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

Category Archives: Promoter

Walter St.Denis

 Walter St. Denis (Sports editor.  Born, Pembroke, Ont., Mar. 19, 1877; died, New York, NY, Feb. 15, 1947.)  When boxing returned to New York as a legal sport in 1911, the Frawley Law did not permit official decisions on bouts.  Fans (and bettors) turned to newspaper experts for the determination of winners (and losers).  Of the more than dozen major dailies published in Manhattan, all offered “expert opinion” on the bouts, but Walter St. Denis, sports editor of The Globe, and Bob Edgren of the Evening World were the two the public considered authoritative.  Bookmakers paid off on their verdicts.  St. Denis came to New York in 1895, joining The Sun as a night copyboy.  He gravitated to sports, became a writer, and became The Globe sports editor in 1905, where he became famed for his boxing reporting and analysis.  When The Globe closed on June 2, 1923, St. Denis moved to The Evening Mail.  But The Mail was merged into The Evening Telegram in January 1924, leaving St. Denis out of work.  He wrote for papers in Miami, Fla., and Newark, N.J., before returning to New York in 1927 as the boxing publicist for Madison Square Garden.  In 1934, St. Denis was hired by Mike Jacobs (q.v.) as the publicity director of his 20th Century Sporting Club, then the city’s major boxing promoter.  When Jacobs took over the Garden boxing promotions, St. Denis returned to the Eighth Avenue arena.  He suffered a stroke Feb. 14, 1947, and died at Polyclinic Hospital the next day.

Cash ‘n’ Carry Pyle

Cash ‘n’ Carry Pyle (Promoter.  Born, Van Wert, OH, Mar. 15, 1882; died, Los Angeles, CA, Feb. 3, 1939.)  Easily the best-known sports promoter of the 1920s, Charles C. Pyle earned his nickname by his demands for upfront money (and a share of the team) while representing Red Grange in contract negotiations with the Chicago Bears.  Grange was football’s biggest star in 1925, the height of the so-called “Golden Age of Sports.”  His spectacular feats at Illinois made the exciting Grange a huge box-office star, a point proven by his late-season tour with the Bears in the closing weeks of the 1925 N.F.L. race.  When the Bears decided not to accede to Pyle’s demands, he determined to start his own pro league with Grange as the drawing card.  Thus, the first American Football League was born in 1926 with Grange as the headliner for the Yankees based in Yankee Stadium.  The A.F.L. folded after one season but Pyle got the Yankees into the N.F.L. in 1927.  After releasing Grange to Chicago following that season, Pyle returned the franchise to the N.F.L. in 1929.  (It was reissued to the Stapleton Athletic Club, bringing Staten Island into the N.F.L.)  By then, Pyle had turned his attention to other promotions, including the fabled “Bunion Derby,” in which contestants walked from New York to California amid great publicity.  In 1926, he promoted the first national indoor pro tennis tour, starring French champion Suzanne Lenglen.  But the end of the flamboyant 1920s was also the end of Pyle’s major role in sports.

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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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