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

Category Archives: Broadcaster

Bill Mazer

(Broadcasting. Born, Izyaslav, Ukraine, Nov. 2, 1920; died, Danbury, CT, Oct. 23, 2013.)  An American radio and later television broadcaster noted for his knowledge of sports trivia, and an early sports talk show host, Morris (later known as Bill) Mazer came to his love of sports young.  His family moved from Bill’s native Ukraine to Brooklyn before his first birthday.  Mazer attended Michigan and he got his first broadcasting job in 1941, working for WOOD radio station in Grand Rapids, MI. A year later he was drafted into the Army and served as an officer in the Army Air Forces during World War II. He spent almost 20 years broadcasting in Buffalo before moving to New York in 1964 to host the first regularly-scheduled sports-talk radio show; it was broadcast on WNBC-AM.  Mazer earned the nickname of “The Amazin’ Mazer” and simply “The Amazin’” due to his abundant knowledge of sports trivia. Throughout his career, he authored various books on sports, including The Amazin’ Bill Mazer’s Baseball Trivia Book, The Sports Answer Book, and Amazin’ Bill Mazer’s Football Trivia.  He later became WNEW-TV’s sports anchor, where he hosted Sports Extra on Channel 5 from 1973-86. From 1987 until the early ‘90s, Mazer hosted a lunchtime radio interview show on WFAN from Mickey Mantle’s, a restaurant on Central Park South. He went on to become the morning talk show host on WEVD from 1992-2001. Mazer then hosted a program that his son Arnie had produced on WVOX in New Rochelle, NY, until he retired in 2009. – By Izzy Robinson

Howie Rose

(Broadcasting. Born, Brooklyn, NY, Feb. 13, 1954.)  Howard Rose has been a New York area announcer for over 40 years.  Rose began his broadcasting career in 1975 with SportsPhone, an organization that callers dialed to get updated sports scores at a time when it was otherwise close to impossible to get them.  He soon began working as a substitute announcer for  Rangers games. Rose became the full-time Rangers  play-by-play announcer in 1989.  His call of the double overtime series-winning goal in the seventh game of the 1994 Stanley Cup semifinal against New Jersey – “Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!” – has become maybe the most famous call in franchise history.  (The Rangers won the Cup one round later.)  Rose became the play-by-play announcer for the Islanders in 1995 and for the Mets in 2004. He quickly became a fan favorite thanks to his deep knowledge of Mets history and his “Put it in the books!” call following a Mets win.  Rose has also served as a Master of Ceremonies for the Mets during pre-game festivities on Opening Day and at various anniversary celebrations and special events.  In addition to broadcasting games, he authored a book, Put it in the Book! A Half-Century of Mets Mania, published in 2013. Among other honors, Rose was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. – By Louis Bellman

Sam Taub

Sam Taub (Broadcaster.  Born, New York, NY, Sept. 10, 1886; died, New York, NY, July 10, 1979.)  Once the most famous name in boxing broadcasting, Sam Taub began his career in New York sports as a copy boy for the old Morning Telegraph, then edited by famed former western gunslinger Bat Masterson (q.v.).  The young Taub quickly became a favorite of Masterson’s, running his errands and bringing him lunch.  In fact, when Masterson died in 1921, he died at his desk and Sam Taub was the first to see the body.  After a career as a sportswriter, Taub turned to radio in the 1930s and during his career was to broadcast more than 7,000 fights over the air.  During most of his career, his primary sponsor was Adam Hats and Taub became known as “the voice of Adam Hats.”  In 1937, Mike Jacobs promoted an 18-week series of bouts at the New York Hippodrome on Sixth Ave., and it was the first series to be regularly broadcast weekly with Taub at ringside microphone for WHN (AM 1050) under the sponsorship of Adam Hats.  Taub generally worked with commentator Angelo Palange and as the bell sounded after each round’s end, Taub would say, “Take it away, Angelo,” a phrase New York kids grew up repeating.  Television came to boxing on an experimental basis in 1938 and Taub called a series of bouts from Ridgewood Grove, St. Nicholas Arena and the Jamaica Arena for the new medium.  Taub was also the voice for the first major televised bout, the heavyweight matchup between Lou Nova and Max Baer at Yankee Stadium on June 1, 1939.

Mad Dog Russo

Mad Dog Russo (Radio host.  Born, Syosset, NY, Oct. 18, 1959.)  The boisterous and combative half of the tandem, Christopher Michael Russo paired with Mike Francesa to become part of the most celebrated radio talk combination in the history of New York sports (“Mike and the Mad Dog”) on WFAN.  Russo and Francesa came together in 1989.  From 1987 until joining WFAN, he was a host and sports director at WMCA (570 AM).  Previously, Russo held the same positions at WKIS (740 AM) in Orlando, Fla., where he began his career after being graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.  He broke up the act in 2008, signing a five-year contract with Sirius XM satellite radio, which produces his “Mad Dog Unleashed” show weekday afternoons from 2-7.

Pete Silverman

Pete Silverman (Radio-television producer.  Born, Providence, RI, April 11, 1947.)  After a career as a sportscaster in Atlanta, Ga. (1969-70) and Philadelphia (1970-82), Silverman served as executive producer of MSG Network from 1982 to January 1994, when he moved to SportsChannel New York.  When SportsChannel was brought under the MSG umbrella in 1997, Silverman became vice president and executive producer of MSG’s radio network, a job he held for seven years.  In 2007, he was named senior executive producer of ESPN’s New York radio station, 1050 AM (WEPN).

Vin Scully

Vin Scully (Broadcaster.  Born, New York, NY, Nov. 29, 1927.)  Although he was a letter-winning outfielder for the Fordham baseball team, Vin Scully was to become a baseball legend in the broadcast booth rather than on the field.  Prior to his graduation in 1949, Scully worked football, basketball, and some baseball games on the campus station, WFUV-FM, and his work was noticed by Red Barber, then the voice of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Sports Director of CBS Radio.  Scully began working for Barber on the Saturday CBS Radio football roundups and, in 1950, joined the Dodgers broadcast team to fill the vacancy created when Ernie Harwell moved to the New York Giants.  Scully worked the first four years with Barber and Connie Desmond.  However, in 1954, when Barber went to the Yankees, Scully became the lead man at Ebbets Field with Desmond and Andre Baruch as the remainder of the on-air team, both radio and TV.  In 1957, the final year at Ebbets Field, the composition of the team changed, with Al Helfer and Jerry Doggett joining it, but Scully remained the principal voice and continued with the Dodgers in Los Angeles into the 2000s.  Millions have come to know his superb work – the silky voice, understated erudition, composed mien – on the World Series.  He subsequently became a network star not only in baseball but major golf tournaments and other top events for both NBC and CBS.  But it is as the voice of the Brooklyn Dodgers that Scully became a New York legend.

Les Keiter

Les Keiter (Broadcasting.  Born, Seattle, Wash., Apr. 27, 1919; died, Kailua, Hawaii, April 14, 2009.)  For nearly a decade starting in 1954, Les R. Keiter was one of the most recognizable voices in New York sports radio.  Keiter became sports director at WINS (AM 1010) in 1954 and began doing a pre-game show before Yankees games, then carried on that station.  He stopped doing the pre-game show after the 1955 season, but that fall began calling Knicks games on the station.  Keiter was the Knicks voice until the end of the 1960-61 season (except for 1959-60, when no games were broadcast).  When the Football Giants moved from the Polo Grounds to Yankee Stadium for the 1956 season, the team also switched radio stations and Keiter became the play-by-play man for four seasons (WINS, 1956-57; WCBS-AM 880, 1958-59) with four different partners.  His first color commentator was former Yankees rightfielder Tommy Henrich.  After the Giants moved to San Francisco, Keiter did nightly recreations of their games for three seasons (1958-60).  Keiter was also a fight broadcaster, calling all three Floyd Patterson-Ingemar Johansson heavyweight championship bouts, several other heavyweight title fights, and the famous Joey Giardello-Hurricane Carter bout in Philadelphia, Penna. (Dec. 14, 1964).  For eight seasons (1962-70), he called Big 5 basketball in Philadelphia, then returned to the West Coast and retired eventually to Hawaii.  In 1968, Keiter worked the Mexico City Olympics for the old Mutual Broadcasting System network.

Leon Janney

Leon Janney (Broadcasting.  Born, Ogden, UT, Apr. 1, 1917; died, Guadalajara, Mex., Oct. 28, 1980.)  A child star in the movies (1929-32), Leon Janney appeared in several Hal Roach “Our Gang” comedies and a dozen feature films (notably, Penrod and Sam, 1931).  Janney came to the attention of New York sports fans decades later when he hosted a post-game show known as “The Rheingold Rest” after games on Channel 9 during the Mets’ first two seasons (1962-63).  In between, he appeared frequently on the stage, television, and, especially, radio, where he became famed for perfecting a wide range of dialects and accents.  Janney starred on radio as Richard Parker in a show of the same name (1939-44), later translating the role to television.  Among his other credits were the television soap opera, The Edge of Night and the off-Broadway production, The Threepenny Opera.

Stan Lomax

Stan Lomax (Broadcaster. Born, Pittsburgh, PA, May 20, 1899; died, Ossining, NY, June 26, 1987.) While Mel Allen, Red Barber and Russ Hodges were the sports voices of New York summers for decades, Henry Stanley Lomax was the voice for all seasons. Lomax presented “the day’s doings in the world of sports,” a 15-minute nightly broadcast on WOR (AM 710) that more than met its advertised goal. Airing in most years at 6:45, the show summed up the pro sports of the day but also covered college events of all sorts. Lomax would provide college baseball scores with winning and losing pitchers, as well as home run hitters, long after New York’s newspapers gave up staffing those types of events. He had come to New York following his graduation from Cornell (1923) and worked as a sportswriter, principally on Hearst’s Evening Journal. It was there that Lomax encountered Ford Frick, later baseball commissioner. Both were intrigued by the new radio medium and both left newspaper work, a daring move at the time, to pursue careers in radio. Frick became diverted by baseball, but Lomax went on the air in 1931 and stayed at WOR for nearly 46 years (until 1977). Even after the end of his run at WOR, he continued on WNYC as a commentator who also did some events live. Over the years, Lomax was also a play-by-play voice for baseball and college football (including Army), but it was as a purveyor of sports news that he was a pioneer. Long before television, all-news radio and sports talk, Lomax was the go-to source for news of sports and the people involved.

Jack Murphy

Jack Murphy (Broadcasting. Born, Trenton, NJ, Mar. 31, 1914; died, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Dec. 24, 1984.) Prior to 1948, there was no local television of baseball in New York as the three teams then active in the City generally agreed not to venture into the new medium. But after the successful telecast of the 1947 World Series by NBC, all three decided to plunge into the televising of games. With three teams offering a full schedule of 77 home games each to television, local stations, then hungry for any type of programming, snapped up the games. WPIX, then the station of the Daily News, purchased rights to both the New York Giants home games in the Polo Grounds and the Yankees games at Yankee Stadium. Jack Murphy came to the forefront as a creative genius with respect to inventive ways to capture these games for the home viewing audience. Taking advantage of the peculiar shape of the Polo Grounds, for instance, he placed cameras behind first base at field level which enabled viewers to look virtually over the first baseman’s shoulder. After the Giants moved to San Francisco for the 1958 season, Murphy concentrated on the Yankees, who by then then were also offering a schedule of their road games on WPIX. While many people now claim credit for what has become the standard baseball camera angle, Murphy first placed a camera in centerfield at Yankee Stadium in 1959 over the objections of general manager George Weiss, who feared opposing teams would watch and steal the catcher’s signs.

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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