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

Category Archives: I

Jerry Izenberg

Jerry Izenberg (Sportswriter.  Born, Newark, NJ, Sept. 10, 1930.)  Since August 1962, Jerry Izenberg has written more than 10,000 columns for the sports pages of the Newark Star-Ledger and the paper’s website,, as “columnist emeritus.”  Izenberg went to The Star-Ledger after three years with the Herald Tribune at the insistence of the sports editors of both papers.  During his years at the Herald Trbune, sports editor Stanley Woodward had groomed him to be a columnist by assigning him to every imaginable sport, including rodeo, rowing, fly fishing (in Times Square), boxing, college and pro basketball, pro football, and features, while serving as the backup on the Yankees beat.  Izenberg’s return to The Star-Ledger was his third tour there.  He had done high school sports in 1951 before joining the staff of the Paterson (N.J.) Evening News in 1954 following military service during the Korean War.  Izenberg left the News in 1957 to go to The Star-Ledger (where he also worked under Woodward) prior to moving to the Herald Tribune in 1959.  In addition to many magazine articles, he has also written nine books.  Izenberg has been the writer, narrator, or producer (sometimes all three) of 35 network television documentaries.  One of those shows, “A Man Called Lombardi,” earned an Emmy nomination.  Izenberg has also been a consultant for ESPN for several years.  He has earned numerous honors, including the prestigious Red Smith Award (2000).  Izenberg wrote five columns a week for more than 36 years but cut back to four per week in 1999.

Stan Isaacs

Stan Isaacs (Sportswriter.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Apr. 22, 1929.)  As a sportswriter, columnist, sports editor, and observer of the world scene, Stan Isaacs consistently brought a sense of irreverence coupled with keen observation to his work.  Isaacs started as a copy boy at the New York Star in 1949 while a student at Brooklyn College.  He then moved to its successor, the Daily Compass (1950-52), where he began to cover the Yankees, Giants, Dodgers, Knicks, boxing, and other events.  Isaacs went to Newsday as a sportswriter in 1954 and remained there in a variety of roles for 38 years.  He became a columnist, sports editor (1971-72), feature columnist and sports media columnist.  Isaacs, along with Post writers Leonard Schechter and Larry Merchant, was among the first of the so-called “chipmunk” school of writers who broke the hidebound conventions of sports coverage.  Among his more humorous writings is the rating of just about everything in a column that always includes a world ranking of chocolate ice cream sodas.  That column has continued to appear annually in Newsday even though Isaacs retired in 1994.  In addition to numerous magazine pieces, Isaacs has done three books, including tomes with football great Jim Brown and broadcasting legend Marty Glickman.

John Isaacs

John Isaacs (Pro basketball.  Born, Panama City, Canal Zone, Sept. 30, 1915; died, The Bronx, Jan. 26, 2009.)  A New York high school basketball star who became a top professional, John Isaacs joined the celebrated New York Rens in 1935.  Isaacs was a major factor in the Rens’ winning the first World Pro tournament in 1939, when they beat the Harlem Globetrotters (playing their best straight basketball) in the semifinals and N.B.L. champion Oshkosh in the final.  During World War II, Isaacs joined Grumman Aircraft, playing for the company teams, the Flyers, later known as the Hellcats.  He later played for the Washington Bears and other pro teams.

Artie Irwin

Artie Irwin (Baseball.  Born, Toronto, Ont., Feb. 14, 1858; died, Atlantic Ocean, July 16, 1921.)  An undistinguished manager of the Giants for 93 games (38-53 plus two ties) in 1896, Arthur Albert Irwin is considered the first player to use a glove in the field.  Irwin introduced fielding while wearing a glove as a shortstop with Providence in the N.L. in 1883.  He also managed several other N.L. teams and Boston of the old American Association (1891).

Monte Irvin

Monte Irvin (Baseball.  Born, Columbus, AL, Feb. 25, 1919.)  All all-around high school star in East Orange, N.J., Monford Merrill Irvin played semipro baseball with the East Orange Triangles while attending Lincoln (Penna.) University.  Irvin subsequently became a star with the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League and many scouts felt he was the league’s best player.  A superb outfielder and powerful righthanded hitter, he led the N.N.L. in hitting in 1940 and 1941 but was then drafted into the U.S. Army.  In 1946, Irvin hit .389 for Newark and scored the winning run Sept. 29 as the Eagles won the Negro World Series.  Brooklyn had his major league rights but wouldn’t pay what Newark owner Effa Manley asked.  In 1949, the Dodgers relinquished the rights and the Giants signed Irvin for $5,000.  He played briefly in Jersey City before breaking in with the Giants July 27, 1949, playing only 36 games that season, almost half of them as a pinch-hitter.  In 1950, Irvin again started at Jersey City but hit .510 in 18 games and once again joined the Giants in the Polo Grounds.  During the 1951 stretch run, he was a consistent hitter, leading the N.L. with 121 r.b.i.  He made the only out in the ninth inning of the third playoff game against Brooklyn (fouling out to first baseman Gil Hodges) but stole home in Game 2 of the World Series and collected 11 hits in six games.  Irvin broke an ankle sliding in April 1952 but the next year fully recovered to hit .329 with 97 r.b.i. in 124 games.  He also played for the 1954 World Series champion Giants but retired after spending the 1956 season with the Chicago Cubs.  Irvin was a Mets scout and then spent almost 15 years in the Commissioner’s office.

Ned Irish

Ned Irish (Executive.  Born, Lake George, NY, May 6, 1905; died, Venice, FL, Jan. 21, 1982.)  Edward Simmons Irish didn’t invent basketball, but he sure helped make it popular.  After working his way through the University of Pennsylvania, Irish came to New York in 1928 as a sportswriter for the Evening Telegram.  In 1930, he acquired a part-time position as publicity director for the New York Giants and the N.F.L., positions he held until 1940.  It was in 1933, while covering a C.C.N.Y.-Manhattan game at the Jaspers’ cramped gym, that he decided the sport needed an arena like Madison Square Garden.  On Dec. 29, 1934, he staged his first college basketball doubleheader at the Garden and drew a crowd of 16,180.  By 1940, the Garden was hosting a couple of dozen doubleheaders each year.  Irish served two terms as president of the Garden (1943-46 and 1960-69), was the founder of the New York Knickerbockers and, in 1946, helped to form the league that became the N.B.A.  He was Knicks president until he retired July 1, 1974.  Ned Irish was noted for his integrity, honesty and fierce loyalty to his friends and employees.  Most of all, it was his vision that pulled basketball to center stage.

Del Insko

Del Insko (Harness racing.  Born, Amboy, MN, July 10, 1931.)  Del Insko was the dominant harness driver in the New York area in the 1960s and early 1970s, when Yonkers and Roosevelt Raceways were the dominant tracks in the sport.  Delmer M. Insko shifted to the New York circuit in 1962.  For a dozen years before that, he had been a major driver in the Chicago area.  But much of what Insko achieved was accomplished during his great years in New York, including the night in 1966 when he steered Speedy Rodney through a 1:58.3 mile at Yonkers to set a track record that stood for 18 years.  In 1975, Insko achieved an unparalled feat when he swept through Roosevelt’s International Trotting Series, winning all three races with Savoir.  No other driver had ever accomplished this triple.  Five years later, he turned in what he later called his biggest thrill in racing, his win in the $2 million Woodrow Wilson Pace at the Meadowlands with Land Grant.  Insko started driving in 1950 in the Chicago area and by 1960 became the youngest driver ever to win a North American Dash-winning championship.  From 1960-69, Insko placed first or second in victories six times.  He was an extremely active driver during his New York years, making 1,370 starts in 1965 and more than 1,400 in 11 of the next 12 years.  He started 1,707 times in 1971 with 234 wins. In 1969, Insko had a career-best 306 wins (second in the country) and had 200 or more victories nine straight years through 1973.

Ed Ingles

Ed Ingles (Sportscaster.  Born, The Bronx, NY, Apr. 25, 1932.)  A pioneer in radio reporting from clubhouses and locker rooms, Edward H. Ingles was sports director for WCBS Radio for 23 years (1973-96).  Ingles, who was also the station’s morning sports news voice, was among the first to venture in the dressing room for post-game comments for radio reports.  He also served as an anchor for CBS Radio at the four major golf tournaments, working 34 Masters from 1973-98.  Ingles handled a pre-game N.F.L. show for CBS-TV in 1976 and play-by-play of the Super Bowl on CBS Radio in 1976.  He also did two stints as radio color commentator for the Jets (1973-77 and 1991-93) for a total of eight seasons and did color on WCBS for St. John’s basketball (1984-91).  In addition, Ingles was an adjunct professor at St. John’s for over 25 years starting in 1973 and a professor in residence at Hofstra (1995-97).

Hype Igoe

Hype Igoe (Sportswriter.  Born, Santa Cruz, CA, June 13, 1885; died, Queens, NY, Feb. 11, 1945.)  Coming from California in 1907 as a sports cartoonist, Herbert A. Igoe became one of New York’s leading boxing writers.  After a brief sojourn at the Evening Journal under the eye of his sponsor, Tad Dorgan, Igoe spent 20 years moving from paper to paper in New York, becoming less a cartoonist and more a writer with each move.  He worked at The Sun, the American, and the morning World before returning to the Journal in 1927.  It was at The World that Igoe began to develop a reputation as a boxing expert after the sport was reestablished in New York in 1920.  During the “Golden Age of Sports” in the 1920s, Igoe was a major figure in boxing and boxing was a major part of the era.  Boxing was staged literally every night of the week in the City.  Igoe wrote a column entitled “Pardon My Glove,” which not only included boxing items but was also usually illustrated with his own drawings.  He continued after the Journal became the Journal-American in 1937, writing until a few days before his death.  His odd nickname originated in an elevator in San Francisco when, while riding with Dorgan, the elevator operator observed, “You’re as thin as a hypodermic needle.”  Dorgan, the best-known sports cartoonist of his time, immediately created “Hype” as a character in his drawings.

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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