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

Category Archives: E

Ahmet Ertegun

Ahmet Ertegun (Executive.  Born, Istanbul, Turkey, July 31, 1923; died, New York, NY, Dec. 14, 2006.)  Son of a major force in Turkish political history and a founder of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun was also one of the most important figures in American soccer in the 20th century.  In 1971, Ertegun and his older brother Neshui (d. 1989) founded a North American Soccer League team known then as the New York Cosmos.  Starting in 1971 at Yankee Stadium, the team moved its home games to Hofstra (1972-73), Randalls Island (1974-75) and, in 1976, back to Yankee Stadium before going to Giants Stadium the following year.  The team won N.A.S.L. championships (Soccer Bowls) in 1972, 1977, 1978, 1980, and 1982.  Over that period many of the greatest names in the sport played for the Cosmos, including Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer, and the greatest of them all – Pele.  Crowds exceeding 70,000 were routine during the glory years at Giants Stadium.  Ertegun was initially vice president of the team, succeeding his brother in 1977 as president.  In 1983, the Cosmos were sold and the N.A.S.L. began to collapse.  Ertegun came to the U.S. at age 13 and in 1947, with Herb Abramson, founded Atlantic Records in a West Side hotel in Manhattan.  Recording stars ranging from John Coltrane and Ray Charles to Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stone, Atlantic became a music industry giant.  It was sold into the Warner Brothers conglomerate in 1967.  Ertegun’s father, Mehmet Munir, was an aide to Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, and later ambassador to several countries, including the U.S.

Carl Erskine

Carl Erskine  (Baseball.  Born, Anderson, IN, Dec. 13, 1926.)  In his 10 years in Brooklyn, Carl Daniel Erskine became one of the true fan favorites at Ebbets Field.  Erskine rewarded the Flatbush faithful (to whom he was known as “Oisk”) with a 20-6 season in 1953 and a pair of no-hitters.  He no-hit the Chicago Cubs, 5-0, on June 19, 1952, and the Giants, 3-0, on May 12, 1956.  Erskine was a key factor in the Dodgers’ pennants in 1952 and 1953, especially, and contributed to their winning in 1949 (when he was 8-1), 1955, and 1956.  He was 118-71 in his Brooklyn years and 4-7 in his final two seasons in Los Angeles for a career record of 122-78 (.610).  His earned run average of 4.00 was respectable for someone who pitched half his games in cozy Ebbets Field.  Erskine set a World Series record (since broken) when he struck out 14 Yankees in winning Game 3 of the 1953 World Series, 3-2.  Though he had several personal problems after his retirement from baseball (1959), Erskine remains one of the outstanding Dodgers from the post-World War II era.

Charlotte Epstein

Charlotte Epstein (Swimming.  Born, New York, NY, Sept. 17, 1884; died, New York, NY, Aug. 26, 1938.)  Of the true pioneers of athletics for women, Charlotte Epstein ranks near the top.  Epstein was one of the organizers of the National Women’s Life Saving League and in Oct. 1917, led the formation of the Women’s Swimming Association of New York, the leading incubator of U.S. Olympic swimmers from 1920 until World War II.  She was, in fact, largely responsible for American women having the opportunity to compete in the Olympics.  Epstein relentlessly pressed U.S. officials to enter women in the swimming competitions (which began in 1912).  She served as the team manager (and chaperone) in 1920, 1924, and 1932.  Among the U.S. champions produced by the W.S.A.N.Y. were Claire Galligan, Ethelda Bliebtrey, Gertrude Ederle, Eleanor Holm, and Martha Norelius, to name a few.  Epstein was a legal secretary for many years and in 1927 became a court reporter.  But her principal life’s focus was women’s swimming, although never an outstanding swimmer herself.  Even though she chaired the A.A.U.’s women’s swimming committee, to protest the Nazi regime, Epstein refused to attend the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, but the year before organized the U.S. team’s swimmers for the Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv (then a part of Palestine).

Mike Emrick

Mike Emrick (Sportscaster.  Born Marion, IN, Aug. 1, 1946.)  Considered by many observers the premier hockey announcer in the U.S., Michael (Doc) Emrick has been associated with the Rangers and, most prominently, the Devils.  Emrick made his N.H.L. television debut in 1979 in Philadelphia but came to the Devils in 1983 on MSG Network.  He started Rangers play-by-play the same year.  Emrick handled the Devils television through 1986 on MSG and the Rangers radio through 1988.  He returned to the Devils for Cablevision in 1993.  Emrick called N.F.L. football for CBS Sports for two years (1992-93) and for FOX starting in 1997.  He also has had network calls for the N.H.L. All-Star Game (1990), the Stanley Cup and Olympic hockey.  During his career, Emrick has done hockey on virtually every national network, including ABC and ESPN.  He earned his nickname after gaining a Ph.D. from Bowling Green (O.) University.

Roy Emerson

Roy Emerson (Tennis.  Born, Kingsway, Queensland, Aust., Nov. 3, 1936.)  Of all the international champions produced by Australian coach Harry Hopman, Roy Emerson was statistically the most successful, winning 12 major titles in seven years (1961-67).  Emerson won six Australian championships during that span, missing only in 1962.  He also won the men’s singles twice each at Wimbledon (1961, 1964), the French (1963, 1967), and at Forest Hills (1961, 1964).  In his first U.S. triumph, Emerson topped fellow Australian Rod Laver, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2, and he defeated another, Fred Stolle, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4, in 1964.  His total of 12 major singles championships was a record eventually eclipsed by American Pete Sampras.

Win Elliot

Win Elliot (Sportscaster.  Born, Chelsea, MA, May 7, 1915; died, Norwalk, CT, Sept. 17, 1998.)  From the time he attended the first N.H.L. game played in the U.S. (at Boston, 1924), Irwin Elliot Shalek was hooked on hockey.  Elliot played goal for Michigan, called the first televised N.H.L. game, and was the Rangers radio voice for four seasons.  A CBS Network announcer for decades, he did horse racing, boxing, and baseball, but hockey was his love and he may been the best at it ever in America.

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.

Jumbo Elliott

Jumbo Elliott (Pro football.  Born, Lake Ronkonkoma, NY, Apr. 1, 1965.)  Having played eight years with the Giants as an often-dominating offensive tackle, John Elliott then played six more seasons for the Jets (1996-2000, 2002).  Elliott, at 6’7”, 305 pounds, joined the Giants in 1988, played both right tackle (in relief of Karl Nelson) and left tackle, winning all-rookie status.  He missed six games in the middle of the 1990 season with a leg injury but was a force at left tackle during the post-season as the Giants won Super Bowl XXV.  Despite starting all 16 games for the Giants in 1995, Elliott became an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Jets.  The individual highlight of his career came on Oct. 23, 2000, when he caught a touchdown pass as an eligible receiver to climax a 30-point fourth-quarter rally against Miami, tying the game (which the Jets won in overtime) with 42 seconds left at 37-37.  It was his only N.F.L. career reception.  Elliott was an assistant coach for part of 2001 but came out of retirement to play 16 games in 2002.

Jumbo Elliott

Jumbo Elliott (Track and field.  Born, Philadelphia, PA, July 18, 1914; died, Juno Beach, FL, Mar. 22, 1981.)  James Francis Elliott earned his nickname because he was a fan of a Phillies pitcher also named Jim (Jumbo) Elliott, but he earned his reputation in track and field because he was one of the most masterful and popular coaches ever produced in America.  From 1935 until his death, Elliott was the track coach at Villanova.  His athletes established a staggering number of world and American records.  Villanova was the dominant team in the indoor championships of the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America during the years when that meet was held annually at Madison Square Garden.  Overall, 18 of Elliott’s athletes, including Eamonn Coghlan, Marty Liquori, and Frank Budd, set world outdoor records, and 44 set world indoor marks.  At the Garden, Villanova won its first I.C.4A. title in 1957.  Over the next 13 years, the Wildcats won ten more championships, including two streaks of four in a row.  Villanova also hung up a streak of individual gold medalists starting in 1955 that included such stars as Charlie Jenkins, Don Bragg, Ron Delany, Ed Collymore, Noel Carroll, Rolando Cruz, Erv Hall and Dave Patrick.  Coghlan, Liquori and Budd were particular New York favorites, appearing regularly in various events at the Garden.  Elliott’s extraordinary success was even more fascinating when it is understood he was a part-time coach who never received more than $10,000 a year for the job.

Patrik Elias

Patrik Elias (Hockey.  Born, Trebic, Czechoslovakia, Apr. 13, 1976.)  The most prolific scorer in Devils history, Patrik Elias passed John MacLean as the franchise’s leading goal scorer when he notched his 348th Dec. 17, 2011, against Montreal.  Elias already held the franchise records for points and assists, and still holds the single-season record for points (96 in 2000-01).  He also is the franchise’s standard-bearer in playoff scoring:  goals (40), assists (77), and total points (117).  In John MacLean, in second place, has 75 points, and Zach Parise, second among active players, has 28.  At 16, Elias had joined the Poldi Kladno club in his native Czech Republic and, even though he scored just one goal in his second season, he was drafted by the Devils (second choice, 51st overall, in the 1994 entry draft).  Elias was signed in 1995 and spent nearly two full seasons at Albany (A.H.L.), where he blossomed into a scorer (51 goals in 131 games).  He made short appearances in two seasons before becoming a Devils regular wing in 1997-98.  Elias was an All-Rookie selection that season with 18 goals and 37 points in 74 games.  He scored his first N.H.L. goal Dec. 12, 1996, at Boston but then went back to Albany.  It was 1999-2000 when Elias emerged as a serious scoring force (35 goals) and he became a First Team All-Star the next season (40 goals, 96 points), when he led the N.H.L. in plus-minus with a plus-45.  He played for the Czech team in the 2002 Olympic Games, by which time he had already been a vital part of the 2000 Stanley Cup champions and the team that went to the 2001 final before losing in seven games, when he had a team-record 23 points in one playoff year.  In the 2003 Cup final, he led the Devils with seven points as New Jersey beat Anaheim in seven games for their third Cup in nine seasons.

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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