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

Category Archives: Sportswriter

Marty Lader


Marty Lader  (Sportswriter.  Born, Brooklyn, Jan. 29, 1936.)  During his 33-year career at U.P.I. (1960-93), Martin Lader became a leading wire service authority on tennis, regularly covering the U.S. Open and other major events.  Lader began at what was then United Press in 1956 as an agate clerk.  (The organization became U.P.I. in 1958 when U.P. merged with the International News Service.)  Lader left U.P.I. for a year (1959-60) to be a general-assignment reporter for the Melbourne Herald in Australia.  In 1993, he went to The Record of Hackensack, N.J., on the sports copy desk.  Lader has also been an active freelance writer, doing books on the Olympics, hockey, and basketball.  He has also contributed to golf almanacs and tennis encyclopedias, as well as writing numerous magazine articles on a variety of sports.

Dick Young


Dick Young (Sportswriter.  Born, New York, NY, Oct. 17, 1917; died, New York, NY, Aug. 31, 1987.)  From the day he started to cover baseball in 1943 until just before his death 44 years later, Richard Leonard Young was the most quoted, controversial, and widely-read sportswriter in New York for the better part of four decades.  Dick Young began his career as a copy boy at the Daily News and remained with the morning tabloid until 1982, when he moved to the New York Post as a columnist at a salary reported to be $150,000 per year, then a monstrous sum for a sportswriter.  Young made his reputation as the finest tabloid lead writer in the baseball business while covering the post-war Brooklyn Dodgers.  He also authored columns called “Young Ideas” and “Clubhouse Confidential.”  He was a tireless worker and a fearless opponent, carrying on legendary feuds with athletes such as Tom Seaver and telecasters such as Howard Cosell.  Young was also one of the best boxing writers of his time.  He not only wrote detailed round-by-round accounts of major fights in progress, but then wrote leads and dressing room stories.

Mel Woody


Mel Woody (Sportswriter.  Born, Los Angeles, CA, Dec. 18, 1922; died, Anderson, SC, Mar. 15, 2007.)  As the last writer for the Newark Evening News to cover the baseball Giants, Esteen Melvin Woody also was the last to cover the Mets before the paper folded Aug. 31, 1972.  Woody joined the News in 1947 as a suburban reporter for what was then the largest and most important newspaper in New Jersey.  He moved to sports in 1952 as the night sports editor.  Two years later, Woody went to the Giants beat, where he remained until the team moved to San Francisco, Calif., after the 1957 season.  He also covered New Jersey tennis, college football, and rowing, as well as the Rangers.  In 1965, he became the beat man on the Mets and was covering them in Cincinnati when the paper closed.  Woody went to the Cincinnati Enquirer and became a member of the sports staff almost on the spot, rising to assistant sports editor.  He left to become executive sports editor of the now-defunct Miami (Fla.) Daily News in 1980 and retired in 1988.  Woody served in the Navy during World War II.

Barry Wilner


Barry Wilner (Sportswriter.  Born, Far Rockaway, NY, Apr. 5, 1951.)  An Associated Press sportswriter since 1978, Barry Stuart Wilner has covered a wide range of sports.  Wilner was a tennis writer (1978-79), hockey writer (1980-85) and television sports writer (1985-86) before assuming the Jets beat in 1986.  He is also the A.P. figure skating writer, a beat he went on in 1985 as well as one that sends him to the Olympics and other international skating events.

George Willis


George Willis (Sportswriter.  Born, Las Cruces, NM, May 31, 1960.)  After covering virtually every major sport for three newspapers, George Allen Willis became a columnist for the Post in 1997.  Willis began his career as a general-assignment sportswriter for the Memphis (Tenn.) Commercial Appeal in 1983 and came to New York four years later.  He handled the Football Giants beat for Newsday for almost seven years (1987-94) and then moved to The New York Times.  At The Times, Willis’ primary assignments were the Mets and Nets.  He then went to the Post where, in addition to his column, he covers many major boxing events and some golf.

Joe Williams


Joe Williams (Sportswriter.  Born, Memphis, TN, Dec. 12, 1889; died, Parsippany, NJ, Feb. 14, 1972.)  Among the finest sports columnists ever in New York, Joseph Peter Williams, Sr., was also a long-time sports editor.  Williams became sports editor and lead columnist of the Telegram when it was purchased by the Scripps-Howard chain in 1927.  He had been with Scripps-Howard’s Cleveland afternoon paper, the Press, and was brought to New York to make the weak Telegram competitive with the dominant Journal and Evening World in the afternoon field.  Williams managed the renovation of the Telegram’s sports department.  He was also one of the top columnists in the city and wrote heavily about baseball as well as boxing and other sports.  In 1931, the Telegram absorbed The World and, in 1950, the World-Telegram acquired The Sun.  Joseph P. Val, at first an assistant to Williams, became the sports editor but Williams remained the major columnist until 1964.  He later wrote columns for The Morning Telegraph.  Williams traveled to the Olympics and major college football games, but baseball remained his principal interest and he was a regular in spring training with the local teams, particularly the Yankees.  He was personally close to such greats as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio.  In 1989, a collection of his superb columns, assembled by his son, J.P. (Pete) Williams, Jr., was published.

Don Williams


Don Williams (Sportswriter.  Born, Jamaica, NY, Aug. 31, 1932; died, Westbury, NY, Sept. 1, 2011.)  A quiet, unassuming presence, Clement Donald Williams spent nearly a half-century covering sports, primarily pro football.  Williams was hired by the Long Island Press in 1950 and worked a wide range of inside jobs at the paper, moving into sports on the desk.  In 1960, he gained his first major writing assignment when he was assigned to cover the Titans in the new A.F.L. at the Polo Grounds.  After two seasons, Williams stepped up to the N.F.L., then the dominant league, and began covering the Giants at Yankee Stadium.  In his first two seasons with the Giants, the team won the Eastern Division title and played in the N.F.L. championship game.  Williams stayed with the Giants for the Press through 1976 (when Giants Stadium opened).  The Press folded Mar. 25, 1977, and Newhouse (owner of the paper) shifted Williams to its Newark Star-Ledger, where the Giants beat was occupied.  He then covered the Mets for two seasons (1977-78), but returned to pro football with the Jets in 1979.  Williams covered the Jets for 18 seasons (1979-96) and retired in 1997.

Gordon White


Gordon White (Sportswriter.  Born, Paterson, NJ, Sept. 15, 1926.)  During a 40-year career at The New York Times, Gordon Stowe White, Jr., became the paper’s leading college sports writer.  Over his last 30 years at The Times, White covered over 100 college football bowl games and 28 N.C.A.A. Final Four basketball championships.  He began with an unsigned piece on indoor polo at the Seventh Regiment Armory and then moved to the Knicks, where he spent much of his next 10 years.  White joined The Times as a copy boy in Feb. 1947 while a student at Columbia.  He became a reporter in 1949 and moved into sports about a year later.  White covered the Football Giants in the Polo Grounds during the 1950s and the N.F.L. championship team at Yankee Stadium in 1956.  Then he began to branch out into college sports and golf.  White served at various times as president of the Metropolitan Writers Associations in golf, basketball, and football, the Basketball Writers Association of America in 1968-69, and the U.S. Football Writers in 1983.  He retired Jan. 1, 1990.  White’s family had a lengthy background in the newspaper field.  His father worked for newspapers in St. Louis and Chicago, while his uncle, John W. White, was The Times’ foreign correspondent in South America in the 1930s.

Linc Werden


Linc Werden (Sportswriter.  Born, New York, NY, Feb. 12, 1904; died, Brooklyn Heights, NY, Nov. 25, 1980.)  Graduating from the High School of Commerce and then attending Columbia with Lou Gehrig, Lincoln August Werden early determined that his sports career, if any, lay in areas other than competition on the field.  After his graduation from college in 1925, Werden began a newspaper career in Bridgeport, Conn., as a general and political reporter.  In 1928, he joined The New York Times.  Moving to the sports staff, Werden began covering golf in 1944 and later became the first Times writer regularly assigned to the P.G.A. Tour.  He also covered several collegiate sports, notably football, basketball and baseball, when not on the golf beat.

Will Wedge


Will Wedge (Sportswriter.  Born, Zanesville, OH, Mar. 27, 1889; died, Detroit, MI, Sept. 8, 1951.)  Recruited from ship news, a major beat at the time, William Guille Wedge became a leading baseball writer.  Wedge dropped out of Case Tech (now Case Western Reserve) in Cleveland to pursue his writing career.  He came to New York and was hired at The Globe & Commercial Advertiser, where he rose to the leading ship news writer.  But when Frank Munsey merged The Globe into The Sun in 1923, Wedge joined the combined staff and was recruited by Joe Vila (q.v.), The Sun’s sports editor, for baseball, the biggest sports beat.  He covered every World Series from 1923-49 for the paper, which closed Jan. 4, 1950.  Wedge then went to the Baseball Hall of Fame and was representing that institution at the American Legion baseball championship when he died.

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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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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