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

Category Archives: K

Len Koenecke

Len Koenecke (Baseball. Born, Baraboo, WI, Jan. 18, 1904; died, Toronto, Ont., Sept. 17, 1935.) A prolific hitter as a minor league outfielder, Leonard George Koenecke lost the war with booze and a battle with a fire extinguisher. A lefthanded hitter, Koenecke hit .343, .389, and .397 with his first three minor league clubs (1927-28). He spent three seasons with Indianapolis and, after batting .353 there in 1931, came to the Giants. Koenecke hit .255 in 42 games in the N.L. and spent most of 1932 in Jersey City, where he hit 100 points higher in 95 games, but the Giants gave up on him. With Buffalo in 1933, he hit .334 and Brooklyn decided to take a chance on the undisciplined character. Under manager Casey Stengel, Koenecke hit .320 with 14 homers in 123 games for the 1934 Dodgers. The next year, his unruly behavior increased and his average declined. Finally, Stengel had enough, threw him off the team, and sent him home. Koenecke got drunk on the flight to Chicago, was put off in Detroit after shoving a stewardess during an argument, and then decided to hire a private plane to fly to Buffalo in hopes of getting signed by the I.L. club. He apparently attempted to seize control of the plane over Lake Erie and, in the ensuing fight, the co-pilot hit him in the head with a fire extinguisher. When the plane made an emergency landing in Toronto, it was Koenecke who was extinguished. He hit .283 in 100 games for Brooklyn in 1935.

Mark Koenig

Mark Koenig (Baseball. Born, San Francisco, CA, July 19, 1902; died, Willows, CA, Apr. 22, 1993.) Noted as the shortstop for the 1927 “Murderers Row” Yankees, Mark Anthony Koenig played in three World Series (1926-28) with the Yankees, but also played against them in two Series. Koenig was a better hitter than a fielder as a shortstop and led the A.L. in errors for two pennant winners. He came to the Yankees in 1925 from St. Paul of the American Association for $50,000 and a couple of players. Koenig was traded to Detroit May 30, 1930, with righthander Waite Hoyt and by 1932 was in the minors. On Aug. 5, 1932, the Chicago Cubs bought him from the San Francisco Missions of the Pacific Coast League to help them in the N.L. stretch run. Help he did, hitting .353 over 33 games as the Cubs won the pennant. His teammates refused to give him a full share (he got $2,122.30) and his former teammates were incensed, relentlessly riding the Cubs as “cheapskates” or worse during the World Series. The ill-will was the subtext to Babe Ruth’s so-called “called shot” in the third game. Koenig tripled in fout at-bats in the first game but didn’t get another at-bat in the four-game Yankees sweep. Koenig went to Cincinnati in 1934 and that Dec. 14 was traded to the Giants, where he finished his career. His last big league games were in the 1936 Series (he was 1-for-3 in three game as the Yankees won in six). Koenig, last of the Murderers Row regulars to die, hit .279 over 1,162 major league games.

Jack Kofoed

Jack Kofoed (Sportswriter. Born, Philadelphia, PA, Dec. 17, 1894; died, Miami, FL, Dec. 27, 1979.) Starting in his native Philadelphia with the Public Ledger at age 17, John Kofoed came to New York in 1923 to join the Evening Telegram. Kofoed became a sports columnist at the Evening Post (1924-33), where he built a substantial reputation. He moved to the Journal-American briefly, but became more of a magazine writer for the next decade. A prolific writer, Kofoed wrote for some 200 different publications, did over a dozen books, and turned out screenplays. For the last 35 years of his life, he was a noted columnist for the Miami Herald (1944-79), covering a wide range of topics.

Hannes Kolehmainen

Hannes Kolehmainen (Track. Born, Kuipio, Finland, Dec. 9, 1899; died, Helsinki, Finland, Jan. 11, 1966.) Having won three gold medals in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Hannes Kolehmainen became one of the first famed foreign athletes to venture to New York for the indoor track season. Kolehmainen swept all before him in a time when literally dozens of meets were held every winter in New York. On one day (Feb. 12, 1913), he won the three-mile in world record indoor time (14:18.2) in Brooklyn in the afternoon, and the five-mile in the New York A.C. Games that night in the second Garden on Madison Square. Under the aegis of the Irish-American A.C., Kolehmainen ran in New York for several years, both indoors and out, before returning to Finland and winning another gold for his country at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.

Chuck Knoblauch

Chuck Knoblauch (Baseball.  Born, Houston, TX, July 7, 1968.)  An All-Star second baseman and steady hitter with Minnesota, Edward Charles Knoblauch essentially forced the trade that sent him to the Yankees Feb. 6, 1998, for four players and cash reported as $3 million.  Knoblauch immediately became an enigma in New York.  A lifetime .304 hitter in Minnesota, he dropped to .265 in 1998 (although hitting a career-best 17 homers).  Knoblauch experienced severe problems with throws to first base and was often replaced by Luis Sojo in 1999.  But he hit 18 homers that year, played 150 games for the second straight season, and the Yankees won the World Series in each of his first two seasons with them.  His average improved to .283 in 2000 as the Yankees won the Series again, but the following year, he lost his second base job to Alfonso Soriano.  At the end of the 2001 season (when he hit .250 as a leftfielder), Knoblauch was not offered a contract by the Yankees.  On Dec. 18, 2001, he signed with Kansas City.

Howard Komives

Howard Komives (Pro basketball. Born, Toledo, OH, May 9, 1941; died, Toledo, OH, Mar. 22, 2009.) A lefty-shooting guard who, at Bowling Green in 1963-64, led the nation’s collegians in scoring as a senior (36.7 points per game), Howard Komives was the Knicks’ third draft choice in 1964, after Jim Barnes and Willis Reed. Komives, known as Butch, was a solid scorer during his 10-year N.B.A. career (averaging 10.2 p.p.g. with four teams) but is best remembered for being part of a trade on Dec. 19, 1968, that brought Dave DeBusschere to the Knicks. Along with Walt Bellamy, Komives went to Detroit in the deal that helped create the nucleus for the Knicks championship teams of 1970 and 1973. Komives averaged 11.9 p.p.g in 335 games for the Knicks. His best seasons were 1965-66, when he averaged 13.9 in 80 games, and 1966-67 (15.7 in 65 games). Komives also played for Detroit, Buffalo, and Kansas City-Omaha.

Bobby Knight

Bobby Knight (College basketball.  Born, Orrville, OH, Oct. 25, 1940.)  While he was to become a basketball coaching legend at Indiana, Robert Montgomery Knight launched his head coaching career at Army (1965-71).  Knight inherited a program that had begun having modest success when, after two seasons as an assistant under Tates Locke, he became head coach.  He produced four N.I.T. teams (1966, 1968, 1969, 1970) in six seasons, finishing third in the tournament in 1970.  Knight’s 1967-68 squad was 20-5 and the Cadets were 22-6 in 1970.  Overall, he was 102-50 at West Point before moving to Indiana, where he won his first N.C.A.A. championship in 1976.

Arthur Knapp

Arthur Knapp (Sailing.  Born, Bayside, NY, Jan. 5, 1907; died: Greenwich, CT, June 15, 1992.)  For decades before and after World War II, Arthur Knapp, Jr., of the Larchmont Yacht Club was  one of the country’s leading competitors in boats of all sizes and descriptions.  In 1924, he was one of the first winners of the Sears Cup, the national junior sailing championship; four years later he captured an intercollegiate title for Princeton in a triangular with Harvard and Yale. In 1937, Knapp was a sail-trimmer in Harold S.(Mike) Vanderbilt’s afterguard aboard the great J-boat Ranger that successfully defended the America’s Cup against Britain’s Endeavour II.  Lacking activity in the winter, Knapp led a group of Long Island Sound enthusiasts who formed the Frostbite Yacht Club in 1932 for the purpose of sailing dinghies in interclub competition.  From the end of World War War II until he retired from winter competition in 1966, Knapp won the annual Larchmont Yacht Club’s frostbite racing series 14 times. Aside from his dozens of trophies over a six-decade career, Knapp also authored one of the finest how-to sailing books ever in 1954.  Knapp’s strongest imprimatur in his sport was made on the Sound as the wily skipper of Bumble Bee in the famous International One-Design fleet against such renowned competitors as Bill Cox, George Hinman, Bill Luders, Bus Mosbacher and Cornelius Shields. Since the whereabouts of the most-feared competitor is so essential in yacht racing, it’s no wonder this all-star fleet heard so long and so often the shout, “Where’s Knapp?”

Ed Konetchy

Ed Konetchy (Baseball. Born, LaCrosse, WI, Sept. 3, 1885; died, Fort Worth, TX, May 27, 1947.) The first baseman for Brooklyn’s 1920 N.L.champions, Edward Joseph Konetchy had a long career before he joined the Dodgers, starting in 1907. In 1919, he came to Brooklyn from the Boston Braves and hit .308 for the 1920 pennant winners but only .174 in the World Series. The righthanded hitter went to the Phillies midway through the 1921 season, the last of his major league career. Konetchy then played in the Texas League and managed Fort Worth in 1925.

Clyde Kluttz

Clyde Kluttz (Baseball.  Born, Rockwell, NC, Dec. 12, 1917; died, Salisbury, NC, May 12, 1979.)  A journeyman major league catcher, Clyde Franklin Kluttz became known as the scout who signed righthander Catfish Hunter – twice.  Kluttz convinced the Kansas City Athletics to sign Hunter for some $75,000 in June 1964, even though the pitcher had lost a toe in a hunting accident and was considered damaged goods.  After Hunter became an All-Star and Cy Young winner for the A’s (who by then had moved to Oakland), Kluttz got an unexpected second chance.  After the 1974 season, an arbitrator freed the 20-game winner, a North Carolina native, declaring Hunter a free agent (the only one in baseball at the time), finding a breach of his contract by Oakland owner Charles O. Finley.  At least 13 (of the then 24) major league teams made offers.  Many team owners came to romance the tobacco farmer and his local lawyer.  Kluttz was scouting for the Yankees by then and represented them.  Hunter signed a free agent deal for a $1 million signing bonus and a five-year contract with the Yankees.  Hunter’s signing, announced on New Year’s Eve 1974, in the Yankees’ temporary office in a Parks Department building in Flushing Meadows Park, started the team’s renaissance of the 1970s.  Kluttz played for six big league teams in his nine-season career between 1942 and 1952.  He spent part of the 1945 and 1946 seasons with the Giants.  Overall, he batted .268 in 656 career games before becoming a scout.

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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