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

Category Archives: Sportswriter

Bill Wallace

Bill Wallace (Sportswriter.  Born, Washington, DC, Apr. 29, 1924.)  In a career that spanned over a half-century, William Noble Wallace wrote sports for three major New York newspapers.  Wallace, fresh out of Yale, started at the World-Telegram as a yachting writer in March 1949.  He moved to the Herald Tribune in 1957, initially for the same beat, but in 1959 succeeded Bill Seward as the chief pro football writer.  A prolonged strike hit the major papers in 1962-63 and, at its end, Wallace moved to The New York Times, where he continued covering the Football Giants.  Over his years at The Times, his vistas continued to expand, as he began to cover a wide range of events, including skiing, college sports, and sailing.  Wallace went on a semi-retired status, where he was able to concentrate on producing weekly roundups of various sports such as college hockey.  He proved to be among the most versatile writers of his generation.  Wallace was also one of the most durable.  His byline appeared in The Times (on Fordham football star Harry Jacunski’s obituary) on Feb. 22, 2003, nearly 54 years after he walked into sports editor Joe Val’s office at the World-Telegram on Barclay St. and was hired on the spot.

Ben Walker

Ben Walker (Sportswriter.  Born, Washington, DC, Oct. 8, 1957.)  A bulwark of The Associated Press coverage for over two decades, Benjamin Staud Walker has covered every World Series game since 1983 and every baseball All-Star Game since 1984.  Walker joined the A.P. in 1980 in Albany, N.Y., out of Syracuse U.  He moved to the A.P.’s Philadelphia bureau in 1981 and the next year came to New York sports.  Walker was named baseball editor in 1987 and, in addition to doing Yankees and Mets regular season games, covers Division Series and League Championship Series games annually.  He is also responsible for pre-season and spring training coverage.  Though primarily a baseball writer, Walker covers other sports, including the Westminster Kennel Club dog show at the Garden, and wrote the main lead for the A.P. on the B.C.S. championship game between L.S.U. and Oklahoma Jan. 3, 2004, at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La.  In December 2004, he became the A.P.’s deputy sports editor.

Dave Waldstein

Dave Waldstein  (Sportswriter.  Born, Boston, MA, Dec. 28, 1962.)  After a couple of different roles with the Boston Herald and a two-year tour with a magazine, David Waldstein joined the Post in 1991, where he eventually became the lead reporter on the Mets beat.  Waldstein moved to the Star-Ledger in 2000, where he continued covering the Mets and other National League baseball.  Two years later, he moved to the Knicks beat, and also covered U.S. Open tennis.  Waldstein was an agate clerk for the Herald (1987-88) and a production assistant for 7 Days magazine while pursuing a freelance writing career.  He covered the 1990 World Cup soccer championship for the Herald as a freelancer.

Richards Vidmer

Richards Vidmer (Sportswriter.  Born, Fort Riley, KS, Oct. 7, 1898; died, Calloway, KY, July 23, 1978.)  As much an athlete as a sportswriter, Richards Vidmer was more of an unorthodox character than anything.  Son of a U.S. Army cavalry officer, Vidmer was headed to West Point from St. Luke’s School in Wayne, Penna., in 1917, but joined the U.S. Army Flying Corps instead and served in World War I.  He then became a football and baseball player at George Washington U. and, in 1922, a football coach.  Vidmer began his sportswriting career in Washington, D.C., with Hearst’s Herald, spent two years as sports editor of the Daily News there, and, in 1926, came to New York, joining The Times’s sports staff.  In 1932, he moved to the Herald Tribune after a brief stint on The Morning Telegraph.  Vidmer wrote a column entitled Down in Front at the Herald Tribune and was a jack-of-all-trades writer, covering boxing, football, crew, polo, tennis, golf, baseball, and track and field.  He enlisted in the Army in 1942, was shipped to England with the Eighth Air Force, eventually wound up in intelligence, served on Gen. Eisenhower’s staff, and, in 1944, was wounded by a Nazi sniper in France.  Following the end of World War II, he married the daughter of the Rajah of Sarawak, was a golf pro in Barbados, and, for a time, a foreign correspondent in Europe for the Herald Tribune.

Bill Verigan

Bill Verigan (Sportswriter.  Born, Orlando, FL, Jan. 27, 1942.)  On Mar. 10, 1967, William Ford Verigan was covering ringside for U.P.I. at the third Garden when Ismael Laguna, the former lightweight champion, decisioned Frankie Narvaez in 12 rounds.  Then a riot broke out.  Verigan was struck in the head by a bottle heaved from the balcony by a disappointed Narvaez partisan.  Jose Torres and his trainer came to Verigan’s aid while the riot raged and they wrapped cold towels around his wounds to stanch the bleeding as he hammered out his story.  Later, he was stitched up by the Garden medical staff.  Verigan was with U.P.I., then a major wire service, for seven years (1964-71), mainly as a boxing and auto racing writer.  It was as a specialist in those areas that he went to the Daily News.  In 1975, he was assigned to the Jets, moved to the Football Giants for seven years (1979-86), and then covered the Devils starting in 1987.  Verigan continued to cover boxing, including many Muhammad Ali fights, as well as auto racing, baseball, and some tennis.  After leaving the Daily News in 1993, he spent many years working the desk part-time for the scholastic bureau of the Star-Ledger of Newark.

Tom Verducci

Tom Verducci (Sportswriter.  Born, Glen Ridge, NJ, Oct. 23, 1960.)  As a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, Thomas Matthew Verducci has become the weekly magazine’s leading baseball authority and has authored numerous exclusive stories.  Verducci began his newspaper career fresh out of Penn State, joining Today in Cocoa, Fla., as a writer and editor in June 1982.  He moved to Newsday a year later, becoming a regular baseball writer, primarily covering the Yankees.  A skilled writer and perceptive observer, Verducci covered Yankees teams that were below championship caliber, but he also became part of the Newsday team that covered the Mets 1980s champions.  He moved to Sports Illustrated in March 1993.

Juan Vene

Juan Vene (Sportswriter.  Born, Caracas, Venezuela, Jan. 10, 1929.)  A veritable one-man army in Spanish-language baseball reporting, Juan Vene has been a broadcaster, author, sportswriter, columnist, and producer.  Vene was born Jose Rafael Machado Yanes and began his career as a reporter for Noticias Graficas in Maracaibo, Venezuela.  He decided to study journalism and graduated from the U. of Havana (Cuba) in 1952.  Vene has now covered every World Series since 1960 as a reporter or radio-television commentator.  He has authored or co-authored seven books in Spanish, including two on the World Series and one on auto racing.  But Vene has concentrated almost exclusively on baseball.  His column has appeared, at various times, in New York dailies El Diario, Hoy, and Noticias del Mundo.  Vene organized a radio production that broadcast major league play-by-play from 1969-86 to Latin America.  He worked with MLB Productions to create Spanish-language versions of such popular television progrrams as “This Week in Baseball” (1977-92) and was the Spanish baseball correspondent for Voice of America (1976-86).  In 1993, Vene started a weekly program on two networks and nine local stations in Venezuela during the baseball season in that country (October to February).  He has won many awards for his work, including presentations from former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, New York City Mayor Ed Koch, and Congressman Jose Serrano of New York.

George Vecsey

George Vecsey (Sportswriter.  Born, Jamaica, NY, July 4, 1939.)  Starting as a part-timer handling high school sports at Newsday in 1956, George Spencer Vecsey progressed to a columnist for The New York Times.  Shortly before graduating from Hofstra (where he majored in English), Vecsey became a full-time sportswriter at Newsday in February 1960.  He rapidly progressed to college sports and by 1962 covered the fledgling Mets.  In 1968, Vecsey moved to The Times, handling mainly college basketball and major league baseball.  Over the next 14 years, he wrote about many subjects for The Times besides sports, but, in 1982, joined the roster of regular “Sports of The Times” columnists.  Vecsey’s father, George, sports editor of the old Long Island Press in the 1930s, was dismissed for trying to organize editorial employees for the then-new Newspaper Guild, and subsequently worked at the Daily News and The Associated Press.  Vecsey’s brother, Peter, is the noted N.B.A. columnist for the New York Post.  Vecsey was awarded an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters by Hofstra in 1990.

Mike Vaccaro

Mike Vaccaro (Sportswriter.  Born, Flushing, NY, Jan. 1, 1967.)  For Michael Francis Vaccaro, Jr., the trip from Queens to becoming the lead sports columnist at the Post passed through five newspapers in four states.  A facile writer with a deep knowledge of sports history and a intelligent fan’s perspective, Vaccaro came to the Post in November 2002 after more than four years at the Newark Star-Ledger.  He started at the Times-Herald in Olean, N.Y., shortly after graduating from St. Bonaventure in that city in 1989.  In June 1991, Vaccaro went to the Northwest Arkansas Times of Fayetteville (Ark.) and moved to the Times Herald Record of Middletown, N.Y., in October 1993.  He subsequently joined the Kansas City (Mo.) Star in June 1997.  Vaccaro was a sports features writer and columnist there before going to the Star-Ledger as the national baseball writer in June 1998.  He became a columnist for the Star-Ledger in February 1999 and handled that assignment for nearly 40 months before assuming his position at the Post.  He also has written several acclaimed books, including 1941:  The Greatest Year in Sports, Emperors and Idiots (about the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry), and The First Fall Classic, about the eight-game Red Sox-Giants World Series of 1912.

Mike Tully

Mike Tully (Sportswriter.  Born, Passaic, NJ, Sept. 11, 1951.)  Michael T. Tully was a U.P.I. sports staffer for nearly 14 years (1977-91), during which time he was attached to the wire service’s baseball central operation.  Tully covered not only local New York teams but also post-season, World Series, and All-Star Games.  He was also later a U.P.I. national baseball writer and subsequently was with The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., in general news.

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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