooklyn on April 5, 1913, a cold and windy day.  When writers discovered that the new ballpark had no press facilities, they worked outside, and Tidden caught a severe cold that turned to pneumonia.  In 1946, on its 10th anniversary, the Baseball Hall of Fame selected an honor roll of 11 important baseball writers, six of them from New York and eight overall still living.  Tidden was honored 33 years after his death as a formative figure in baseball coverage.

Bill Tilden

Bill Tilden (Tennis.  Born, Germantown, PA, Feb. 10, 1893; died, Los Angeles, CA, June 5, 1953.)  During the “Golden Age of Sports,” Bill Tilden was one of the great names of the age, ranking with Babe Ruth (q.v.), Jack Dempsey (q.v.), and Bobby Jones (q.v.).  Known as “Big Bill,” Tilden in comparison to his smaller Davis Cup teammate “Little Bill” Johnston, Tilden would sweep virtually all before him in the 1920s.  In the U.S. nationals, Tilden won 71 of the 78 singles matches he played and won a record-equalling seven singles titles from 1920-29, including six in a row (1920-25).  He was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. every year from 1920 through 1929 and was the world’s No. 1 for six straight years from 1920-25.  He won his first U.S. singles in 1920 at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills.  He amassed a total of 16 national titles, winning five men’s doubles (mostly with Vinny Richards) and four mixed doubles titles.  William Tatem Tilden, II, first appeared on the national scene in 1913, but was less than a top player due to the weakness of his backhand.  He then dedicated himself to improving that weakness through one entire winter and emerged as the world’s finest all-around performer.  Tilden also won three Wimbledon singles crowns (1920, 1921 and 1930) and led the U.S. to victory in the Davis Cup seven years in a row from 1920 through 1926 before an upset loss to France in 1927.

Bob Tisch

Bob Tisch (Executive.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Apr. 29, 1926; died, New York, NY, Nov. 15, 2005.) Long a leader of New York’s cultural, educational, and charitable community, Preston Robert Tisch joined the elite of professional sports ownership in Feb. 1991. Achieving a life-long ambition, he purchased half of the Football Giants franchise from Tim Mara and other members of the late Jack Mara’s family, becoming chairman and co-chief executive officer of the N.F.L. club. Tisch already ranked as one of America’s most successful businessmen, as chairman and co-CEO of the $69 billion Loews Corporation, which owns Loews hotels and resorts and such diverse operations as CNA Financial, Bulova Watch, and Lorillard Tobacco. Tisch has served both his country and his city in many ways, including a term as Postmaster General of the U.S. (1986-88) and a 19-year stint as chairman of the New York Visitors and Convention Bureau (where he remained as chairman emeritus). From 1990-93, Tisch was chairman of the New York City Partnership, Inc., and the New York Chamber of Commerce and Industry. After military service in World War II, he earned his B.A. in economics at the University of Michigan in 1948. Tisch was a member of the N.F.L.’s Finance and Super Bowl Policy committees, devoting time to his league and team duties at his Giants Stadium office.

Maria Cerra Tishman

(Fencing.  Born, New York, May 17, 1918; died, Paramus, NJ, Jan. 24, 2015.)  Born into a fencing family, Maria Cerra began participating in the sport at age nine. She fenced for Hunter College and was a nine-time member of the Amateur Fencers League of America (AFLA) national championship foil team from 1935-47.  She won the U.S. national individual championship in the foil in 1945.  At the 1948 London Olympic Games, Cerra finished in a three-way tie for second, only two touches away from the gold medal.  After tie-breaking procedures were applied, she wound up fourth.  For the rest of her life, no American woman matched her Olympic finish.  Following the Games, she married epee fencer Peter Tishman.  For more than 60 years after retiring from competition in 1948, Tishman dedicated herself to fencing.  She served as the first woman on the U.S. Olympic Fencing Committee.  During her tenure, Tishman established an international selection system for U.S. teams based exclusively on earned points.  In addition to promoting fencing throughout the U.S., she worked as an elementary school teacher in New Jersey and retired there in 1984.  In her later years, Tishman officiated at New Jersey high school dual meets around the northeast part of the state.  Tishman was in the inaugural class of 18 inductees to the U.S. Fencing Hall of Fame in 1963. – By Zhizhou Ye

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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