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

Category Archives: R

Joe Rue

Joe Rue (Baseball.  Born, Danville, KY, June 14, 1898; died, Laguna Hills, CA, Dec. 1, 1984.)  An A.L. umpire for 10 seasons (1938-47), Joseph William Rue was involved in a unique event in the modern history of the major leagues.  On Sept. 3, 1945, Rue was behind the plate in the second game of a Labor Day doubleheader between the Yankees and Athletics at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park.  He called out the Yankees’ Ken Holcombe on strikes to end the top of the 10th inning.  Rue and A’s catcher Charles (Greek) George then engaged in a brief but heated discussion as the teams started to change sides.  George rushed back to the plate and punched Rue, opening a gash over his left eye.  Rue started to chase George but other umpires and players separated the pair before further blows were struck.  Rue was patched up, George ejected, and the game resumed.  George was then indefinitely suspended and his career was over.  Rue worked both the 1943 All-Star game (also at Philadelphia) and World Series (Yankees versus Cardinals).

Mendy Rudolph

Mendy Rudolph (Pro basketball.  Born, Philadelphia, PA, Mar. 8, 1938; died, New York, NY, July 4, 1979.)  During most of his record 17 seasons in the league, Marvin Rudolph was the N.B.A.’s best-known referee.  Rudolph joined the league in 1958 and worked 2,113 games during his career, including appearances in 16 straight N.B.A. championship series in which he worked one or more games.  During most of his career, he was considered the league’s top official.  Rudolph matched a league record by officiating eight All-Star Games.  Sid Borgia (q.v.) also worked eight.  Rudolph was the chief of staff for N.B.A. officials during his final seven seasons (1968-75).  He also wrote a book that was the official guide for the league’s referees.  Rudolph’s father, Harry, was president of the minor Eastern Pro League for many years and the son began refereeing there.  He was the youngest N.B.A. referee ever, starting in the league at age 20.

Irving Rudd

Irving Rudd (Public relations.  Born, New York, NY, Oct. 13, 1917; died, Manhasset, NY, June 2, 2000.)  It was perhaps natural that Irving Rudd would be attracted to the boxing business, even if as a publicist rather than as a pugilist.  He grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn that was prime boxing territory during his youth.  New York in the 1930s abounded with small, neighborhood fight clubs, and Rudd began as a youngster working as a publicist for many of those clubs.  He became so well known for his endeavors that, in 1951, he was hired by the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Among other duties, he edited the club’s newsletter, Line Drives.  With the Dodgers’ impending westward move to Los Angeles, Rudd became the public relations director of Yonkers Raceway in 1957.  His most famous stunt was publicizing an error (that he deliberately made) that misspelled the track’s name as “Yonkers Racewya.”  But Rudd couldn’t stay away from boxing indefinitely.  In 1976, he returned to the fight game.  He was the publicist for numerous major events, including Muhammad Ali-Leon Spinks fight and the Montreal bout between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran working for Top Rank Boxing.

Werner Roth

Werner Roth (Soccer.  Born, Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Apr. 4, 1948.)  One of the outstanding defensive players in the history of the North American Soccer League, Werner Roth began playing organized soccer with New York’s German-Hungarians and finished as the captain of the Cosmos 1978 Soccer Bowl champions.  Roth played in the German-American League (later the Cosmopolitan League) as a 16-year-old amateur, but by age 24 was a leading backliner for the Cosmos.  He played on the team’s first three N.A.S.L. championship clubs (1972, 1977 and 1978) as a defensive complement to such high-scoring stars as Randy Horton, Pele (q.v.), and Giorgio Chinaglia (q.v.).  During his nine-season career with the Cosmos, Roth played 10,632 minutes in regular-season N.A.S.L. action and attempted only 41 shots on goal.  He scored only two goals and assisted on five others in his career.  Still, when he retired after playing in only one game (for 18 minutes) in 1979, he was the club’s all-time leader in games played (123) and was considered one of the finest defensive players in American soccer.  Roth’s career was terminated by a series of injuries.  In 1978, he played every minute of the Cosmos’ first 16 games, but was then sidelined by a knee injury and sat out four games.  Perhaps returning before he was fully recovered, he then injured his ankle in the playoffs, but played every game as the captain of the squad that captured Soccer Bowl ‘78.

Mark Roth

Mark Roth (Bowling. Born, Brooklyn, NY, Apr. 10, 1951.)  One of the first of the hard-throwing, hard-cranking bowlers now  so typical of the Professional Bowlers Tour, Brooklyn’s Mark Roth was a dominant leader in the sport for more than two decades, winning 33 P.B.A. tournaments in a career that began in 1970.  During his first five years on the circuit, Roth did not win a single tournament and only slowly began to move up the money-winning ladder, hitting $36,879 in 1974.  But the next season, he produced his first victory in a tournament (the King Louie Open) and from 1976 to 1979, he won a staggering 22 tournaments. In 1978, his winnings totaled $134,500.  Starting in 1977, Roth won $100,000 or more in purses five straight years as the dominant bowler on the tour and by 1984 had won more than $1 million, becoming only the second PBA bowler to achieve that level.  Roth’s 1984 campaign was perhaps the most amazing of his career in that he entered only 25 tournaments but qualified for the finals 10 times, won four tournaments and finished as the top money-winner on the tour for the fourth time in his career.  His earnings that year ($158,712) represented the second-highest season total ever up to that time.  Perhaps the most impressive single fact about Roth’s record is his consistency. In more than 8,000 games from 1976 through 1991, he maintained a 215-plus average. He won the George Young High Average Award a record five times.

Kyle Rote

Kyle Rote (Pro football.  Born, San Antonio, TX, Oct. 27, 1927; died, Baltimore, MD, Aug. 14, 2002.)  During his 11-year career with the Giants (1951-61), William Kyle Rote was one of the team’s most popular players.  Rote, a star at Southern Methodist U., came to the Giants as a bonus choice in the N.F.L. draft, but injured a knee and underwent surgery after his rookie season.  In 1952, he gained 421 yards rushing on 103 carries but never again approached those numbers as a running back.  Rote was a standout pass receiver and by 1956 was shifted from halfback to offensive end permanently.  He finished his career (115 games) with 4,808 yards receiving and 301 receptions, both then team records.  Rote was sports director of WNEW Radio ((1130 AM) for several years, starting in the later years of his career.  His son was an outstanding soccer player in the old N.A.S.L. and international competition for the U.S. national teams.

Lou Rossini

Lou Rossini (Basketball.  Born, The Bronx, NY, Apr. 24, 1921; died, Sewell, NJ, Oct. 21, 2005.)  A career that was later to become very international began with a local bang for Lucio A. Rossini.  Just before the 1950-51 season was to start for the Columbia varsity, coach Gordon Ridings suffered a heart attack and Rossini, his assistant, stepped in to coach the Lions.  Rossini’s first team ran through an undefeated (22-0) regular season and into the N.C.A.A. tournament at the Garden (where they were beaten, 79-71, by Illinois in the first round).  Rossini remained at Columbia for eight seasons (1950-58) and compiled a 117-71 record.  Rossini then moved to N.Y.U., succeeding Violets legend Howard Cann.  His tenure (1958-71) included a 1960 Final Four team, a 20-5 season in 1962-63, four N.I.T. teams (finalist in 1966, third in 1959) and several all-America players (Tom Sanders and Barry Kramer) among them.  After N.Y.U. dropped basketball, Rossini began coaching internationally (Mexico and Puerto Rico) but returned to the New York college scene in 1975 at St. Francis.  In his four seasons (1975-79) the Terriers were 55-48, giving him a career 357-256 (.582) record.  Rossini was the coach of the Puerto Rican national team for 12 years (1959-71) with teams that finished second in the Pan American Games (1959) and fourth in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.  He also coached or advised teams in Brazil, Spain, Italy, and Qatar (1982-86).  His 1963 Brazilian team was third in the Pan Am Games.  Rossini played at Theodore Roosevelt H.S. in The Bronx (1937-40) and St. John’s (1941-43) before serving in the Army Air Force during World War II.  He enrolled at Columbia after the war, played for the 1946-47 varsity (averaging a solid 12.3 points per game) and became an assistant coach in 1947 while doing graduate work at Columbia’s Teachers College.  For more than a decade from 1986, Rossini was an adjunct professor at St. John’s.

Gene Rossides

Gene Rossides (College football.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Oct. 23, 1927.)  Owing to World War II manpower shortages, Eugene Telemachus Rossides was a starting back at Columbia as a freshman in 1945 and he took full advantage, piling up 1,062 all-purpose yards and leading the Lions to an 8-1 record and a No. 20 ranking in that season’s final Associated Press poll.  In four years (1945-48), Rossides completed 167 of his 333 passes for 2,632 yards and ran for 1,110 more.  He threw 29 touchdown passes.  During Rossides’ career, the Lions were 25-11, but doubtless the single biggest victory came Oct. 25, 1947.  On that day, Columbia ended Army’s 32-game unbeaten streak with a 21-20 upset in which Rossides completed 18 of 27 passes, including a 28-yard scoring pass to end Bill Swiacki and another to Swiacki that set up the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.  That win ignited a season-ending five-game winning streak, a 7-2 record, and another season-ending No. 20 AP ranking for the Lions.  Rossides then became a lawyer, joining the New York district attorney’s office in 1952.  Later, Rossides worked for the State of New York and then the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Barney Ross

Barney Ross (Boxing.  Born, New York, NY, Dec. 23, 1909; died, Chicago, IL, Jan. 17, 1967.)  Barnet David Rosofsky, born on New York’s Lower East Side, moved to Chicago as a youngster and turned to boxing after the tragic murder of his father during a holdup at the family’s store.  Although known to his family as “Beryl,” Ross picked Barney as his professional name and proceeded to emblazon it into ring history by winning the world lightweight and welterweight titles.  Ross took the lightweight title from Tony Canzoneri in 1933, beating him twice, the second time Sept. 12 at Yankee Stadium, but then relinquished that crown when he began a three-fight series against Jimmy McLarnin for the welterweight title.  Ross earned a split decision 15-round win over McLarnin at the Madison Square Garden Bowl in Long Island City on May 28, 1934, for the crown but then lost it at the Bowl that September.  He regained the title with a unanimous 15-round decision on May 28, 1935, at the Polo Grounds.  Ross lost the crown to Henry Armstrong at the Bowl on May 31, 1938.  At 32, Ross enlisted in the Marines and became a decorated battle hero at Guadalcanal.  Sgt. Ross earned a Silver Star and Presidential citation on Nov. 19, 1942, but also earned a Purple Heart for wounds.  Agonizing pain from those wounds led Ross to a dependency on drugs, a dependency that continued after his medical discharge in 1944.  By 1949, drugs had wrecked both his health and his marriage.  But then he entered a voluntary rehabilitation program and, after conquering his dependency, was remarried to his wife.

Ken Rosewall

Ken Rosewall (Tennis.  Born, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Nov. 2, 1934.)  One of the most popular men’s singles triumphs in the long history of national championship tennis on the lawns of the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills came in 1970.  That was the year when Kenneth R. Rosewall won his second title.  Rosewall had won for the first time in 1956 and his 14-year gap is the longest span of years between titles in the history of the competition, which began in 1881.  Rosewall had won in 1956 before turning pro which, in the years before Open tennis, disqualified him from the major international events.  That year, Rosewall upset Lew Hoad, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3, despite Hoad’s powerhouse service game. Rosewall’s style was made for the grass surfaces then used in three of the four major events (except the French nationals, played on clay).  He was patient and tenacious.  With the coming of Open tennis in 1968, Rosewall (as well as the other pros) was welcomed back to the international scene. From 1968-78, he won 32 tournaments and some $1.6 million in prize money. But his biggest win came in 1970 when he defeated fellow Australian Tony Roche in the Forest Hills final, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-3.  Rosewall was also a solid doubles player, winning the U.S. doubles in 1956 (with Hoad as his partner) and 1969 (with Fred Stolle) and the U.S. mixed doubles in 1956 (with Margaret Osborne duPont).  As a singles player, he won the Australian championship in 1953 and 1955 and the French in 1953 and 1968.  During his years on the pro tour, he was behind Pancho Gonzales and Hoad in the 1950s but Hoad retired (due to back problems) and Rosewall passed Gonzales by the early 1960s to become the leading winner amongst the professional vagabonds who existed at that time mostly on one-night stands around the country.

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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