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

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Lindsey Nelson

Lindsey Nelson (Born, Brownlow Creek, TN, May 25, 1919; died, Atlanta, GA, June 10, 1995.) earned his national reputation broadcasting college football.  In fact, only once in a span of 35 years did he miss having a bowl game assignment on New Year’s Day.  That year was 1969.  That season, Lindsey Nelson was the principal voice for one of the most exciting continuing events in New York sports history – the Mets’ run for the National League pennant and their subsequent startling victory over Baltimore in a five-game World Series.  Nelson began his play-by-play baseball career in New York when the Mets were born in 1962 and was the lead announcer (with Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner) on both radio and television for 17 seasons.  During his tenure, the Mets won two pennants (1969 and 1973) and one World Series (1969), carrying the other Series to seven games against the Oakland Athletics.  His network college football career began with the old Liberty Network in 1951 and ultimately led to 21 years of football (college and pro) for CBS, 12 years for NBC and even a few games for ABC-TV.  Added to that was LBS, Mutual and CBS on radio.  However, New York fans will always best remember him for the years with the Mets when “Hello, everybody, I’m Lindsey Nelson,” opened some 2,700 Mets games on radio and television.  Nelson subsequently did three years of broadcasts for the San Francisco Giants and five years of network weekly games for NBC.  But his bright plaid jackets and soft drawl remain a part of Mets lore.

Edward J. Neil

Edward J. Neil (Sportswriter.  Born, Methuen, MA, Jan. 17, 1900; died, Saragossa, Spain, Jan. 2, 1938.)  A former football player and track weightman at Bowdoin College, Edward Joseph Neil, Jr., joined The Associated Press in Boston after graduation.  Neil was transferred to Baltimore and came to New York in 1926 as a sportswriter.  He was a specialist in boxing, which in those days was a six-nights-a-week beat.  He built a national reputation as a fight writer but also covered other events such as the 1932 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, N.Y.  In 1936, Neil went to Europe to cover events there, including the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, the coronation of Britain’s King George VI, and the Arab uprising in Palestine.  In May 1937, Neil went to Spain to cover the civil war there.  On New Year’s Eve, a government shell exploded in front of a parked car in the village of Caudete, in which four war correspondents were seated.  Two were Americans (Neil and Bradish Johnson) and two British (Hal Philby and Richard Sheepshanks).  Johnson was killed immediately, Sheepshanks died shortly thereafter, and Neil was rushed to a hospital in Saragossa, where he lasted two days.  The New York Boxing Writers annually present the Edward J. Neil Award for contributions to boxing.  The first winner was former heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey in 1938.

Art Nehf

Art Nehf (Baseball.  Born, Terre Haute, IN, July 31, 1892; died, Phoenix, AZ, Dec. 18, 1960.)  On Aug. 11, 1919, the Giants sent four players and an estimated $50,000 to the Boston Braves for lefthander Art Nehf in the season’s most sensational baseball trade.  Nehf first came to public notice while at Rose Polytechnic Institute, where he also played football.  On Aug. 5, 1915, Nehf joined Boston, where was 17-8 in 1917 but slipped to 15-15 the following year and 8-9 in 1919 before being dealt to the Giants.  Though the deal was controversial when made, it helped the Giants win four pennants and two World Series.  Nehf pitched the Giants into the 1919 race by going 9-2 after the trade, was 21-12 in 1920, and 20-10 for the 1921 world champions.  Overall, he was 107-60 for the Giants before being sent to Cincinnati early in the 1926 season.  He pitched a four-hit 1-0 victory in the eighth (and final) game of the 1921 Series, won by the Giants over the Yankees, five games to three.  With the Series reverting to a best-of-seven format, he threw a five-hitter to win the clincher in 1922.  The following year, Nehf won the third game, 1-0, on Casey Stengel’s homer.  But he lost the decisive game and gave up a homer to Babe Ruth as the Yankees won their first world championship.  Nehf was 4-4 in five Series starts, including a 12-inning, complete game 4-3 victory over Walter Johnson and Washington in the 1924 opener.  Nehf also briefly appeared in the 1929 Series for the Chicago Cubs.  He was 194-120 in his career with a 3.20 e.r.a., recording 182 complete games in 319 starts.  Nehf made 132 relief appearances, too.

Bob Naso

Bob Naso (College football, lacrosse.  Born, Garden City Park, NY, Sept. 11, 1937.)  A successful lacrosse coach at Rutgers, Robert J. Naso was much less successful with Columbia football.  Naso became Columbia’s 13th head coach Dec. 18, 1979, but his five seasons (1980-84) produced a dismal 4-43-2 record.  His teams never won more than one game in any season and went 0-9 in 1984.  At Rutgers, Naso was a football center (1956-58) and played lacrosse (1957-59).  As head lacrosse coach there (1962-74), he was 95-59-1.

Joe Namath

Joe Namath (Pro football.  Born, Beaver Falls, PA, May 31, 1943.)  During his collegiate career at the University of Alabama (under the legendary Bear Bryant), Joseph Alexander Namath quarterbacked teams that lost only three games in three years.  His Alabama teams played in three Bowl games.  In 1965, Namath became one of the most celebrated names in American sports before ever playing a single pro game when Sonny Werblin signed him to a contract with the New York Jets of the American Football League for a then unheard-of $427,000.  In 12 years with the Jets, the flamboyant Namath, despite knee and other injuries, passed for 27,057 yards and 170 touchdowns.  His most spectacular seasons came in 1966 and 1967.  He completed 232 passes for 3,379 yards in 1966 and the next season completed 258 for 4,007 yards, leading all pro football in both categories both seasons.  He threw for 26 touchdowns in 14 games in 1967.  His best was yet to come.  He blazed himself into the sports consciousness of America in 1969 when he “guaranteed” that the Jets would beat the heavily-favored N.F.L. champion Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III – and Joe Willie Namath (and the Jets) delivered, 16-7.

Boris Nachamkin

Boris Nachamkin (College basketball.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Dec. 6, 1933.)  A lanky 6’6” from Brooklyn’s Thomas Jefferson, Boris Alexander Nachamkin set a then-record at N.Y.U. with 437 points in 1952-53 (in 20 games), averaging 21.8 per game.  He also set Violets records for points (1,091) and rebounds (844) in his three-year career of only 63 games, surpassing Sid Tanenbaum’s (1944-47) 1,074.  His teams were just 20-20 in his junior and senior years.  Nachamkin had a brief N.B.A. career (six games) with Rochester Royals.

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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