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

Category Archives: L

Sid Luckman


Sid Luckman (College football. Born, Brooklyn, NY, Nov. 21, 1916; died, Chicago, IL, July 5, 1998.) Sid Luckman was a most unusual football star. He was a great high school player at Brooklyn’s Erasmus Hall, but opted not to attend any of the high-powered colleges that tried to recruit him. Instead, Luckman decided he wanted to stay home and he chose Columbia. Luckman met Columbia’s famed coach, Lou Little, when Sid walked on the practice field and introduced himself. The rest is history and an impressive history it was for Luckman and Columbia. He was the Lions’ star quarterback for three seasons, but played mostly with losing teams that compiled a 10-14-2 record. In Luckman’s senior year, Columbia was only 3-6, but Luckman nearly single-handedly was responsible for wins over Yale 27-14; Army, 20-18; and Virginia, 39-0. Despite the losing season, Luckman finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting. Wily George Halas of the Chicago Bears saw the talent and he made a deal with Pittsburgh to acquire the rights to Luckman. Luckman then became one of the first great T-formation quarterbacks and the field general for the Bears’ “Monsters of the Midway” teams in the 1940s and 1950s. He sparked the Bears to three N.F.L. championships, including the memorable 73-0 rout of the Washington Redskins in the 1940 title game and a 24-14 win over the Giants at the Polo Grounds in 1946.

Ron Luciano


Ron Luciano (Baseball. Born, Endicott, NY, June 28, 1937; died, Endicott, NY, Jan. 18, 1995.) Easily the most flamboyant umpire of his time, Ronald Michael Luciano was also an outstanding football player. Luciano made some all-America teams as a tackle for Syracuse U. and spent two seasons in the N.F.L. with Detroit. He began umpiring in 1964 and made the A.L. in 1969. Luciano was often entertaining with his call, repeatedly pointing his hand at the bag for an out call or raising both arms and then turning and pointing into foul ground on a close fair-foul call. He retired after the 1980 season, having worked the 1973 All-Star game, three A.L. championship series, and the 1974 World Series. Luciano subsequently produced two books about his umpiring experiences but ultimately committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in his garage.

William Lowell


William Lowell (Golf. Born, Hoboken, NJ, Oct. 1, 1862; died, East Orange, NJ, June 23, 1954.) Switching from tennis to golf at age 60, Dr. William Lowell, a dentist in Maplewood, N.J., shortly made a great contribution to his new recreation. Lowell disliked the sand mounds used for the initial shots at each hole. So he invented the golf tee. The little wooden sharpened pegs were known as “Reddy Tees” because of their red painted color. Most golfers eschewed Lowell’s 1923 creation until he paid famed pros Walter Hagen and Joey Kirkwood to use them. Once they became popular, he prospered and tee use became universal. Lowell later lost an extended court case on the patent of the tee and also lost most of his personal fortune.

Don Lourie


Don Lourie (College football. Born, Decatur, AL, Aug. 22, 1899; died, Longwood, FL, Jan. 15, 1990.) Quarterbacking the Princeton varsity for two seasons (1919-20), Donald Bradford Lourie was First Team all-America in 1920 on a team that featured Notre Dame’s George Gipp. Lourie later became the chairman and chief executive officer of Quaker Oats.

Joe Louis


Joe Louis (Boxing. Born, Lafayette, AL, May 13, 1914; died, Las Vegas, NV, Apr. 12, 1981.) Famed around the world as the “Brown Bomber,” Joseph Louis Barrow was one of the most active of heavyweight champions – making 25 defenses of the title. He turned pro after becoming the A.A.U. light heavyweight titlist in 1934 and won the heavyweight title June 22, 1937, knocking out Jim Braddock in eight rounds in Chicago. Over his career, Louis was 21-1 in New York fights and was 11-0 in title defenses held here. He fought seven times in Yankee Stadium, twice in the Polo Grounds, and from 1938-47 was 8-0 with seven knockouts in Madison Square Garden. His rematch with Billy Conn at Yankee Stadium in 1946, promoted by Mike Jacobs, was the first ever $100-per-ticket ringside fight. Many of Louis’ defenses came under the heading of “the Bum-of-the-Month Club,” but he also fought many famous fights against the best heavyweights in the world, including Max Schmeling (1938) and Jersey Joe Walcott (1947 and 1948). Louis lost four years of his career when he joined the U.S. Army in 1942. He did not fight again until June 19, 1946, when he kayoed Conn in eight rounds in that rematch at the Stadium.

Kevin Loughery


Kevin Loughery (Pro basketball. Born, Brooklyn, NY, March 28, 1940.) Playing two years at St. John’s (1960-62) as a transfer from Boston College, Kevin Loughery had an 11-year career (principally with the Baltimore Bullets) in the N.B.A. He averaged 15.3 points per game as a guard in 755 N.B.A. games but earned his greatest notice as coach of the New York Nets’ A.B.A. championship teams in 1974 and 1976. Loughery became the Nets coach before the 1973-74 season and the club posted its best record ever up to that time (55-29) before a 12-2 playoff run produced the first A.B.A. title. A shocking first-round playoff loss followed the record-setting 1974-75 season (58-26), but, despite a second-place finish in the seven-team league the next year, the Nets won their second championship in the A.B.A.’s final year. After the Nets joined the N.B.A. in the summer of 1976, Loughery continued as coach through four dismal seasons, resigning 35 games into the 1980-81 season. He quit in mid-December 1980, after a 12-23 start with an overall 297-318 record with the Nets (168-84 in three A.B.A. seasons and 129-234 in five N.B.A. years).

John Lorch


John Lorch (College basketball. Born, Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY, Oct. 9, 1903; died, Chicago, IL, Dec. 4, 1995.) A forward who blossomed as a star with Columbia’s 1925-26 E.I.B.L. champions (9-1), John Thomas Lorch led the league in scoring as a senior in 1926-27 (7.4 points per game). Lorch was an all-league First Team choice in his senior year and later became a prominent Chicago attorney.

Felipe Lopez


Felipe Lopez (College basketball. Born, Santo Domingo, D.R., Dec. 19, 1974.) Coming out of Rice H.S., Luis Felipe Lopez created great excitement in New York’s growing Dominican community by electing to go to St. John’s. There were those who felt that Lopez never lived up to his promise with the Red Storm, yet he finished his four-year career (1994-98) as the school’s third-best all-time scorer with 1,927 points in 114 games (16.9 points per game). Throughout, he was a marvel of consistency, with seasonal scoring averages ranging from 17.8 as a freshman to a low of 15.9 in his junior year. Lopez was the first-round choice of San Antonio in the 1998 N.B.A. draft but was traded to Vancouver on draft day (June 24, 1998). Oddly, the best single game of his St. John’s career was 35 points in his freshman year in a loss at Syracuse (Jan. 17, 1995).  In four N.B.A. seasons (249 games, 80 starts) with three teams, he averaged 5.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.

Eddie Lopat


Eddie Lopat (Baseball. Born, New York, NY, June 21, 1918; died, Darien, CT, June 15, 1992.) At the heart of the pitching staff for the Yankees team that won five straight World Series (1949-53) was lefthander Edmund Walter Lopatynski. Lopat was the ideal pitcher to drop between hard-throwing righthanders Allie Reynolds and Vic Raschi. He was not only a lefty but he was the classic “junkball’ pitcher, relying on an assortment of curves and changeups. Lopat was acquired from the White Sox (Feb. 24, 1948) for lefty Bill Wight, righty Fred Bradley, and catcher Aaron Robinson. It was an outstanding deal for New York since Lopat was 113-59 for the Yankees from 1948-55, while Bradley never pitched in the majors, Wight was 9-20 for Chicago in 1948, and Robinson hit .252 in one season there before being shipped to Detroit. Lopat’s best years were 1951 (21-9), when he was an A.L. All-Star, and 1953 (16-4), when he led the league in winning percentage. He was also 4-1 in seven World Series starts, including 2-0 in 1951, when he allowed one run in 18 innings against the Giants.

Dale Long


Dale Long (Baseball. Born, Springfield, MO, Feb. 6, 1926; died, Palm Coast, FL, Jan. 27, 1991.) Richard Dale Long, who set a big league record (later tied by Don Mattingly and Ken Griffey, Jr.) by hitting homers in eight straight games for Pittsburgh in 1956, played 81 games for the Yankees in his 10-year career. A lefthanded-hitting first baseman, Long played 26 games at the end of the 1960 season for the Yankees and another 55 spread over 1962 and 1963, the last season of his career. In those 81 games, he hit .307 with seven homers as a backup first baseman and pinch-hitter.

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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