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

Category Archives: G

Tom Greenwade

Tom Greenwade (Baseball.  Born, Willard, MO, Aug. 21, 1904; died, Ash Grove, MO, Aug. 10, 1986.)  After a minor league career was ended by an arm injury, Thomas Greenwade became a manager in the minors and then, in 1941, a scout.  Greenwade started with the old St. Louis Browns but was hired by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1944 and two years later went to the Yankees.  Brooklyn eventually signed both Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella based on his reports.  Among the players Greenwade signed for the Yankees were Mickey Mantle, Ralph Terry, Elston Howard, Hank Bauer, Tom Sturdivant, Bill Virdon, Vic Power, and Bobby Murcer.  He was considered the finest scout of his era by the time of his retirement in 1982.

Ralph Greenleaf

Ralph Greenleaf (Billiards.  Born, Monmouth, IL, Nov. 3, 1899; died, Philadelphia, PA, Mar. 15, 1950.)  Considered by most historians to be one of the greatest pocket billiards players in the history of the sport, Edward Ralph Greenleaf became the world professional champion for the first time when he was only 20 years old.  Greenleaf ruled the world of pocket billiards from 1919-24, again in 1926, from 1927-28, 1930-32 and for a final time in 1937.  He was the world champion 19 times in all before losing his final challenge match to Willie Mosconi in 1945.  During his dominance of the sport, Greenleaf set numerous world records, including the high single-game average (63) and high grand average (11.02) in tournament play on a 5-foot by 10-foot table.  He set both of these marks in 1929.  He also set a record for high run (126) in 14.1 pocket billiards.  Greenleaf was one of the great players who helped bring pocket billiards to popular prominence in the 1920s and 1930s when the world tournaments earned intense press coverage.  Even after his final championship loss to Mosconi, Greenleaf continued to be one of the major competitors on the tournament circuit and frequently played well-attended exhibitions against other renowned players.  He was preparing to depart for New York for just such an event when he was sticken in a Philadelphia hotel.  Greenleaf was debonair-looking and a colorful performer who was also often combative.  In 1946, he sued for $300,000 when he was barred from the championship tournament.

Jay Greenberg

Jay Greenberg (Sportswriter.  Born, Johnstown, PA, June 16, 1950.)  A general sports columnist for the Post from 1994-2011, Jay N. Greenberg covered virtually all sports but wrote most often about baseball and hockey, two sports about which he exhibits special feeling.  Greenberg joined the Post after a career of nearly two decades following his graduation (in journalism) from the U. of Missouri.  He joined the Kansas City (Mo.) Star in 1972 and three years later moved to Philadelphia, where he was to spend nearly 15 years with the now-defunct Evening and Sunday Bulletin (1975-78) and, after the Bulletin’s closure, the Daily News (1978-89).  Greenberg spent two years as a staff writer for Sports Illustrated (1989-91) before becoming a general sports columnist for the Toronto Sun for two more (1992-94).

Shorty Green

Shorty Green (Hockey.  Born, Sudbury, Ont., July 17, 1896; died, Sudbury, Ont., Apr. 19, 1960.)  When the Americans were created in 1925 out of the wreckage that had been the Hamilton Tigers to become New York’s first N.H.L. team, Wilfred (Shorty) Green was one of the better players brought to the Garden.  Green had scored 18 goals in 28 games for Hamilton in 1924-25 but was something of a disappointment to New York fans, getting only six in a 32-game schedule in 1925-26.  After scoring two goals in 21 games the following season, he turned to coaching.  His brother and linemate, Redvers (Red) Green, was also part of the Sept. 25, 1925, package that created the Americans.  Red was the younger (by 3½ years) and, oddly, the shorter (5’8” to 5’10”), and, probably, the better of the two.  Red had 30 goals in two seasons (53 games) for Hamilton and got 29 in 118 games over three seasons (1925-28) for the Amerks.  In December 1928, Red was traded to Boston.  Shorty was a right wing and Red a left wing.

Dallas Green

Dallas Green (Baseball.  Born, Newport, DE, Aug. 4, 1934.)  On May 19, 1993, George Dallas Green, Jr., became the 15th manager of the Mets and the third man to manage both the Mets and Yankees.  Having appeared in four games for them in 1966, the former righthanded pitcher also became the seventh manager to have played for the team.  Green managed the Mets into a tie for second in 1995 but was fired Aug. 26, 1996, when Bobby Valentine succeeded him with the team fourth, 23 games out.  Earlier, he managed Philadelphia to the 1980 world championship and guided the Yankees for 121 games (56-65) in 1989.  Green was also general manager of the Chicago Cubs for five years (1982-87).  He pitched in the major leagues for parts of eight seasons (1960-67), principally with Philadelphia, compiling a 20-22 record.  Green was 229-283 overall (.447) as Mets manager.  His granddaughter was killed in the 2010 shooting spree in Tucson, Ariz., that severely wounded Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Rocky Graziano

Rocky Graziano (Boxing.  Born, New York, NY, Jan. 1, 1922; died, New York, NY, May 22, 1990.)  Rocky Graziano, born Rocco Barbella, rose from the streets and fight clubs of New York to the middleweight championship of the world.  And he did so with the heartfelt good wishes of almost everybody in his hometown.  During his 83-bout pro career, Graziano fought 45 times in New York, counting 18 fights in Brooklyn and three more in Long Island City.  He fought another nine times in New Jersey – three times in Jersey City, twice in Newark and four times in Elizabeth during the years when those towns were active boxing locales.  Throughout his career, he was one of the most popular and crowd-pleasing middleweights in the world.  By 1946, Graziano had emerged as a legitimate contender for the middleweight championship and he won it by taking the second of his three fights with the then reigning champion, Tony Zale, on June 16, 1947.  He lost a rematch with Zale a little less than a year later, June 10, 1948.  Graziano remained a leading contender over the next several years and earned a title bout with Sugar Ray Robinson on Apr. 16, 1952, but Robinson knocked him out in the third round.  Graziano’s career produced 67 wins in 83 fights.  In his later years, he remained very much a New York figure and frequently appeared in radio and television commercials.  He never lost the popularity his game effort in the ring and his warm personality had won for him.

Sid Gray

Sid Gray (Sportswriter.  Born, New York, NY, Mar. 18, 1910; died, Brooklyn, NY, Mar. 21, 1995.)  A promising lefthanded pitcher as a young man, Sid Gray became a baseball writer and, briefly, a publicist in big league baseball.  At 37, Gray joined the Herald Tribune in 1947 and was a baseball writer primarily until the paper folded in April 1966.  He then moved to the Post (an afternoon paper at the time) and served as public relations director of the second Washington Senators franchise in 1968 before returning to the Post for two years (1969-70).  Gray also played basketball as a youth and later covered the sport as well, principally writing college games.  He helped pitch James Madison H.S. to a P.S.A.L. championship, defeating Monroe in the final.

Adam Graves

Adam Graves (Hockey.  Born, Toronto, Ont., Apr. 12, 1968.)  Acquired as a free agent from Edmonton Sept. 3, 1991, by the Rangers, Adam Graves became, for a time, the biggest single-season goal scorer in Rangers history.  A solid, tough player who skated on the power play and penalty kill, Graves had only 23 goals in parts of three seasons with Detroit and two with Edmonton.  But in 1993-94, Graves scored 52 goals for the Rangers following seasons of 26 and 36.  Graves surpassed the 50 scored by Vic Hadfield, also a left wing, in 1971-72.  (Jaromir Jagr topped that record with 54 in 2005-06.)  By 2000-01, he produced just 10 goals in 82 games and on June 24, 2001, Graves was traded to San Jose after collecting 280 goals in 10 Rangers seasons.  He also had 28 playoff goals, including 10 in the 1994 Stanley Cup championship year.

Larry Grantham

Larry Grantham (Pro football.  Born, Crystal Springs, MS, Sept. 16, 1938.)  A quick and hard-hitting linebacker, James Larry Grantham was a defensive force for the Titans and Jets for 13 seasons (1960-72).  A star at Ole Miss, Grantham played in three bowl games for Mississippi and was sold on signing with the Titans by coach Sammy Baugh after the 1960 A.F.L. draft (he was also drafted by Baltimore of the N.F.L.).  He made up for his size (6’0”, 205 pounds) with rapid reaction and good reads.  Grantham intercepted at least one pass every year of his career, had 24 overall, and a 41-yard touchdown return in 1970.  He also scored on a 20-yard return of a blocked punt in 1963.  Grantham made all-A.F.L. First Team as linebacker each of his first five seasons in the league (tied for a First Team spot in 1960).

M. Donald Grant

M. Donald Grant (Baseball.  Born, Montreal, P.Q., May 1, 1904; died, Hobe Sound, FL, Nov. 28, 1998.)  An investment advisor to the Whitneys and the Paysons, among others, Michael Donald Grant also represented John W. Payson’s baseball interests for decades.  Grant served on the board of the National Exhibition Co., owners of the Giants when the team was based in the Polo Grounds, and Mrs. Payson owned a minority interest in the club.  He was the lone dissenter in the 8-1 vote of that board on Aug. 19, 1957, when the Giants’ move to San Francisco was approved.  Mrs. Payson sold her interest and began seeking a replacement for her beloved Giants.  In 1961, she purchased the N.L. expansion club that shortly became the Mets, and Grant was named the club’s chairman of the board.  He served in that capacity until 1978, when he was replaced by Lorinda deRoulet, Mrs. Payson’s daughter who had succeeded as club president after her mother died in 1975.  Grant remained as a director on the Mets board until the team was sold Jan. 24, 1980, to a syndicate headed by Nelson Doubleday.  Grant treated the writers covering the Mets with disdain.  As long as the Mets were lovable losers (as they were from 1962-68), this didn’t matter.  But after N.L. pennants in 1969 and 1973, he was pilloried for the team’s subsequent failures.  Grant became embroiled in a bitter public spat with Tom Seaver, the club’s superstar pitcher, over contract issues in 1976.  The dispute culminated in the June 15, 1977, trade that sent Seaver to Cincinnati.  Grant became the focus of intense media vitriol.  Mrs. deRoulet’s action removed the lightning rod from the electrical storm.  Grant was the son of a noted Canadian athlete, Mike Grant, and was a respected partner in the fiscally-conservative Wall Street investment house of Fahnestock & Co.  His daughter Patsy, at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company in 1977, help organize what is now known as the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge, the largest corporate running series in the world.

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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