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

Category Archives: Sports editor

Neil Amdur

Neil Amdur (Sports editor.  Born, Wilkes-Barre, PA, Dec. 19, 1939.)  Following his graduation from the University of Missouri, Neil L. Amdur began his sportswriting career with the Miami (Fla.) Herald in 1961.  He served two terms as the lead tennis writer for The New York Times (1968-75 and 1976-84), leaving the first time to go to CBS Television Sports in 1975 and the second to become editor-in-chief of World Tennis magazine in 1984.  Amdur returned to The Times as sports editor for 12 years (1990-2002).  He has written four books, including two on tennis, Chrissie (1981) and Off the Court (1982).

Henry P. Burchell

Henry P. Burchell (Sports editor.  Born, New York, NY, Aug. 7, 1875; died, Atlantic Ocean, north of Norfolk, Va., Jan. 17, 1924.)  Sports editor of The New York Times for nearly 10 years, Henry Phillip Burchell was abruptly dismissed Dec. 13, 1915, amid rumors of travel expense irregularities.  No cause for Burchell’s departure was ever officially made public.  He also lost his position as editor of Spalding’s tennis annual.  Burchell, a Penn man, resurfaced July 1, 1921, as the secretary of the new State Athletic Commission and soon rose to deputy commissioner under William Muldoon.  He resigned suddenly, along with his successor as commission secretary, William Nagel, on June 30, 1923.  During Burchell’s tenure at The Times, the paper first began to take sports seriously, expanding its horizons considerably to match the thoroughness other endeavors received, a process that accelerated under his successor, Bernard Thompson.  Burchell disappeared from the Old Dominion Line steamer Jefferson while en route to Norfolk, Va., an apparent suicide.

Joe Carnicelli

Joe Carnicelli (Sports editor. Born, Brooklyn, NY, March 21, 1942.)  Joseph Peter Carnicelli, although he spent much of his career as a public relations executive, is distinguished by his service as a sports editor at United Press International  (1976-84) and SportsTicker (1987-96). Teamed with the dynamic columnist-sports editor Milton Richman, Carnicelli helped make the outmanned U.P.I. a formidable competitor for the dominant Associated Press in sports news after his appointment as executive sports editor in Sept. 1976. He had joined U.P.I. in 1966 and was succeeded as sports editor by David Tucker in Nov. 1984, during a management shakeup. After less than two years with Lapin & Rose public relations, Carnicelli became the managing editor of SportsTicker (later ESPN SportsTicker) in Mar. 1987, and helped transform the organization into a virtually-full-service sports wire before leaving in Mar. 1996.

Bob Cooke

Bob Cooke (Sports editor.  Born, Paterson, NJ, Feb. 24, 1912; died, Riverhead, NY, May 7, 1987.)  A hockey player at Yale, Robert B. Cooke became a baseball writer in 1938, covering mainly the Brooklyn Dodgers for the Herald Tribune, a beat to which he returned after Army service during World War II.  In 1948, Helen Rogers Reid, publisher of the Herald Tribune, dismissed sports editor Stanley Woodward after a dispute involving the coverage of some events in which Mrs. Reid had a special interest.  Cooke got the job, serving as sports editor for 11 years (1948-59).  During his tenure, he continued to write some baseball columns and also leads on major events such as the World Series.  With the sale of the paper to John Hay Whitney, Cooke was replaced when Woodward returned.  He then did public relations work, representing, among others, Harry M. Stevens, Inc., the concessionaire.  Cooke’s older brother, Barclay, was also a hockey player at Yale who later played for the St. Nicholas H.C. and, in the 1970s, was a world backgammon champion.

Guido Cribari

Guido Cribari (Sports editor.  Born, Mt. Vernon, NY, July 12, 1915; died, Bronxville, NY, Oct. 8, 2008.)  A chance meeting in a barbershop led Guido Cribari to a 50-year career in the newspaper business and a place as one of the leading golf writers and organizers in the East. Cribari was approached by Art Saunders, general manager of the Mt. Vernon Daily Argus, in 1945 about replacing ailing sports editor Jack Wertis.  He accepted the job on what was a temporary basis at the start, but, within two years, rose to become the sports editor for the entire group of papers known in those days as the “Macy chain” (after its founderValentine Macy). Cribari served as executive sports editor for the group of 10 daily and five weekly newspapers through its expansion and growth into one of the largest and most influential suburban publishing groups in the country.  From Westchester County Publishing, the group became Westchester-Rockland Newspapers and then Gannett Suburban Newspapers, which eventually consolidated all the papers into The Journal News.  Writing principally about golf, Cribari became recognized as both an authority and an enthusiast for the sport.  This led to his helping Bill Jennings and Fred Corcoran establish the Westchester Classic, a P.G.A. Tour tournament later known as the Buick Classic held at the Westchester Country Club.  For his long service to golf, Cribari has been honored with four major awards. These include the P.G.A.’s Sam Snead, the Metropolitan Golf Writers’ Lincoln A. Werden, the Golf Superintendents’ John Reid and the Distinguished Service Award of the Metropolitan Golf Association. No one else has won all four of these prestigious awards.

Jim Crusinberry

Jim Crusinberry (Sports editor.  Born, Cascade, IA, Dec. 11, 1879; died, Chicago, IL, July 1, 1960.)  On loan from the Chicago Tribune, James Crusinberry became the first full-time sports editor of the Daily News in early 1921.  The News was then barely 18 months old and had virtually no image among the sports-minded readers in New York.  Crusinberry changed all that before returning to Chicago in June 1923.  As a founding member of the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1908, he brought strong baseball coverage credentials to the fledgling paper.  Crusinberry inherited Marshall Hunt, a deskman hired earlier from Hearst’s American, and a 14-year-old copy boy named Charlie Hoerter, later a long-time News sports editor.  He built a staff, adding Al Copland, Harry Newman, and Jackie Farrell as writers, and Grant Powers as the paper’s first sports cartoonist.  Crusinberry concentrated on baseball and soon made the young tabloid the read of choice for many fans of the Yankees, Giants, and Dodgers.  When he left, Crusinberry was succeeded by former movic critic Paul Gallico (q.v.), who expanded the coverage and became the paper’s first regular sports columnist.  After returning to the Tribune, Crusinberry later became the director of news operations for CBS in Chicago.  In 1958, he threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the World Series in Milwaukee to mark the 50th anniversary of the B.B.W.A.A.’s founding.  He retired to Phoenix, Ariz., but died while on a visit to Chicago.  At his death, Crusinberry was the next-to-last member of the B.B.W.A.A. founders, survived only by Ed Bang of the old Cleveland News.

George H. Daley

George H. Daley (Sports editor.  Born, New York, NY, Dec. 26, 1869; died, New York, NY, Feb. 8, 1938.)  Considered the longest-serving sports editor in New York newspaper history, George Herbert Daley edited sports pages for over 40 years at three major dailies.  Daley graduated Union College in 1892 as a civil engineer but found work at his father’s engineering company tedious.  He decided to go into the newspaper field in a city that then had more than two dozen dailies and was hired by the Evening Post for the sports staff, since he had been an athlete in college.  Daley spent three years (1892-95) at the Post under Charles P. Sawyer and became sufficiently skilled to be hired as sports editor at the Tribune.  In 1916, he moved to the more prestigious World, where he inherited such talent as Walter Trumball and Bill Hennigan.  When the World was sold to the Telegram Feb. 28, 1931, Daley went to the new combination, but not as sports editor.  Joe Williams (q.v.) remained in charge at the World-Telegram and, in September, Daley was hired as sports editor of the Herald Tribune, where he remained until his death.  At the World, Daley introduced an everyday column that he signed “Herbert,” giving impetus to the development of columns in morning papers.  His column was entitled “Sports Talk” at the Herald Tribune.  After his death, the rival Times paid him a rare tribute with an editorial page paean that read, in part, on Feb. 9, 1938, “His seasonal and seasoned comment was deeply respected not only by sports fans but by leaders in the athletic field, amateur and professional.”  The Times also extensively covered his funeral two days later.  His cousin, George (Monitor) Daley, worked on the sports staff of the morning World and, later, The New York Times.

Len Elliott

Len Elliott (Sports editor.  Born, Dover, NJ, July 15, 1902; died, Livingston, NJ, Sept. 25, 1978.)  A leading authority among writers on college football and golf, Leonard M. Elliott was sports editor of the Newark Evening News for 29 years (1939-68).  Elliott started with the News in 1925 and became sports editor in 1939 when Hal Sharkey died.  He resigned as sports editor but continued to write columns, cover college football, and author golf books until he retired in 1972.  Some of Elliott’s college football style reached near-fetish proportions.  He would not allow his writers, for instance, to use the term “onside kick.”  The squib kick was always referred to in the News as the “short oblique.”  Elliott was primarily concerned with Eastern college football and was frequently seen at Penn State, Syracuse, Army, or Ivy League games.  He wrote a history of the first century of Princeton football and co-authored five books on golf, mostly with New Jersey golf pro Jim Dante.  The works included the popular Nine Bad Shots of Golf, to which Leo Diegel lent his name, even though it was actually written by Elliott and Dante.  Published in 1947, this book went through several printings.  Elliott was a star high school athlete during the post-World War I era, which hastened his ascent in the News sports department.

Bill Farnsworth

Bill Farnsworth (Sports editor.  Born, Milbury, MA, June 7, 1885; died, New York, NY, July 10, 1945.)  Part of the triumvirate of Hearst newspaper stars who dominated the boxing business in New York in the 1920s, Wilton Simpson Farnsworth was sports editor of the Evening Journal for its last 12 years (1925-37).  Farnsworth teamed with Damon Runyon and Ed Frayne to exert enormous influence over boxing through the Hearst Milk Fund, a charity nominally run by William Randolph Hearst’s estranged wife, Millicent, who remained in New York when “the Chief” moved to California to live with his mistress, actress Marion Davies.  The trio influenced promoters and managers to make fights to benefit the Fund, especially at Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds.  The resulting publicity in the Journal and its morning companion, the New York American, where Frayne was the sports editor, was a substantial benefit to fighters.  When the two papers merged in 1937, Frayne was named sports editor of the new Journal-American, an afternoon newspaper.  In August 1937, Farnsworth was hired as manager of the 20th Century Sporting Club by Mike Jacobs, then New York’s leading boxing promoter.  Farnsworth began his career in the Hearst chain in 1904 at the Boston American, became a sportswriter for the Journal in 1907, and two years later became sports editor of the Atlanta Georgian, where he remained before returning to New York.  He died as a result of a stroke suffered at ringside in Madison Square Garden Nov. 17, 1944.

Richard Kyle Fox

Richard Kyle Fox (Sports editor.  Born, Belfast, Ireland, Aug. 12, 1846; died, Red Bank, NJ, Nov. 14, 1922.)  Among the major influences that made sports a significant part of the American culture, Richard Kyle Fox’s Police Gazette must rank high on any list.  Fox turned the Police Gazette into a national sports weekly.  Fox came to the U.S. in 1874 and within three days was working as a messenger for a Wall Street financial paper.  A year later, he moved to the Police Gazette, a titillating gossip sheet, as the business manager.  Fox bought an interest in the paper the following year and, in 1877, became the sole owner and publisher, roles he was to fill until his death.  In addition to dramatically expanding the sports coverage, he took an active role in the sports business itself.  The Police Gazette, under Fox, provided prizes, trophies, and awards in many sports, including a diamond-studded belt for the world’s heavyweight boxing champion that cost over $4,000 when made.

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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