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

Category Archives: P

Ann Probert

(Golf.  Born, West Orange, NJ, Dec. 31, 1938.)   Ann Linen Probert grew up around the game of golf, as she lived just a short distance from the 18th hole of the Rock Springs Country Club in West Orange. While working towards her bachelor’s degree at Smith College, in Northampton, MA, she won the 1956 New Jersey Girls’, and the Metropolitan Girls, golf championships.  Probert won dozens of titles during her career, including the Women’s New Jersey Golf Association’s 36-hole stroke play championship five straight years (1978-82) and the Garden State Women’s golf championship 14 times.  During her career, Probert carded 14 hole-in-ones and served on several committees regarding the involvement of women in golf.  She was also an advocate for women who suffered from domestic violence and abuse.  Probert was awarded the U.S. Golf Association’s Ike Granger Award, recognizing her service and dedication to the USGA, for which she once served as president.  She was married to fellow amateur golfer Edward Probert. – By Erin Knox

John Halligan

John Halligan (Pulbic relations.  Born, Englewood, NJ, Feb. 25, 1941; died, Franklin Lakes, NJ, Jan. 20, 2010.)  Long associated with the Rangers, John Thomas Halligan became the resident historian of hockey in New York as an executive with the N.H.L.  Halligan came to the Rangers out of Fordham in 1963 as assistant to club publicist Herb Goren.  He succeeded Goren as public relations director in 1964 and 10 years later added the responsibility of business manager.  Halligan was the N.H.L. director of communications for three years (1983-86) and returned to the Rangers for four years (1986-90).  He served as vice president, communications, and director of community relations before returning to the N.H.L. in 1990, where he served as director of communications and special projects.  Halligan was instrumental in the creation of the N.H.L.’s Lester Patrick Award (1966) – which he won in 2007 – founded the Rangers Alumni Association (1981), and conceived and developed the N.H.L. Milestone Program (1982).  He also helped to develop the N.H.L. Presidents’ Trophy in 1985.  Halligan is the treasurer of the “Ice Hockey in Harlem” program and serves on numerous committees, including the selection committee of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.  Halligan has also written several books, including the official 75th anniversary book of the Rangers (2000).  He retired from the N.H.L. in 2006.


Mike Pyle

Mike Pyle (College football.  Born, Keokuk, IA, July 18, 1939.)  As a 240-pound tackle, Michael Johnson Pyle was an All-American in his senior season (1960) and the star of Yale’s unbeaten (9-0) championship team, one of the last Ivy League teams to be taken seriously by national football observers (the Bulldogs were ranked No. 14 by the A.P. and No. 18 by U.P.I. in the final rankings).  He went on to a successful nine-year N.F.L. career as a center for Chicago.

Cash ‘n’ Carry Pyle

Cash ‘n’ Carry Pyle (Promoter.  Born, Van Wert, OH, Mar. 15, 1882; died, Los Angeles, CA, Feb. 3, 1939.)  Easily the best-known sports promoter of the 1920s, Charles C. Pyle earned his nickname by his demands for upfront money (and a share of the team) while representing Red Grange in contract negotiations with the Chicago Bears.  Grange was football’s biggest star in 1925, the height of the so-called “Golden Age of Sports.”  His spectacular feats at Illinois made the exciting Grange a huge box-office star, a point proven by his late-season tour with the Bears in the closing weeks of the 1925 N.F.L. race.  When the Bears decided not to accede to Pyle’s demands, he determined to start his own pro league with Grange as the drawing card.  Thus, the first American Football League was born in 1926 with Grange as the headliner for the Yankees based in Yankee Stadium.  The A.F.L. folded after one season but Pyle got the Yankees into the N.F.L. in 1927.  After releasing Grange to Chicago following that season, Pyle returned the franchise to the N.F.L. in 1929.  (It was reissued to the Stapleton Athletic Club, bringing Staten Island into the N.F.L.)  By then, Pyle had turned his attention to other promotions, including the fabled “Bunion Derby,” in which contestants walked from New York to California amid great publicity.  In 1926, he promoted the first national indoor pro tennis tour, starring French champion Suzanne Lenglen.  But the end of the flamboyant 1920s was also the end of Pyle’s major role in sports.

Mike Puma

Mike Puma (Sportswriter.  Born, Waterbury, CT, June 10, 1970.)  Fresh out of Fordham, Michael Anthony Puma began covering sports for the Republican-American in Waterbury, Conn., in 1992.  By 1996, Puma was covering one of the paper’s biggest sports beats – Connecticut women’s basketball.  In 1997, he moved to the Connecticut Post in Bridgeport, and a year later became the paper’s principal writer covering New York sports.  Puma has written five World Series for the Post and two Final Fours with Connecticut basketball.  He left one Post for another in 2007, when he became the Mets beat writer for the New York Post.

Harry Pulliam

Harry Pulliam (Executive.  Born, Scottsville, KY, Feb. 8, 1869; died, New York, NY, July 29, 1909.)  Harry Clay Pulliam was elected fifth president of the National League in 1903, a position that was to lead to his premature demise.  During the hot 1908 pennant race between the Giants and the Chicago Cubs, the celebrated “Merkle’s bonehead” game was played at the Polo Grounds Sept. 23.  Fred Merkle was called out by umpire Hank O’Day for failing to touch second base after Al Bridwell’s single had evidently driven home the winning run with two out in the home ninth and runners at first and third.  Pulliam upheld O’Day’s call and ruled the game a tie.  The Giants and Cubs finished deadlocked in the race, forcing the tie to be played off as, in effect, a one-game playoff for the N.L. pennant.  Chicago won, 4-2, to take the flag.  Since both the Giants and the N.L. had offices in the same building (1133 Broadway), Giants manager John  McGraw organized a relentless harassment of Pulliam.  The high-strung executive finally broke under the strain and shot himself in the head July 28, 1909, in his room at the New York Athletic Club and died at 8:10 the next morning.

Julia Jones Pugliese

Julia Jones Pugliese (Fencing.  Born, New York, NY, May 9, 1908; died, New York, NY, Mar. 6, 1993.)  It may be that Julia Jones-Pugliese was destined to be a fencer. If not, destiny took a real beating.  After taking up the sport in 1927, she became one of the leading American women fencers and coaches.  Jones-Pugliese began fencing while an undergraduate at New York University’s Washington Square College and within two years had risen to the rank of national champion.  She won the championship of the National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Association that year and two years after that, in 1931, she became N.Y.U.’s women’s fencing coach.  She coached the N.Y.U. women for 13 years and continued to compete during most of that period.  In 1931, she was the national junior champion, earning her a promotion to the top rank of women fencers in the U.S.  Following her marriage, she moved to Alabama during World War II, returning after V-J Day in 1945.  From 1956, Pugliese was the head fencing coach at Manhattan’s Hunter College (both men and women) and was also an assistant professor in the Department of Health and Physical Education.  She was involved in training and coaching at several levels, serving on the staff at the U.S. Olympic Training Camp in 1964, 1965 and 1967, preparing American fencers.  In 1970, she achieved another of her many “firsts,” being the first woman to represent USA Fencing as a coach at an international tournament (in Tokyo).

Dom Principe

Dom Principe (Football.  Born, Brockton, Mass., Feb. 9, 1917.)  A rugged back who was a major part of Fordham’s offense, Dominic Alfred Principe was also a member of both the Football Giants (1940-42) and the A.A.F.C. Brooklyn Dodgers (1946).  At Fordham, he played both ways but was primarily a fullback tough to stop in short-yardage situations.  Principe led the 1939 Rams in scoring with seven touchdowns for a 6-2 team that scored only 124 points that season.  Though basically a short-yardage runner, he was capable of the occasional long run, such as the 63-yard scoring run against South Carolina in 1938 and a 37-yard run against Waynesburg the same year.  His younger brother, Joe, was a reserve back on the 1939 team when Dominic was a senior.

Laura Price

Laura Price (Sportswriter.  Born, Syracuse, NY, May 7, 1964.)  Laura Evelyn Price was a sportswriter who started covering the Rangers for Newsday in Sept. 1993.  A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, she began her newspaper career at the Wausau (Wisc.) Daily Herald in 1986 but, six months later, became an editor and writer at the Kingston (N.Y.) Daily Freeman in January 1987.  She moved to Newsday in August 1989.

Mitch Price

Mitch Price (College football.  Born, Midvale, UT, Jan. 10, 1931.)  A three-year regular at quarterback for Columbia (1950-52), Mitchell Price passed for 3,076 yards in 26 games, completing 237 of 452 passes but only 14 for touchdowns.  He also carried 264 times for 317 yards for teams that were 11-14-1 under coach Lou Little.  Price was also the shortstop on the Lions’ baseball team.  As a senior, he threw for 1,203 yards on 190 completions in nine games, but the team was just 2-6-1, although the tie was against Army.

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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