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

Category Archives: Sports editor

Ed Frayne

Ed Frayne (Sports editor.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Nov. 8, 1892; died, Van Nuys, CA, Nov. 26, 1944.)  Returning from California in November 1926, Edward J. Frayne became sports editor of the New York American, the morning broadsheet owned by William Randolph Hearst.  Hearst also owned the tabloid Daily Mirror (started just two years earlier) and the Evening Journal, the city’s largest-selling afternoon paper.  Frayne was brought in from Los Angeles, where he was sports editor of the Record.  Frayne quickly updated the American sports staff and coverage, also teaming with Bill Farnsworth, the Journal’s sports editor, to promote boxing events in aid of the Hearst Milk Fund, the favorite charity of Millicent Hearst, the publisher’s estranged wife.  When the two broadsheets were combined in June 1937, to form the afternoon Journal-American, Frayne was chosen to be the sports editor.  In 1939, after a brief tour as an executive with the 20th Century Sporting Club, he left to return to California, where he purchased the Turlock Journal.  Max Kase became the Journal-American’s sports editor.

Paul Gallico

Paul Gallico (Sports editor.  Born, New York, NY, July 26, 1897; died, Monte Carlo, Monaco, July 15, 1976.)  Among the most renowned sportswriters of the “Golden Age of Sports” was Paul William Gallico, sports editor and columnist of the Daily News from 1924-36.  Gallico joined the News in 1922 as a movie critic but was a sportswriter (1923-24) before becoming sports editor.  He created many of his own best works by competing against the great athletes of the day.  Gallico, a Columbia man who should have known better, boxed heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey and was knocked out in less than two minutes.  He swam against Johnny Weismuller and golfed with Bobby Jones (less hazardous pursuits).  Gallico also was a promotional mind who helped create the Golden Gloves amateur boxing tournament and the Silver Skates for amateur skaters, both major Daily News promotions with finals at the Garden.  He left the paper to become an author.  One of Gallico’s first major works was Farewell to Sports (1938), but the title was something of a misnomer since he later turned out a biography of Lou Gehrig.  Gallico moved to Europe in 1950 and there produced his most noted work, including The Snow Goose, Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris, and The Poseidon Adventure.

Ike Gellis

Ike Gellis (Sports editor.  Born, New York, NY, Jan. 5, 1908; died, Nyack, NY, Apr. 28, 1988.)  Although Isaac Gellis never considered himself a writer of sports or anything else, he was an extraordinarily fine judge of talent and during his 30 years as sports editor of the New York Post, the paper had what was considered the finest sports section in New York. Gellis succeeded Leonard Cohen as sports editor in 1948 and built a staff that included such notables as Milton Gross, Paul Zimmerman, Larry Merchant, Gene Roswell, Jerry Mitchell, Maury Allen, Leonard Schechter, Leonard Koppett, Arch Murray, Leonard Lewin and Cohen during the years before his retirement in 1978.  Gellis actually spent a half-century with the Post, joining the paper as a soccer and boxing writer in 1928.  He was particularly fond of boxing and racing, and of his boxing writers, such as Al Buck and Lester Bromberg, and racing writers, such as Manny Kalisch.  During his years at the Post, Gellis worked in the sales and mechanical departments and spent time on the business side before becoming sports editor.  In fact, he met his wife in Chicago, where she was working for the Chicago Tribune while he was representing a line of books being distributed by the Post.  But it is as the shaper and molder of a sports section that spoke New York’s language to New Yorkers that Ike Gellis is particularly remembered.  He possessed a sense of what his readers wanted and the ability to select a staff to give it to them.

Joe Gootter

Joe Gootter (Sports editor.  Born, Lodz, Poland, Oct. 16, 1911; died, Paterson, NJ, Nov. 2, 1996.)  Warmth and humor are not character traits normally associated with sports editors, but Joe Gootter had both in abundance.  Gootter was sports editor of the Paterson (N.J.) Evening News for more than 25 years.  At the time of his hiring, he was the youngest sports editor in the country.  But Gootter was much more than just a sports buff.  He was a standup comic whose best friend was comedian Henny Youngman (for whom he once filled in at a performance), a comedy writer who wrote sketches for Lou Costello, and an associate of many Hollywood notables.  Gootter was a frequent speaker, as well as active with such groups as the Friars Club and Saints and Sinners.  As Youngman once said, “He had all the jokes and he knew how to tell them.”  Gootter also had influence in sports aside from his job.  He is credited with convincing Larry Doby, who broke the color line in the A.L., to stay in baseball even though it was then a segregated sport.  Gootter was also a regional publicist for the Harlem Globetrotters and many events in New Jersey sports.  During his days as the News’ sports editor, he conducted a local radio show and later wrote two books on sports.  Gootter came to the U.S. in 1915, worked his way through Ohio State, and realized his version of the American Dream.

Bill Granger

Bill Granger (Sports editor.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Feb. 9, 1877; died, Kew Gardens, NY, Jan. 17, 1945.)  As a callow youth, he spent much of his time supporting himself as a bowling hustler, but William J. Granger wound up as sports editor of the Brooklyn Citizen for more than half of the paper’s 61-year existence.  Granger worked for the Brooklyn Eagle for two years (1900-02), doing mostly non-editorial work while pursuing his bowling avocation.  In early 1902, he was hired by Major Wheeler, the Citizen’s sports editor, as the paper’s bowling editor.  This move not only saved Granger’s victims money but attracted his fellow keglers as readers.  Granger succeeded Wheeler as sports editor in 1907, promptly improved the Citizen’s baseball coverage, and was one of the six original organizers of the B.B.W.A.A. in 1908.  He added baseball writer Clinton Hoard to the staff and began to expand coverage of other sports.  Granger was chairman of the Brooklyn B.B.W.A.A. chapter three times (1922-23, 1933-34, 1942-43).  The Citizen closed on Aug. 29, 1947.

Al Del Greco

Al Del Greco (Sports editor.  Born, Lodi, NJ, 1906; died, Hackensack, NJ, Sept. 16, 1970.)  A colorful character with a colorful style, Albert Del Greco was the sports columnist for the Bergen Evening Record in Hackensack, N.J., for 41 years (1929-70).  During most of that period, Del Greco was also the sports editor of the paper (now known as The Record).  He joined the paper in 1928, becoming the sports columnist the following year.  In 1931, Del Greco assumed the sports editor’s job, a position he was to hold until January 1970, when he was succeeded by Don Sherlock, but he remained as the columnist until shortly before his death.

Max Kase

Max Kase (Sports editor.  Born, New York, NY, July 21, 1898; died, Yonkers, NY, Mar. 19, 1974.)  Max Kase was known during his years as sports editor of the New York Journal-American for his newsy notes column entitled “Briefkase.”  He had a distinct “nose for news.”  Two years after the merger of the New York American and the Evening Journal into the afternoon Journal-American in 1939, Kase succeeded Ed Frayne as the sports editor of the combined operation.  In 1945, when columnist Bill Corum got wind of the Yankees’ sale by the Ruppert Estate, Kase took over the story and tracked down mystery buyer Del Webb (a partner with Dan Topping and Larry MacPhail).  He woke Webb in a hotel suite with a late-night telephone call and scored a Page One scoop.  Six years tater, Kase’s dogged determination helped uncover the 1951 college basketball betting scandals.  Kase received a special Pulitzer Prize citation the following year.  All of those associated with Kase, however will recall his daily greeting, “Got any notes?”  He was relentless in collecting items for his column.  Kase was very active in many social and professional groups, serving as the driving force behind the formation of B’nai B’rith Sports Lodge and its annual fund-raising dinner.

Ray Kelly

Ray Kelly (Sports editor.  Born, New York, NY, Feb. 18, 1898; died, Bronxville, NY, Jan. 8, 1967.)  The biggest classical music fan ever to run a sports department at a major New York newspaper, Raymond J. Kelly was sports editor of The New York Times for 21 years (1937-58).  Kelly was a Fordham classmate and fast friend of Frank Frisch (q.v.), later a major league player and manager.  They also shared a common interest in classical music and were known to go to a game at the Polo Grounds in the afternoon and attend a Carnegie Hall concert the same evening.  Kelly got his sportswriting start covering Frisch’s Fordham exploits as a campus stringer for several newspapers.  In 1920, W.O. McGeehan hired him as a sportswriter at the Tribune.  He covered primarily baseball and worked the desk in the off-season.  In 1922, Kelly joined The Times and, in 15 months, rose to assistant sports editor.  He succeeded Bernard St.J. Thompson Feb. 26, 1937, and retired in April 1958.  Kelly was such a classical music buff that he once took piano lessons but said that after listening to the greats, “I couldn’t stand myself” and stuck to his sizable collection of recordings and attending performances by better keyboard artists than himself.

Bob Kennedy

Bob Kennedy (Sports editor.  Born, Stamford, CT, Jan. 16. 1943.)  At one time the longest-serving sports editor in the metro New York area, Robert Francis Kennedy has headed the sports department of The Advocate of Stamford starting in 1975, when he succeeded Fred Willis.  Kennedy started at the paper as a sportswriter in 1964.  He left in 1970 to pursue business interests in New York for five years before returning as sports editor.  After his retirement as sports editor, he continued to file stories as a special correspondent for the paper.

Willie Klein

Willie Klein (Sports editor.  Born, Newark, NJ, June 24, 1913; died, Edison, NJ, Feb. 26, 2001.)  Willie Klein’s story could perhaps be entitled “local boy makes good.” In the depths of the Depression (1932), Klein joined the staff of one of Newark’s three daily newspapers, The Morning Ledger, and thirty years later had risen to sports editor of the largest newspaper in the state of New Jersey.  Shortly after he joined the Ledger, the paper merged with the Newark Star-Eagle to form The Star-Ledger and, in 1936, Klein became the principal beat writer on the paper for the biggest local continuing sports story, the Newark Bears of the International League, a farm club of the New York Yankees.  Until the Bears folded in 1949, Klein covered the doings of the local baseball heroes, giving him an opportunity to meet lots of major leaguers before they got to the majors. In 1949, he followed the same path and became a major league baseball writer for The Star-Ledger. Klein stayed on the baseball beat with the New York big league club until 1962. That year, he was appointed sports editor, a position he held for more than 30 years.  During his tenure, the sports staff increased in both the quality and quantity of its writers and the depth of its coverage.  Many observers felt that the superiority of the sports section helped contribute to the survival of The Star-Ledger, outlasting its once much-larger rival, the Newark Evening News, which closed in 1972.

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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