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The 4 Kings

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  • The 4 Kings

    One of the reasons why Brooklyn developed such an intense bonding with its baseball team were the 4 Kings.

    Once upon a time, in the Borough of Brooklyn, were 4 newspapers, and each had a sports editor that was beyond excellent. They were called The 4 Kings by Charles Ebbets, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers. They were most competive with each other, in making their sports sections the pride of the Borough.

    And the quality of their work could be gleaned from the intensity with which its fans bonded with their team. Through thick and thin, lean days and fat, the fans loved and supported their Trolly-Dodgers, then simply, their Bums.

    Here then is the story of The 4 Kings.

    Abe Yager - Brooklyn Eagle sports editor - 1896-1930
    Len Wooster - Brooklyn Times sports editor - 1898 - 1938
    Bill Granger - Brooklyn Citizen sports editor, 1903 - 1945
    Bill Rafter - Brooklyn Standard-Union sports editor, 1900 - 1926
    Sporting News' article, June 12, 1941, pp. 6, col. 2-5, by Clinton H. Hoard.
    'Four Kings' Who Ruled as Rival Sports Editors,
    Founded Royal Regime of Loyal Dodger Fandom

    Attached Files
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 05-03-2009, 07:04 PM.

  • #2
    The 4 Kings

    Abraham (Abe) Yager:

    Born: July 13, 1870, Brooklyn, NY
    Died: August 22, 1930, New York City, NY, age 60,--d. Jewish Hosp. of cancer. Had been ill several months and hoarse in throat

    Brooklyn sports writer / sports editor; Jewish
    Brooklyn Eagle, 1885 - 1930; sports editor, 1896 - 1930.
    Official scorer of Brooklyn home games for 30 years.

    Sporting News' article, June 12, 1941, pp. 6, col. 2-5.
    'Four Kings' Who Ruled as Rival Sports Editors,
    Founded Royal Regime of Loyal Dodger Fandom

    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 05-03-2009, 07:04 PM.


    • #3
      The 4 Kings

      William James Granger

      Born: February 9, 1877, Brooklyn, NY
      Died: January 17, 1945, Kew Gardens, NY, age 67

      Brooklyn sports editor;
      The Brooklyn Eagle composing room, 1892 - 1897
      Worked for father in commercial work,
      New York Morning Journal,
      Brooklyn Citizen sports editor, 1903 - 1945
      He began to write baseball around 1900.

      : Sporting News' 1939 Interview

      Bill Granger (Sports editor. Born, Brooklyn, Feb. 9, 1877; died, Kew Gardens, Queens, Jan. 17, 1945.) As a callow youth, he spent much of his time supporting himself as a bowling hustler, but William J. Granger wound up as sports editor of the Brooklyn Citizen for more than half of the paper’s 61-year existence. Granger worked for the Brooklyn Eagle for two years (1900-02), doing mostly non-editorial work while pursuing his bowling avocation. In early 1902, he was hired by Major Wheeler, the Citizen’s sports editor, as the paper’s bowling editor. This move not only saved Granger’s victims money but attracted his fellow keglers as readers. Granger succeeded Wheeler as sports editor in 1907, promptly improved the Citizen’s baseball coverage, and was one of the six original organizers of the B.B.W.A.A. in 1908. He added baseball writer Clinton Hoard to the staff and began to expand coverage of other sports. Granger was chairman of the Brooklyn B.B.W.A.A. chapter three times (1922-23, 1933-34, 1942-43). The Citizen closed on Aug. 29, 1947. (The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel.)

      Sporting News' article, June 12, 1941, pp. 6, column 2-5.
      'Four Kings' Who Ruled as Rival Sports Editors,
      Founded Royal Regime of Loyal Dodger Fandom

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------Sporting News' obituary, January 25, 1945, pp. 17, column 4.

      New York Times' obituary, January 18, 1945, pp. 19.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-11-2012, 09:31 PM.


      • #4
        The 4 Kings

        Leonard Frederick Wooster:

        Born: February 26, 1875, Brooklyn, NY
        Died: May 25, 1958, Merrick, NY, age 83

        Brooklyn sports writer / sports editor;
        Started as errand boy on the Brooklyn Times in 1889.
        He evolved through copy boy in editorial dept. to religious editor, general reporter, baseball writer (1909),
        and finally sports editor Brooklyn Times-Union, 1898 - 1938.

        Sporting News' article, June 12, 1941, pp. 6, col. 2-5.
        'Four Kings' Who Ruled as Rival Sports Editors,-----------------------------Sporting News' obituary----------New York Times' obituary
        Founded Royal Regime of Loyal Dodger Fandom-------------------------June 4, 1958, pp. 34, column 4.---------May 27, 1958, pp. 31.

        Last edited by Bill Burgess; 07-24-2009, 07:21 PM.


        • #5
          The 4 Kings

          William Arthur (Bill) Rafter:

          Born: September 1, 1875, Rhinecliff, NY
          Died: February 13, 1926, Brooklyn, NY, age 47,---d. At home, when cold turned into pneumonia within a week

          Brooklyn sports editor;
          Brooklyn Standard-Union sports editor, 1900 - 1926
          official scorer of Brooklyn Baseball team,
          Lodge 22 of the Elks, member of Press club.

          --------------------------------------------------------------------New York Times' obituary, February 14, 1926, pp. 28.

          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 07-17-2009, 06:07 PM.


          • #6
            But there were many others too, besides just the 4 Kings. They couldn't have done it without their staffs of sports writers. Here are a few worthy of commendation.
            Thomas Stevens Rice:

            Born: February 21, 1878, Baltimore, MD
            Died: February 4, 1942, Brooklyn, NY, age 63,

            Baltimore / Washington / Brooklyn sports writer:
            Baltimore Sun, 1899 - 1903
            Washington Times, 1903- 1910
            Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 29, 1911 - 1929

            Left baseball to devote himself to crime & general law.
            Graduated Baltimore City College (1897), University of Maryland law school (1899),
            Admitted Maryland bar 1899, Member of New York State Crime Commission (1926-31).

            New York Herald-Tribune--------------------------------------------New York Times' Obituary
            Obituary, February 15, 1942----------------------------------------February 15, 1942, pp. 44.

            Who Was Who in America, Volume 2

            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 04-24-2009, 03:26 PM.


            • #7
              Harold Cooper Burr

              Born: June 11, 1884, Orange, NJ
              Died: July 6, 1955, New York City, NY, age 71

              Brooklyn sports writer;
              Wall St. broker's clerk.
              Reviewed books for New York World, 1920
              Brooklyn Eagle sports writer, 1920 - 1935, 1944 - 1954, covered Dodgers,
              New York Evening Post, traveled w/Yankees, 1935 - 1944
              New York Daily Mirror, ? - 1944, Sporting News' correspondent.

              Sporting News' obituary, July 13, 1955, pp. 48.-------------------------New York Times' obituary, July 7, 1955, pp. 27.
              Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-11-2012, 09:26 PM.


              • #8
                Louis Niss---AKA Lou Niss

                Born: October 5, 1903, Minsk, Russia
                Died: April 30, 1987, Eastchester, NY, age 82

                Brooklyn / New York sports writer:
                Brooklyn Times-Union, 1923-37
                Brooklyn Eagle, assistant sports editor, 1937-1941, sports editor, 1941-1955.
                New York Mets, Public Relations, 1960 - 1962, Traveling Secretery, 1962 - 1980.
                Dave Anderson of the New York Times was one of the reporters he trained.

                The last sports editor of the Brooklyn Eagle, Louis Niss was also the first front-office employee hired by the Mets, in 1960. Niss began his newspaper career in 1923 wirh the Brooklyn Times and worked his way through a series of mergers that ultimately reduced four Brooklyn dailies to zero. The Times absorbed the Standard Union to become the Times Union and then, in 1937, the paper was sold to the Eagle. In 1941, Niss became the Eagle sports editor, succeeding Jimmy Wood. (The other principal Brooklyn daily, the Citizen, closed in 1947.) When the Eagle folded in 1955 during a strike, Niss did publicity for Yonkers Raceway for three years (1955-58) and then joined Branch Rickey’s projected third major league, the Continental League. When the league forced expansion in the A.L. and N.L., Niss was hired by the Mets, initially as a publicist. Starting in 1962, however, Niss spent 19 seasons (through 1980) as the team’s traveling secretary. While with the Eagle, he served as chairman of the B.B.W.A.A. Brooklyn chapter several times, the first in 1944-45.

                ------------------------------------------------------------New York Times' obituary, May 1, 1987, pp. D21.
                Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-11-2012, 09:25 PM.


                • #9
                  William Joseph McCullough---AKA Bill McCullough---His age and middle name are confirmed by the WWI Civilian Draft Registration.

                  Born: June 5, 1900, Philadelphia, PA
                  Died: August 6, 1954, Brooklyn, NY, age 54,---d. King's County Hospital

                  Brooklyn sports writer;
                  Went to grammar school And Brown Prep School & Girard College (all in Philadelphia, PA.)
                  Lived Philadelphia (September 18, 1918 WWI Civilian Draft Registration)
                  Entered St. John's Preparatory School in Brooklyn, 1920.
                  Fordham University (Bronx, NY), St. John's College (Bronx, NY);
                  Brooklyn Standard-Union, 1928
                  Brooklyn Times, 1929
                  Brooklyn Times-Union, 1929-37
                  Brooklyn Eagle, 1937 - ?

                  Father: William McCullough, born 1879; Mother: Catharine McGahey McCullough, born 1880;

                  William J. (Bill) McCullough, who covered the Dodgers for many years, died at Kings County Hospital in New York City, August 6. He was 54.
                  An outstanding basketball player at St. John's Prep in his youth, McCullough covered the Dodgers for the Brooklyn Times, the Times-Union and later for the Eagle, after that paper took over the Times-Union in January, 1937.
                  Bill probably is best remembered for a crack he made during a game at the Polo Grounds some years ago. When a dispute arose over whether a pitch had been a ball or strike, McCullough, a rabid Brooklyn rooter, chirped up with:

                  "In fairness to both sides, it was right down the middle."
                  In recent years McCullough has been research aid to Jimmy Powers, sports editor of the Daliy News.

                  Sporting News, August 18, 1954
                  McCullough was actually 54 years old at death. He entered Girard College for Boys on January 28, 1910 along with his brother Richard Anthony McCullough. The boys lost their mother in April 1909 and their father could no longer care for them. William McCullough left Girard Collage December 12, 1917. Married to Gladys Walsh in Bellaire, Maryland, February 20, 1933. Brother of Peter and Richard Anthony McCullough. Grandson of Peter McGahey and Margaret 'Maggie' (Lockery) McGahey.

                  Attended Girard College in Philadelphia Pennsylvania (orhpanage for homeless boys), St John's Prep and Fordham University. Known to his family as "Willie".

                  New York Times' Obituary
                  August 8, 1954, pp. 85.-----------Photo/Entry in Who's Who in Major League Baseball, edited by Harold 'Speed' Johnson, 1933, pp. 496.----Sporting News' obituary, August 18, 1954, pp. 42.

                  Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-11-2012, 09:24 PM.


                  • #10
                    Thomas Holmes---AKA Tommy Holmes

                    Born: November 5, 1903, Brooklyn, NY
                    Died: March 25, 1975, Brooklyn, NY, age 71

                    Brooklyn/New York sports writer;
                    Brooklyn Eagle, October, 1926, - 1956, mostly covered the Dodgers,
                    New York Herald-Tribune, 1956 - 1966, mostly covered the Dodgers, until they left town for Los Angeles, CA.

                    The Dodgers, 1975.
                    Tommy Holmes and Bob Broeg were the recipients of the 1979 J.G. Taylor Spink Award.

                    Red Smith described Holmes as "the best baseball writer of his time, possibly of all time." As evidenced in his bright and sprightly writing style, Holmes' personality was sensitive but unassuming, honest yet unpretentious, witty and intelligent.

                    A thorough student of the game, Holmes covered the Brooklyn Dodgers for the Brooklyn Eagle and for the New York Herald-Tribune from 1924 until the club's move to Los Angeles. He was an acutely perceptive and observant writer who employed a direct and simple style.

                    Holmes, a splendid historian, authored a pair of books on the Dodgers as well as Baseball's Best with Tom Meany.

                    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Sporting News' Obituary,
                    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------April 12, 1975, pp. 62, column 3-4.

                    March 4, 1959: New York sports writers in St. Petersburg, FL.
                    Top Row, L-R: Stan Isaacs, Dan Daniel, Tommy Holmes, Bill Dougerty, Len Schecter, Jim Ogle.

                    Bottom Row, L-R: John Drebinger, Jack Lang, Casey Stengel, Joe Trimble, Ken Smith, Til Ferdenzi.
                    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 01-31-2013, 09:11 AM.


                    • #11
                      Harold Francis Parrott

                      Born: January 10, 1909, Brooklyn, NY
                      Died: July 30, 1987, Palm Desert, CA, age 78

                      Brooklyn sports writer/Ticket Director for Dodgers, Angels, Pilots, Padres
                      Graduated St. John's University (Queens, NY), 1927
                      Brooklyn Eagle, 1931-43
                      Brooklyn Dodgers' traveling secretary, January 1, 1944 - 1958
                      Director of Dodgers' ticket sales, 1958 - 1963
                      Director of California Angels' ticket sales, February, 1964 - 1968
                      Director of Seattle Pilots' ticket sales, 1968 - April 16, 1969
                      Director of San Diego Padres' ticket sales, July 19, 1969 - December, 1969.
                      Executive Manager of Pacific Northwest Tennis Association, 1976

                      The Lords of Baseball: A Wry Look at a Side of the Game the Fans Seldom See-the Front Office, 1976

                      Sporting News' obituary
                      August 17, 1987, pp. 53, column 2.

                      -----------------------------------1988 Baseball Guide obituary-----------New York Times' obituary, July 31, 1987, pp. B14.


                      ----------Around 1932: Inset photo, around 1976.

                      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-11-2012, 09:22 PM.


                      • #12
                        Can anyone else think of a Brooklyn sports writer, and post their photo?
                        Last edited by Bill Burgess; 07-03-2008, 03:46 PM.


                        • #13
                          Lee Scott:

                          Born: March 17, 1906, Brooklyn, NY
                          Died: November 26, 1983, Arcadia, CA, age 77

                          Brooklyn sports writer;
                          Brooklyn Eagle
                          Brooklyn Citizen
                          Dodgers' Assistant road secretary / public relations man, 1948-77.

                          Source: Baseball '76; Official Bi-Centennial Edition: National---Sporting News' obituary, December 12, 1983, pp. 54.
                          Association Professional Baseball Leagues 75th Anniversary, pp. 21.
                          Originally posted by LeoD
                          Only you could find a photo of Scott
                          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-11-2012, 09:39 PM.


                          • #14
                            Glad you revived this thread, Bill. When I get a chance, I'll post some more info about a favorite baseball character of mine (he's a happy little quirk for other Mets fans too): former Brooklyn Eagle sportswriter Lou Niss, who served as Mets traveling scretary from inception until 1979 or so.


                            • #15
                              Is he the same guy in post #8? Hope so.


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