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

Category Archives: H

Joe Humphreys

Joe Humphreys (Public address.  Born, New York, NY, Oct. 19, 1872; died, Fair Haven, NJ, July 10, 1936.)  His career as the most famous ring announcer of his time began for Joe Humphreys quite by accident in 1893.  Humphreys became the announcer at Gus Maich’s Little Casino on the New Bowery when the usual announcer didn’t appear.  He was so impressive that he earned the job permanently.  Soon he was considered the equal of Tim Hurst and Charlie Harvey, then the major boxing announcers.  Humphreys became the official announcer at Madison Square Garden, where he had worked occasionally, when Tex Rickard took over the arena in 1920.  On the final night of boxing at the second Garden, May 5, 1925, Humphreys delivered a stirring (some thought maudlin) ode to the “temple of fistiana” before the final main event.  He resisted using microphones even when a sound system was installed with the opening of the third Garden that year.  Ill health eventually forced him to accept amplified sound.  In 1935, Humphreys was so ill that he could not climb into the ring for the Braddock-Baer heavyweight title fight and, instead, did the introductions from ringside.  He announced his last major fight Sept. 24, 1935 (Louis-Baer at Yankee Stadium) and worked some at the Garden in 1935-36.  For those last few events, Humphreys introduced only the principals in the main event on the card.

William Hulbert

William Hulbert (Baseball.  Born, Burlington Flats, NY, Oct. 23, 1832; died, Chicago, IL, Apr. 10, 1882.)  Along with Al Spalding, William Ambrose Hulbert was a driving force behind the organization of the National League in 1876.  Hulbert served as president of the Chicago club (1876-81), now the Cubs, and was the second president of the N.L. (1877-82).

Miller Huggins

Miller Huggins (Baseball.  Born, Cincinnati, OH, Mar. 27, 1879; died, New York, NY, Sept. 25, 1929.)  As the on-field architect of the original Yankees dynasty, Miller James Huggins helped mold the image of the franchise that became baseball’s most dominant for close to a century.  In 1918, he was hired to handle a team that had a relatively undistinguished 15-year life in the American League, having finished as high as second only twice since 1903.  Before his death in the closing days of the 1929 season, the Yankees were known around the world as the greatest team in the game. He managed teams that won pennants in 1921, 1922, 1923, 1926, 1927 and 1928.  His clubs finished lower than fourth only once (seventh in 1925) and were second in both 1924 and 1929 and third in 1919 and 1920.  Huggins amassed a .597 winning percentage with 1,067 wins and 719 losses in his career before his death with 13 games remaining in the 1929 campaign. Huggins began his major league career as an infielder with the Cincinnati Reds in 1904 and played 13 seasons with a career average of .265 and a reputation as a tenacious competitor with an above-average glove.  A smallish (5-foot-6 1/2, 140 pounds) man, Huggins was something of a surprise choice to manage the St. Louis Cardinals in 1913. He had been traded to the Cardinals in 1910 and continued playing until 1916, serving as a playing manager for parts of four seasons. He was purely a bench manager in 1917, his last year in St. Louis.

Sam Huff

Sam Huff (Pro football.  Born Edna Gas, WV, Oct. 4, 1934.)  As a two-way guard at West Virginia, Robert Lee (Sam) Huff established himself as an outstanding football player, but it was as a linebacker for the New York Football Giants that he became one of the greats in the game’s history.  For eight seasons, from 1956-1963, Huff was a crucial part of the Giants’ legendary defense.  His personal confrontations with the great running backs of his era, notably Cleveland’s Jimmy Brown and and Green Bay’s Jim Taylor, are a storied part of N.F.L. history.  Huff was selected for the Pro Bowl four straight seasons from 1958-61, was named Outstanding Lineman in the N.F.L. in 1959 and was the Pro Bowl Defensive M.V.P in 1961.  During his Giants career, he intercepted 18 passes, including four in 1963.  Featured in the television special, “The Violent World of Sam Huff” and author of the book “Defensive Football,” Huff was one of the stars who helped launch the N.F.L. to its current level of popularity.  During eight years with the Giants, Huff played with six N.F.L. division champions, including the 1956 N.F.L. championship team.

Carl Hubbell

Carl Hubbell (Baseball.  Born, Carthage, MO, June 22, 1903; died, Scottsdale, AA, Nov. 21, 1988.)  Carl Owen Hubbell, a lefthanded pitcher who helped make the screwball famous, became the most renowned pitcher for the New York Giants since the heyday of Christy Mathewson.  Known as “King Carl,” Hubbell helped pitch the Giants to three pennants while compiling a 253-154 record and a 2.97 earned run average for his career.  He was voted the National League’s M.V.P. twice (in 1933 and 1936).  In 1929, Hubbell pitched a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates and in 1933 hurled an 18-inning 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in the midst of a 46 1/3-inning scoreless streak.  The most famous moment in his career came in 1934 during the second annual All-Star game.  Hubbell, pitching at the Polo Grounds, struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin, five of the game’s most famous sluggers, in succession.  That feat is celebrated in virtually every anthology of the game’s greatest moments and helped earn Hubbell a place in baseball immortality.  The attention generated by Hubbell’s pitching helped establish the All-Star Game.

Cal Hubbard

Cal Hubbard (Pro football, baseball.  Born, Keytesville, MO, Oct. 30, 1900; died, St. Petersburg, FL, Oct. 16, 1977.)  Parallel careers as a football player and a baseball umpire made Robert Calvin Hubbard part of the New York sports scene for portions of five decades.  Hubbard came out of Geneva (Penna.) College, joined the Football Giants as a guard-end and, as a rookie, helped them to their first N.F.L. championship (1927).  A year later, he began a pro umpiring career in the old Piedmont League.  At the end of the 1928 season, the Giants traded him to Green Bay, where he played on three more N.F.L. champions.  Hubbard finished his N.F.L. career in 1936 playing the last six games as a tackle for the Giants.  That was the same season he joined the A.L. as an umpire after four years in the International League.  Once tested in Boston as having 20/10 vision, Hubbard continued as an A.L. umpire until 1951, when a hunting accident impaired his vision.  He then became the assistant supervisor, under Tom Connolly, succeeding Connolly in January 1954.  Hubbard remained the A.L. umpire supervisor until 1969.  He also had a coaching career, working as line coach at Texas A&M (1934, when he skipped the N.F.L. season) and head coach at Geneva (1941-42).

Waite Hoyt

Waite Hoyt (Baseball.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Sept. 9, 1899; died, Cincinnati, OH, Aug. 25, 1984.)  Although playing for all three New York teams was not unique in the 1920s and 1930s, Waite Charles Hoyt probably carried the tour to extremes.  In addition to spending 10 years with the Yankees (1921-30), Hoyt twice pitched for the Giants (1918, 1932) and the Dodgers (1932, 1937-38).  After making his big league debut at age 17 with the Giants (a one-inning stint July 24, 1918), the righthander wound up in Boston.  Hoyt was traded to the Yankees Dec. 15, 1920, as part of an eight-player deal that also brought veteran catcher Wally Schang to New York.  Only 10-12 in two seasons with the Red Sox, he immediately bloomed as a top pitcher with the Yankees (19-13 in 1921 and 19-12 in 1922).  Known as “Schoolboy” because of his youth when he came to the majors, Hoyt was 157-98 in 10 years for the Yankees and helped them win six pennants.  He was 22-7 in 1927 and 23-7 in 1928 with World Series-winning teams.  He was also 6-3 in 11 World Series games.  Later, Hoyt, in addition to the Giants and Dodgers, pitched for the 1931 pennant-winning Philadelphia A’s (10-5) and, after his playing career ended, became a broadcaster for the Cincinnati Reds, calling the games in past tense.

Beatrix Hoyt

Beatrix Hoyt (Golf.  Born, Westchester City, NY, July 5, 1880; died, Thomasville, GA, Aug. 14, 1963.)  As a 16-year-old playing out of Shinnecock Hills, Beatrix Hoyt became the second U.S. women’s champion in October 1896, edging Mrs. Arthur Turnure, 2 and 1, in the final at the Morris County G.C. in Morristown, N.J.  Hoyt won each of the next two years (1897 at the Essex C.C. in Manchester, Mass., and 1898 at the Ardsley Club in Westchester).  She was the medalist with the lowest qualifying round five straight years (1896-1900) but lost in the first round in 1899 and in the semifinals in 1900.  Her semifinal loss to Margaret Curtis on the 20th hole that year was the end of her tournament golfing career.  At 20, Hoyt had become the first star of U.S. women’s golf and it would be until 1920 before anyone else would win three straight national women’s amateur titles and even then not in successive years thanks to World War I interruptions.

Frank Howley

Frank Howley (College football.  Born, Hampton, NJ, Feb. 3, 1903; died, Warrentown, VA, July 30, 1993.)  As a standout left end on mediocre N.Y.U. teams (1922-24), Frank Leo Howley earned the nickname “Golden Toe” for his placekicking exploits.  Howley became a brigadier general in the U.S. Army during World War II, military governor of Berlin, and vice chancellor of N.Y.U. for nearly two decades (1950-69).  He earned his nickname by kicking four field goals from placement in his senior season (1924) on a 3-3-1 team.  Howley’s 20-yard kick was the lone Violets score in a 41-3 loss to Rutgers.  N.Y.U. was shut out by both Fordham and Columbia.  Howley was also a baseball and track athlete.  He joined the Army in 1940 as a captain in the 69th Regiment, made the Normandy landing in 1944, and was military governor of Berlin for four years (1945-49), founding the Free University there before returning to N.Y.U.

Jim Lee Howell

Jim Lee Howell (Pro football.  Born, Lonoke, AR, Sept. 27, 1914; died, Lonoke, AR, Jan. 4, 1995.)  An end who played nine seasons for the Football Giants in two terms divided by World War II (1937-42, 1946-48), Jim Lee Howell then coached the team  successfully for seven seasons (1954-60).  Howell played end at Arkansas and coached there for a season (1936) before signing with the Giants.  He served in the U.S. Marines during the war before finishing his playing career.  Howell turned to coaching in 1949 with Wagner College (where he was 8-1), also serving as an assistant, handling ends, for the Giants under Steve Owen, whom he was to succeed in 1954.  Howell was 53-27-4 with the Giants, never had a losing season, and coached the team to three Eastern Division titles  (1956, 1958-59).  His 1956 team won the N.F.L. championship, routing the Chicago Bears, 47-7, at Yankee Stadium, to which the Giants had moved after 31 seasons (1925-55) at the Polo Grounds.

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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