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

Category Archives: D

Howard Dunney


Howard Dunney (College football.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Nov. 19, 1912; died, Paramus, NJ, Jan. 31, 2004.)  Among the leading punters in the nation during his career, Howard Edwin Dunney was an end on N.Y.U.’s football varsity from 1935 to 1937.  His punting prowess earned him game Most Valuable Player honors in the 7-6 upset of Fordham on Thanksgiving Day, 1936, at Yankee Stadium.  That defeat probably cost Fordham the chance to represent Eastern football in the Rose Bowl.  Dunney nearly repeated the performance a year later against the Rams, with one of his punts rolling to a stop 79 yards after he kicked it, but the Violets lost.  N.Y.U. was 17-8-1 during those three seasons.  As a youngster, he moved to Garfield, N.J., where he became a scholastic star.  Dunney earned all-America mention at N.Y.U. and later had a distinguished career as an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II and Korea, rising to the rank of commander.

Ron Duguay


Ron Duguay (Hockey.  Born, Sudbury, Ont., July 6, 1957.)  With his boyish good looks, bouffant hair, and choppy skating style, Ron Duguay was among the most popular Rangers during his two tours with the team.  A center and right wing, Duguay was the Rangers’ No. 2 pick in the 1977 amateur draft (No. 13 overall) and played his first N.H.L. game that Oct. 12 against Vancouver.  His best season was 1981-82, when he scored 40 goals.  Duguay slumped to 19 goals the next season and was traded to Detroit June 13, 1983.  He returned Jan. 21, 1987, in a trade with Pittsburgh.  In 499 career games with the Rangers, Duguay had 340 points (164 goals), plus 28 goals in 69 playoff games.  He played 18 playoff games for the 1979 Rangers team that reached the Stanley Cup final.  Duguay was as much as personality as a player, signing with the Elite Modeling agency and appearing in several print ads and television commercials.  The best-known of them was for the then-popular Sassoon Jeans, which ended with four Rangers singing, “Ooh, la la, Sassoon.”  He finished his N.H.L. career with the Los Angeles Kings in 1988-89, later playing a season in Germany and four in the minors.  In 2007, he joined the MSG Network as an in-studio Rangers game analyst.

Jumpin’ Joe Dugan


Jumpin’ Joe Dugan (Baseball.  Born, Mahanoy City, PA, May 12, 1897; died, Norwood, MA, July 7, 1982.)  A Holy Cross shortstop who went directly to the majors, Joseph Anthony Dugan joined the Philadelphia Athletics in July 1917 after signing for $500.  Dugan went to Boston briefly in 1922, having been converted to third base by Connie Mack and then on July 23 was traded to the Yankees.  The lateness of the deal helped establish the trading deadline for non-waiver deals at June 15, where it remained for decades.  Boston got four players and $50,000 for Dugan and outfielder Elmer Smith.  Dugan was the regular at third on the Yankees pennant winners for 1922, 1923, 1926, 1927, and 1928.  In the latter year, he played just 94 games and was waived to the Boston Braves in December.  In 1922, Dugan hit .283 and scored 111 runs, and batted .302 with 105 runs scored the following year.  A righthanded contact hitter, Dugan didn’t strike out much but also seldom walked.  His major asset was his defensive ability.  Dugan earned him nickname for his habit of taking unexcused absences from his teams during the season, known as “jumping” the club.

Chris Dudley


Chris Dudley (College and pro basketball.  Born, Stamford, CT, Feb. 22, 1965.)  At 6’11”, Christen Guilford Dudley was the tallest player ever at Yale, only the sixth to be drafted by an N.B.A. team and only the third to play in the N.B.A.  At Yale, Dudley was three times First Team All-Ivy and, as a senior in 1986-87, averaged 17.6 points per game, shot .569 from the floor, and finished second in the nation in rebounding (to Pitt’s Jerome Lane).  His lengthy pro career included stops at Cleveland (1987-90), the Nets (1989-93), Portland (1993-97), and the Knicks, whom he joined in 1997.  Dudley played 18 games at center during the Knicks’ run to the 1999 N.B.A. Final (with starter Patrick Ewing sidelined by injury) and collected 82 rebounds.  He was traded to Phoenix in a Sept. 20, 2000 deal that involved four teams, a dozen players and a half-dozen draft choices.  Ewing was involved in the same transaction.  Dudley retired three games into the 2002-03 season.

John Druze


John Druze (College football.  Born, Newark, NJ, July 13, 1914; died, Scottsdale, AZ, Dec. 27, 2005.)  Captain, kicker, and right end, John Francis Druze was the last survivor of Fordham’s famed “Seven Blocks of Granite” line of 1936-37.  Druze was also the first baseman for the Rams baseball team.  Fordham was 12-1-3 in the two seasons the Seven Blocks were together, losing only to N.Y.U., 7-6, on Thanksgiving Day 1936.  Druze played for the N.F.L. Brooklyn Dodgers in 1938 and then joined his former line coach, Frank Leahy, as an assistant coach at Boston College.  When Leahy went to Notre Dame in 1941, Druze followed, but served in the military during World War II.  He returned to Notre Dame as an assistant under Leahy for 10 more seasons (1946-55) before becoming head coach at Marquette.  In three seasons there, Druze’s teams were 2-26-1.  He spent two decades with a trucking company before retiring.

Norm Drucker


Norm Drucker (Pro basketball.  Born, Brooklyn, July 4, 1920.)  A player for Nat Holman at City College, Norman F. Drucker became much better known as a pro basketball referee.  Drucker served in the U.S. Army for three years during World War II and played professionally in the original A.B.L. with Trenton (N.J.) and Troy (N.Y.) for four years.  He then took up refereeing, reaching the N.B.A. in 1955.  Drucker was a 15-year veteran when he and three other senior officials (Joe Gushue, Earl Strom, and John Vanak) jumped to the rival A.B.A.  There, he served four years (1969-73) as supervisor of referees while continuing to officiate regularly.  When the two major pro leagues merged in the summer of 1976, Drucker officiated for a season and then became the N.B.A. supervisor of officials for four years (1977-81).  At C.C.N.Y., he was a teammate of Red Holzman on the 1941 N.I.T. champions.  Drucker worked three N.B.A. All-Star Games and two A.B.A. All-Star Games as well as championship finals playoffs in both leagues.

Chuck Dressen


Chuck Dressen (Baseball.  Born, Decatur, IL, Sept. 20, 1898; died, Detroit, MI, Aug. 10, 1966.)  In three eventful seasons. Charles Walter Dressen made a distinct impression on the Brooklyn Dodgers.  In 1951, his first season, the Dodgers were able, through concentrated effort, to squander a 13½-game August lead over their hated crosstown rivals, the Giants, and wound up in a first-place tie at the end of the regular season.  After splitting the first two games of the playoff series, a 4-1 lead in the ninth inning of the third game proved insufficient.  Dressen made a very controversial decision by bringing in Ralph Branca, who two days earlier had given up a home run to Bobby Thomson, to face him again.  The result was Thomson’s three-run homer that gave the Giants the pennant.  Brooklyn won the pennant each of the next two seasons but lost the World Series to the Yankees.  Then Dressen, reportedly pressed to do so by his wife, demanded a multi-year contract.  He was dismissed instead.  At 36, Dressen had managed Cincinnati (1934-37) and, after Brooklyn, he managed Washington (1955-57), Milwaukee (1960-61), and Detroit (1963-66), but never won another pennant.  His overall managerial record was 1,037-993 (.511).

John Drebinger


John Drebinger (Sportswriter.  Born, Staten Island, NY, Mar. 23, 1891; died, Greensboro, NC, Oct. 22, 1979.)  A series of mishaps shaped the life of John Drebinger but did not prevent him from becoming one of New York’s longest-serving baseball writers.  Drebinger had planned a career as a concert pianist but seriously injured his thumb while sharpening his skates.  He instead began a newspaper career with the Staten Island Advance that lasted eight years (1916-24).  In the early part of that work, Drebinger sustained severe hearing loss after becoming infected during the influenza pandemic of 1918-19.  He used a hearing aid for the remainder of his years.  In 1924, Drebinger was hired by The New York Times and became a sportswriter.  The move by Bill Corum to the Journal opened up the Brooklyn Dodgers beat in 1925 and Jim Harrison’s move to the Morning Telegraph sent Drebinger to the Yankees in 1929.  Over the years, he covered all three local teams (including the Giants) and by his own estimates saw over 6,000 games, travelling some 1.230 million miles.  As part of The Times team, Drebinger covered 203 straight World Series games from 1929 to his retirement after the 1963 season.  His hearing deficiency led to a myriad of incidents and stories, including one in which Yankees manager Casey Stengel conducted a post-game press conference in pantomime while Drebinger frantically fiddled with his hearing aid, believing it had malfunctioned.

Laughing Larry Doyle


Laughing Larry Doyle (Baseball.  Born, Caseyville, IL, July 31, 1886; died, Saranac Lake, NY, Mar. 1, 1974.)  Whether or not he said it, Lawrence Joseph Doyle is credited with the 1911 line, “It’s great to be young and a Giant.”  As it developed, Doyle played all but 144 of his 1,766 big league games with New York and was a major part of three straight N.L. pennant winners (1911-13).  A skilled second baseman, he was a good lefthanded hitter (lifetime .290 average) who twice led the league in hits (172 in 1909 and 189 in 1915, when he was the N.L. batting champion (.320)).  Doyle was also a good baserunner who from 1909 to 1913 never had fewer than 31 stolen bases in a season.  He led the N.L. in triples (25 in 1911) and doubles (40 in 1915).  His best seasons were 1911, when he hit .310 with 102 runs scored, and 1912 (.330 and 98).  He was traded to the Chicago Cubs Aug. 28, 1916, in a five-player deal and was swapped twice in Jan. 1918, winding up back with the Giants, where he began his career in 1907 and finished it in 1920.

Melbourne Downing


Melbourne Downing (Baseball.  Born, Killorgin, Ireland, Oct. 25, 1869; died, Holyoke, MA, Dec. 31, 1958.)  In a 17-year career encompassing stops with 10 teams in three different major leagues, John Joseph Doyle played for Brooklyn and the Giants, and ended his playing career with the 1905 Highlanders.  He was the first to play for those three New York teams.  Doyle also managed the Giants for part of the 1895 season (31-31, with one tie).  The righthanded hitter is also the first pinch-hitter ever to appear in the majors.  He pinch hit a single for Cleveland in an N.L. game against Brooklyn on June 7, 1892.  Later that season, Doyle started his first hitch with the Giants (through 1895).  He returned to the Giants from 1898 to 1900 and again in 1902.  The first baseman was with Brooklyn in 1903.  Doyle batted .301 for 1,564 big league games.

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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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