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

Category Archives: C

Speedy Claxton

(College basketball.  Born, Hempstead, NY, May 8, 1978.)  After dominating opponents at Christ the King H.S. in Middle Village, NY, Craig “Speedy” Claxton continued his career close to home by playing college basketball at Hofstra.  With the Flying Dutchmen, Claxton, only 5’11”, was a two-time America East Conference Player of the Year.  In his senior season, 1999-2000, he averaged 22.8 points per game and led Hofstra to its first NCAA Men’s Division I tournament berth in 23 years.  For his efforts that season, he won the Haggerty Award, given annually to the best Division I player in New York.  Claxton was drafted 20th overall by Philadelphia in the 2000 NBA draft and, after a trade to San Antonio, was a member of the Spurs’ 2002-03 NBA championship team.  He played for three other NBA, retiring after his last game for Atlanta in the 2008-09 season.  He finished his NBA career with a 9.3 ppg average.  Hofstra retired Claxton’s #10 jersey in 2009.  In 2013, Claxton returned to his alma mater to as a special assistant to the men’s basketball head coach. – By Matthew Kovitz

Frank Cashen

Frank Cashen  (Baseball.  Born, Baltimore, Md., Sept. 13, 1925.)  There is little doubt that J. Frank Cashen was the principal architect of the Mets championship team of 1986.  Having previously served the Orioles in his native Baltimore, Cashen was working in the office of Commissioner Bowie Kuhn when the Mets were sold by the Payson family, which had owned the club since its inception.  When new owner Nelson Doubleday asked Kuhn for a recommendation for general manager, the Commissioner suggested Cashen.  He became the team’s g.m. Feb. 21, 1980, and held the position longer (1980-91) than anyone else in Mets history.  Cashen was named major league executive of the year by The Sporting News when his 1986 club was 108-54 and went on to win the World Series.  In four years (1985-88), the Mets won 398 games.  Cashen remained chief operating officer through 1992 and then became senior vice president.  He is a graduate of Loyola (Md.) and the University of Maryland Law School.  Early in his career, Cashen was a sportswriter with the old Baltimore News-American.

William B. Curtis

William B. Curtis (Track and field.  Born, Salisbury, VT, Jan. 17, 1837; died, Mt. Washington, NH, July 1, 1900.)  A founder of the New York Athletic Club in 1868, William B. Curtis was also a champion athlete.  Curtis won the national championship in the hammer throw three times (1876, 1878, 1880), and in the 56-pound weight in 1880.  He also served as president of the N.Y.A.C. (1880-81) and was killed while climbing Mount Washington at age 63.

Jack Curry

Jack Curry (Sportswriter.  Born, Jersey City, NJ, Nov. 25, 1964.)  A year after his graduation from Fordham, Jack Curry became a sports reporter for The New York Times in 1987.  Curry handled high school and college sports for three years and became The Times’ beat writer on the Nets (1990-91).  He then took over the Yankees beat and for seven seasons (1991-97) covered the team’s return to championship status.  In 1998, Curry left the beat as a full-time responsibility while continuing to cover the Yankees (and Mets) occasionally, but also writing baseball columns, features, and enterprise reporting.  He served as chairman of the New York chapter of the B.B.W.A.A. in 1999-2000.  He later joined the YES Network principally as a Yankees in-studio analyst and “sideline” reporter.

Glenn Cunningham

Glenn Cunningham (Track and field.  Born, Elkhart, KS, Aug. 4, 1909; died, Menifee, AR, Mar. 10, 1988.)  While sub-4:00 miles are almost routine now, both indoors and outdoors, such was not the case in the 1930s, when Glenn Cunningham was the world’s premier miler.  At that time, a sub-4:10 mile was considered unusual.  No one thought that a mile could be run in under four minutes – except Cunningham.  His insistence that the four-minute barrier could be broken and his continually running at under 4:10 helped pave the way for the eventual four-minute-miles of the 1950s.  Cunningham ran 12 sub-4:10 miles and was a particularly dominant runner at the major indoor meets in Madison Square Garden, where he won 21 of 31 miles he ran.  Running first for Kansas University, then for the Curb Exchange A.A. (while he did Ph.D. work at N.Y.U.), Cunningham won six Wanamaker Miles, six Columbian Miles and five Baxter Miles.  He set a world indoor record of 4:07.4 in the 1938 Knights of Columbus Games at the Garden.  In 1933, he won the Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete.  That Cunningham could run at all was a marvel.  In 1917, his legs were badly burned in a fire that killed his older brother.

Ward Cuff

Ward Cuff (Pro football.  Born, Redwood Falls, MN, Aug. 13, 1913; died, Vallejo, CA, Dec. 24, 2002.)  From a fame standpoint, Ward L. Cuff was distinctly the fourth back on the 1936 Marquette team.  That Warriors team finished the regular season 7-1 and then played in the first Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, 1937, which they lost, 16-6, to Texas Christian.  Football Giants coach Steve Owen saw that game and said that Cuff was “tough as a boot.”  Cuff thus became the Giants’ fourth-round pick in the N.F.L. draft.  The other three backs (Buzz Buivid, Art and Al Guepe) played a total of 16 N.F.L. games.  Cuff played 110 in 11 seasons, the first nine of them (1937-45) with the Giants.  He was the classic all-purpose back who could play any backfield position as well as punt and placekick.  Cuff was Second Team All-Pro in 1941, First Team in 1944 and 1945.  He led the league in yards per carry (6.5) in 1944 and in field goals three times.  Cuff scored 319 points for the Giants and was the team’s career scoring leader when he left after 1945.  He played a season each, mostly as a kicker, with the Chicago Cardinals (1946) and Green Bay (1947).  He was later an executive with Boeing in Seattle, Wash., for many years.

Carol Cudone

Carol Cudone (Golf.  Born, Oxford, AL, Sept. 7, 1918; died, Myrtle Beach, SC, Mar. 19, 2009.)  For more than two decades, the most feared player in New Jersey women’s golf was Mrs. Philip Cudone, who from 1955-65 captured the New Jersey Golf Association championship six times.  Carol Cudone also won the Women’s N.J.G.A. stroke play title 11 times in 16 years and captured the women’s Metropolitan Open in 1955, 1961, 1963, 1964, and 1965.  She took the Women’s Eastern tournament championship in 1960.  She also made a major contribution to America’s efforts in women’s international competition, playing on the1956 Curtis Cup team.  She also served as the non-playing captain of the U.S. Curtis Cup team in 1970, when the Americans won 11½-6½.  In 1961, she was the second low amateur in the U.S.G.A. Women’s Open at the Baltusrol Golf Club and, the following winter, won the International Four-Ball Match Play championship.  With William Hyndman II, Mrs. Cudone won the National Scotch Mixed Foursome title three times.  She won major championships in other parts of the country, too, including the prestigious North-South Match Play in 1958 and, after her relocation to South Carolina in 1968, numerous state and regional championships in the Carolinas, including seven straight South Carolina Golf Association medal play state titles from 1970-76.

Tony Cuccinello

Tony Cuccinello (Baseball.  Born, Long Island City, NY, Nov. 8, 1907; died, Tampa, FL, Sept. 21, 1995.)  Brother of a major league player, uncle of another, Anthony Francis Cuccinello had a 15-year big league career that ended on an odd note.  On the final day of the 1945 season, Cucccinello was leading the A.L. batting race, but Chicago was rained out and the Yankees’ Snuffy Stirnweiss won the title.  In January, the White Sox released Cuccinello.  In 1946, he played for the Bushwicks, the celebrated New York semipro club based at Woodhaven’s Dexter Park.  Cuccinello came to the majors in 1930 with Cincinnati but was traded to Brooklyn Mar. 14, 1932, in a six-player deal that sent Babe Herman and Ernie Lombardi (wth third baseman Wally Gilbert) to the Reds.  Cuccinello was the regular second baseman for the Dodgers for four years, went to the Boston Braves in 1936, and the Giants June 15, 1940.  After that season, the Giants made him the playing manager of their Jersey City farm club.  Wartime manpower shortages brought him back to the majors with the Braves in 1942 and he moved on to the White Sox after being released in 1943.  His brother, Al, played 54 games with the Giants in 1935 and on July 5 at the Polo Grounds both homered during a 14-4 Brooklyn victory, making them the first brothers ever to homer for opposing teams in the same game.  Cuccinello was an uncle of Sam Mele, an N.Y.U. star who played outfield for five major league teams (1947-56) and managed Minnesota (1961-67), winning the 1965 A.L. pennant.

Al Cuccinello

Al Cuccinello (Baseball.  Born, Long Island City, NY, Nov. 26, 1914; died, Malverne, NY, Mar. 29, 2004.)  Younger brother of Tony Cuccinello, Alfred Edward Cuccinello played 54 games for the Giants in 1935.  He batted .248 while playing mostly second base.  Cuccinello hit just four homers that season but one came on July 5 against Brooklyn, a game in which Tony also homered for the Dodgers, making them the first brothers ever to homer for opposing teams in the same major league game.

Jim Crusinberry

Jim Crusinberry (Sports editor.  Born, Cascade, IA, Dec. 11, 1879; died, Chicago, IL, July 1, 1960.)  On loan from the Chicago Tribune, James Crusinberry became the first full-time sports editor of the Daily News in early 1921.  The News was then barely 18 months old and had virtually no image among the sports-minded readers in New York.  Crusinberry changed all that before returning to Chicago in June 1923.  As a founding member of the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1908, he brought strong baseball coverage credentials to the fledgling paper.  Crusinberry inherited Marshall Hunt, a deskman hired earlier from Hearst’s American, and a 14-year-old copy boy named Charlie Hoerter, later a long-time News sports editor.  He built a staff, adding Al Copland, Harry Newman, and Jackie Farrell as writers, and Grant Powers as the paper’s first sports cartoonist.  Crusinberry concentrated on baseball and soon made the young tabloid the read of choice for many fans of the Yankees, Giants, and Dodgers.  When he left, Crusinberry was succeeded by former movic critic Paul Gallico (q.v.), who expanded the coverage and became the paper’s first regular sports columnist.  After returning to the Tribune, Crusinberry later became the director of news operations for CBS in Chicago.  In 1958, he threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the World Series in Milwaukee to mark the 50th anniversary of the B.B.W.A.A.’s founding.  He retired to Phoenix, Ariz., but died while on a visit to Chicago.  At his death, Crusinberry was the next-to-last member of the B.B.W.A.A. founders, survived only by Ed Bang of the old Cleveland News.

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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