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

Category Archives: K

Bob Klapisch


Bob Klapisch (Sportswriter.  Born, New York, NY, Aug. 14, 1957.)  A former Columbia relief pitcher, Roberto Salvador Klapisch has covered New York baseball for three major newspapers since 1980.  Klapisch started at the New York Post, where he remained until 1987, rising from general assignment sportswriter to Yankees beat man.  He then spent six years at the Daily News (1988-94) before moving to The Record of Hackensack, N.J., in 1995.  For The Record, Klapisch is the principal baseball columnist.  He has written four books, the first of which, The Worst Team Money Could Buy (1993), was critical of the Mets’ failed extravagance in the early 1990s.  Co-written with John Harper, the book led to an angry clubhouse confrontation with highly-paid underachieving outfielder Bobby Bonilla. Three more baseball books followed, including one on the 1996 champion Yankees and another with Dwight Gooden (1999).  At Columbia, where he majored in political science, Klapisch was a righthander with a quirky delivery who was 4-3 over his last two seasons with several saves.  An all-B.C.S.L. pitcher at Leonia H.S., he began pitching in New Jersey’s Metropolitan League in 1977 and continues to do so.

Abel Kiviat


Abel Kiviat (Track and field.  Born, New York, NY, June 23, 1892; died, Lakehurst, NJ, Aug. 24, 1991.)  At age 17, in 1909, a young runner from the Lower East Side of Manhattan joined the Irish-American A.C. track team.  A year later, Abel Kiviat became captain of the team, then among the more prominent of the local amateur clubs.  In 1911, Kiviat won the 600 and 1,000-yard runs in the A.A.U. indoor championships in successive days.  He broke the world record at 1,500 meters three times in 13 days in 1912 and won the silver medal for the U.S. in that event at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics.  Kiviat was the A.A.U. outdoor mile champion in 1911, 1912, and 1914, and the cross-country winner in 1913.  He held U.S. indoor records for 600 yards, 800 meters, 1,000 yards, and the mile.  In 1913, Kiviat won the 600 and 1,000-yard runs in the A.A.U. indoor championship, a feat never accomplished again in a one-day meet.  For decades, he served as a press steward for indoor meets at the Garden.

Kerry Kittles


Kerry Kittles (Pro basketball.  Born, Dayton, OH, June 12, 1974.)  The only player in Villanova history to score over 2,000 career points, Kerry Kittles was raised in New Orleans, La., where he was graduated by St. Augustine H.S.  After being the first Villanova player to be a first- team A.P. All-America choice in 25 years, Kittles was the eighth pick overall in the N.B.A. draft.  In his rookie season with the New Jersey Nets, he averaged 16.4 points in 82 games, hitting for 40 at Milwaukee on April 13, 1997.  Considered a disappointment by some N.B.A. observers, Kittles improved to what would prove to be a career-high 17.2 average in 1997-98, playing 77 games and helping the club into the playoffs for the first time in four years.  In the lockout-shortened 1999 season, Kittles struggled with a knee injury but still signed a six-year contract extension worth $52 million.  After sitting out the entire 2000-01 season rehabilitating from right knee surgery, Kittles and Jason Kidd formed the backcourt that led the Nets to consecutive N.B.A. finals.  Kittles was traded by the Nets to the Los Angeles Clippers in the summer of 2004 for a draft choice, but played only 11 games before retiring.  He averaged 14.1 points per game in a 507-game career.

Gustavus Kirby


Gustavus Kirby (Track and fencing.  Born, Philadelphia, PA, Jan. 22, 1874; died, Bedford Hills, NY, Mar. 28, 1956.)  In 1896, Gustavus Town Kirby was an I.F.A. fencing champion, but it was as an administrator in track and field that he made his greatest contributions.  Kirby ran track at Columbia (1893-95) before attending law school there.  As a senior (1895), he helped organize the first committee to send a U.S. team to the revived Olympics in Athens, Greece, the following year.  Kirby was to serve on every U.S. Olympic Committee through 1956.  He was president of the U.S.O.C. in 1920 and its chairman in 1924.  Kirby served as an official at literally hundreds of track meets, indoors and out, in the New York area for over 60 years and was chairman of the advisory committee for the I.C.4A. for 32 years (1896-1928).

Bob Kiphuth


Bob Kiphuth (Swimming.  Born, Tonawanda, NY, Nov. 17, 1890; died, New Haven, CT, Jan. 7, 1967.)  For decades the most celebrated and successful swimming coach in the U.S., Robert John Herman Kiphuth was also Yale’s athletic director for three years (1946-49).  Kiphuth coached Yale’s swimming teams for 41 years (1918-59), winning a staggering 528 of 540 dual meets as well as four N.C.A.A. team championships (1942, ‘44, ‘51, ‘53).  He coached eight teams that finished second or tied for second in the N.C.A.A. championships.  Kiphuth was also a five-team coach of the U.S. Olympic swim team.

Mac Kinsbrunner


Mac Kinsbrunner (College and pro basketball.  Born, Vienna, Austria, Mar. 21, 1909; died, Kiamesha Lake, NY, Feb. 16. 1972.)  A 5’9½” guard with the St. John’s team known as the “Wonder Five,” Mac Kinsbrunner moved with his teammates into pro ball.  Along with Rip Gerson, Matt Begovich (q.v.), Allie Shuckman, and Max Posnak, Kinsbrunner helped compile an 88-8 record (1927-31) at St. John’s, including a 44-2 mark in the final two seasons.  When the quintet was declared ineligible for playing an exhibition against pros, they simply formed a team called the Brooklyn (later New York) Jewels and turned pro themselves.  After a couple of seasons of barnstorming, the Jewels joined the A.B.L. in 1933.  Over the next five seasons (1933-38), the Jewels were generally title contenders and Kinsbrunner was a top scorer, finishing second in the league in 1936-37 with a 10.1 average.  After his retirement as a player, he spent many years with the Catskills resort hotel, the Concord.

Dave Kingman


Dave Kingman (Baseball.  Born, Pendleton, Ore., Dec. 21, 1948.)  A gangling 6’6” go-for-broke slugger, David Arthur Kingman hit 154 homers in two tours with the Mets (1975-77, 1981-83) and two more for the Yankees in 1977, when he played for four teams.  Kingman had 442 homers in his 16-year career (1971-86) with seven teams, but only a .236 batting average.  He led the N.L. for the Mets with 37 homers in 1982.  But Kingman had serious personality problems.  He was often sullen, generally uncooperative, and sometimes aggressive in his dealings with the press and the fans.  More than low breaking balls, these led to his undoing and his soiled reputation.

Joe King


Joe King (Sportswriter.  Born, Jersey City, NJ, May 19, 1908; died, Ridgewood, NJ, Apr. 16, 1979.)  Recognized as one of the first writers to see pro football as a major national sport, Joseph King began his career as a yachting writer.  King joined the Evening Telegram in 1930.  The paper became the World-Telegram in 1931 and he continued to focus primarily on sailing until 1939, when he began to cover the Football Giants.  Although he was later to spend time covering the baseball Giants, Yankees, Dodgers, and Mets, it was pro football that engaged his attention.  King studied the game, seeking out players and coaches for explanations of strategy, and writing stories during the week before the game for the paper.  This approach was very uncommon at the time, when generally only the games themselves received any significant coverage outside of places such as Green Bay, Wisc.  King’s intense coverage of the sport enabled fans to grasp the nuances and teminology.  When the baseball Giants, his summer beat, left New York after the 1957 season, he focused even more on pro football.  This, coupled with the Giants’ N.F.L. championship in 1956 and the classic title game in 1958 against Baltimore, elevated the sport in the nation’s major news center.  In 1966, his paper was folded into the short-lived World Journal Tribune.  When that paper failed, King joined the Ridgewood (N.J.) Newspaper group in 1968 and rose to executive editor.

George King


George King (Sportswriter.  Born, Jersey City, NJ, Nov. 27, 1955.)  When Joel Sherman became the New York Post baseball columnist in 1997, George Anthony King succeeded him as the paper’s principal Yankees beat writer.  Before joining the Post, King had spent nearly 11 years with The Times in Trenton, N.J., where he had covered New York sports for three years (1986-89) before becoming the Phillies beat writer for the paper for eight seasons (1989-96).  He moved to the Post in January 1997.  King started his newspaper career with the old Daily Advance in Roxbury, N.J. (1983-85) before going to the Meridan (Conn.) Record Journal as a general assignment reporter in May 1985.  A year later, he moved to the Trenton Times.

Billie Jean King


Billie Jean King (Tennis.  Born, Long Beach, CA, Nov. 22, 1943.)  Long in the forefront of women’s tennis, Billie Jean King was a pioneer among women pro players and accomplished many significant breakthroughs for women in the sport.  She was the finest player of her day, being ranked as the U.S. No. 1 woman in 1965, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973.  She was the Associated Press Athlete of the Year in 1967 and 1973.  In 1973, she became the first woman in any sport to win $100,000 in prize money.  At Forest Hills, both as Billie Jean Moffitt and later as Billie Jean King, she won the singles in 1967, 1971, 1973 and 1974.  She won five doubles titles from 1964 through 1980 with three different partners and also won four mixed doubles titles from 1967 to 1976.  She was active in the formation of the first women’s pro circuit, the Women’s Tennis Association, in 1970, and played in virtually all of the Philip Morris-sponsored Virginia Slims events in the Garden during her career.  She was later active in World Team Tennis.  But Billie Jean King is remembered as much for her accomplishments on behalf of women’s tennis off the court as she is for the achievements on it.

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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