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

Category Archives: E

Lou Eisenstein

Lou Eisenstein (Basketball.  Born, New York, NY, Sept. 27, 1913; died, Brooklyn, NY, Dec. 20, 1996.)  Rated one of the top referees for over 30 years, Leo Eisenstein was an official in both college and pro ball in the 1940s and 1950s.  Eisenstein began as a college referee but signed up with the new Basketball Association of America when the pro league began in 1946.  He officiated in the B.A.A. and N.B.A., its successor, until 1959, working in the league’s championship final series every year.  Eisenstein also called the N.B.A. All-Star Game (with Arnie Heft) in 1956.  He was second in the N.B.A. in seniority when he left the league.  As a college official, Eisenstein continued to work games until 1976, when he became an evaluator of officials.  Eisenstein worked his first N.C.A.A. final in 1950, when City College completed its unprecedented “double” (having earlier won the N.I.T.).  He refereed eight N.I.T. finals, starting in 1949, including five in six years (1962-65 and 1967).  In the earlier of those seasons, Eisenstein officiated N.B.A. finals games, as well as major collegiate tournament finals.  For 40 years, he ran a sporting goods business in Brooklyn.  His partner was Red Sarachuk, the Yeshiva basketball coach and athletic director.  Eisenstein graduated from N.Y.U. in 1934, having earned a dozen letters as an athletic team manager for football, basketball, and baseball.

Louis Effrat

Louis Effrat (Sportswriter.  Born, New York, NY, Feb. 21, 1910; died, Royal Palm Beach, FL, Sept. 1, 1988.)  For nearly 50 years, Louis Effrat was associated with The New York Times, most of that time as a sportswriter.  Effrat began at The Times as a cityside copy boy in 1927.  He soon gravitated to sports and began covering high school events, then colleges.  In 1935, Effrat went on to the baseball beat for the first time.  He covered the Giants primarily, but also over the years wrote the Dodgers, Yankees, and then the Mets.  Effrat was part of the six-man group from the Metropolitan Basketball Writers that helped start the N.I.T. in 1938.  He covered the Football Giants for several seasons until 1963.  In later years, he was The Times’ harness racing writer.  Effrat retired in 1976.

Herman Edwards

Herman Edwards (Football.  Born, Fort Monmouth, NJ, Apr. 27, 1954.)  On Jan. 18, 2001, Herman Edwards was named the 13th full-time head coach of the Jets after eight seasons as an N.F.L. assistant.  He became the first coach in club history to bring the team to the playoffs in his first season at the helm, and in the second year won the A.F.C. East Division title, only the second time the Jets had won their division since the A.F.L.-N.F.L. merger became effective in 1970.  Edwards left after the 2005 season to coach Kansas City.  As Jets coach, he was only 39-41, but his teams reached the playoffs in three of his five seasons as coach.  Edwards was a standout defensive back for Philadelphia (1977-85) who ranks second in Eagles history with 33 career interceptions.  He ended his active pro career Nov. 11, 1986, after four games with the then-Los Angeles Rams and three with Atlanta.  Edwards became part of a legendary New York moment when he recovered a fumble by Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik and ran for a 26-yard touchdown with 31 seconds to play in a 19-17 victory Nov. 19, 1978, that is known to Eagles fans as the “Miracle in the Meadowlands.”  He became an assistant coach at San Jose (Calif.) State in 1987 and joined the Kansas City Chiefs scouting staff in 1990.  Edwards was the Chiefs’ defensive backfield coach for three seasons (1992-94) and became assistant head coach at Tampa Bay in 1996, where he also was defensive backfield coach.  He played collegiately as a defensive back at California (Berkeley), Monterey Peninsula Junior College, and San Jose State.

Bill Edwards

Bill Edwards (College football.  Born, Lisle, NY, Feb. 23, 1877; died, New York, NY, Jan. 4, 1943.)  A guard for Princeton football teams that were 33-2-1 from 1897-99, William H. Edwards captained the 1899 squad that defeated Yale, 11-0.  Edwards earned perhaps greater fame in 1910 when, acting as a bodyguard, he tackled a would-be assassin who attacked New York mayor William Gaynor.  He was wounded in the arm while subduing the assailant and was awarded a Carnegie Medal for heroism.

Gertrude Ederle

Gertrude Ederle (Swimming.  Born, New York, NY, Oct. 23, 1906; died, Wyckoff, NJ, Nov. 30, 2003.)  As the youngest athlete ever to set a world record in a major sport, the first woman to swim the English Channel and a performer who once set seven world records in a single day, Gertrude Caroline Ederle is a unique part of world swimming history.  In 1919, she set a world record in the 880-yard freestyle at Indianapolis, Ind., becoming the youngest athlete ever to set a world record in a significant sport.  She was not yet 13.  Three years later, she set seven world records in an afternoon at Brighton Beach, and between 1921 and 1925 she held 29 national and world marks.  Ederle was an A.A.U. champion both indoors and outdoors at almost all freestyle distances while representing the Women’s Swimming Association of New York, the dominant club team in women’s swimming.  Her everlasting fame came from her long-distance feats. As a warmup for her eventual Channel crossing, she swam from Battery Park to Sandy Hook, N.J., in seven hours, 11 minutes and 30 seconds on June 15, 1925.  Ederle was the leading exponent of the 8-beat American crawl technique of freestyle swimming and put it to its ultimate test Aug. 6, 1926, when she covered 31 miles from France to England in the treacherous Channel in 14 hours and 31 minutes, the fastest crossing up to that time. Her tickertape up Broadway drew more than two million adoring fans.  President Calvin Coolidge called her “America’s best girl.”  She appeared frequently as a celebrity guest, encouraging girls’ participation in sports at many events, notably under the auspices of the New York Journal-American, although later in life she became reclusive.

Spike Eckhart

Spike Eckhart (Baseball.  Born, Freeport, IL, Jan. 20, 1909; died, Freeport, Grand Bahama I., Apr. 16, 1971.)  A retired Lt. General in the U.S. Air Force, William Dole Eckert was the fourth Commissioner of Baseball, although no one seemed sure why.  Eckert served from Nov. 11, 1965 (succeeding Ford Frick), until Feb. 3, 1969, when he was bought out.  He was a 1930 West Point graduate who commanded the 452nd Bomb Group in Europe during World War II and won numerous decorations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross.  Eckert had no discernible connection to baseball and didn’t seek the job.  In theory, he was hired for his administrative ability.  But Eckert was not a good speaker, had no baseball background, and was ridiculed by sportswriters who called him “General Who?” and “The Unknown Soldier.”

Charlie Ebbets

Charlie Ebbets (Baseball.  Born, New York, NY, Oct. 29, 1858; died, New York, NY, Apr. 18, 1925.)  One of the most colorful characters in the baseball history of the 20th century, Charles Hercules Ebbets inadvertantly sowed the seeds of the Dodgers’ move from Brooklyn by building his dream ballpark.  Born at Clark and Spring Streets in Greenwich Village, Ebbets moved to the then-City of Brooklyn as a young man.  After a variety of jobs including bank clerk, architect, and editor, Ebbets began producing and selling scorecards for the new Brooklyn team in 1883.  The club, in the minor Inter-State League, played at the first Washington Park at 5th Avenue and 3rd Street.  The team moved to the major American Association in 1884, and Ebbets began to acquire stock in the team, which was primarily owned by Charles H. Byrne.  When Byrne died (Jan. 4, 1898), Ebbets was a significant shareholder and was elected club president.  He had considerable political experience, having served four years on the City Council and one in the New York State Assembly (1896).  Among his first moves was to acquire an interest in the Baltimore Orioles.  The transfer of several Baltimore stars helped make Brooklyn N.L. champions in 1899 and again in 1900 (when the league was trimmed to eight teams and Baltimore was dropped).  By 1909, Ebbets had moved (in 1898) from Eastern Park to a new Washington Park, 4th Avenue and 3rd Street, was planning his new ballpark, and had complete control of the club’s shares.  He bought dozens of parcels of land in the Pigtown section of Flatbush.  In 1912, construction began on Ebbets Field, but Ebbets was unable to finance its completion.  So he brought in the contractors, the McKeever brothers (Edward and Stephen), as partners.  Ebbets Field opened in 1913 and Brooklyn won N.L. pennants in 1916 and 1920.  The subsequent deaths of Ebbets, his son Charles H., Jr. (in 1945) and the McKeever brothers left the stock fractured into four parts.  A lawyer for the Brooklyn Trust Co., Walter O’Malley, eventually acquired the various fragments and, unable to build a new ballpark in Brooklyn, moved the team to California.  During his years as Dodgers president, Ebbets usually sat behind the Brooklyn dugout, engaging both the nearby fans and his manager in a running dialogue about game strategy.  He also managed the team in 1898 after Billie Barney was fired and Mike Griffin resigned.  He finished the season 38-68 with four ties in 110 games.

Ian Eagle

Ian Eagle (Sportscaster.  Born, Miami, FL, Feb. 9, 1969.)  Beginning as a sports producer at WFAN Radio (1990-92), Ian Eagle has become a leading N.F.L. television play-by-play man as well as the Nets television voice.  Eagle began hosting his own WFAN talk show in 1993 and moved to Nets basketball the next year as the radio play-by-play caller on WFAN.  From 1995-2005, he was the television voice of the Nets before the signing of Marv Albert reduced his role.  Eagle hosted the Jets’ pre-game and post-game shows on WFAN (1993-96) and then became the Jets’ radio play-by-play man in 1997.  The next year, he joined the CBS Network team for N.F.L. telecasts.

Eddie Eagan

Eddie Eagan (Olympics, boxing.  Born, Denver, CO, Apr. 26, 1897; died, New York, NY, June 14, 1967.)  The only American ever to win gold medals at both summer and winter Olympic Games, Edward Patrick Francis Eagan later served as chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission.  Eagan served as an officer in both World Wars, rising from lieutenant to lieutenant colonel, and in between graduated Yale, attended Harvard Law, and went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.  He won the light heavyweight gold at Antwerp in the 1920 Games (there were no Winter Games until 1924), defeating Norway’s Sverre Sorsdal in the final.  He was an American heavyweight entrant in 1924 but didn’t qualify.  Eagan won winter gold in 1932 at Lake Placid, N.Y., as a brakeman on the four-man bobsled driven by Billy Fiske.  He served as an assistant U.S. attorney in New York (1933-38) and then represented the Daily News in private practice until early 1942, when he reentered the U.S. Army.  Gov. Thomas E. Dewey appointed Eagan chairman of the Athletic Commission (which regulates boxing in the state) at war’s end in 1945 and Eagan served until 1951.  He then returned to private law practice but served as finance chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee for the 1956 Olympic cycle and later founded the People-to-People Sports Committee to foster international goodwill through sports, which he headed until his death.  Eagan also authored numerous magazine articles and two books.

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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