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Baseball Writer Bill Shannon Dies in N.J. Fire

In this undated photo provided by the New York Mets, sports writer Bill Shannon is shown.
AP Photo
Bill Shannon, a baseball historian, author and an official scorer at New York Yankees and Mets games for decades, died in an early morning house fire Tuesday.

West Caldwell fire chief Charlie Holden said the three-alarm fire was called in just before 9 a.m. and brought under control within an hour. Holden identified Shannon, 69, as the only fatality.

Neighbors told News 12-New Jersey they were able to rescue Shannon's mother through the front door. One neighbor placed a ladder up to the second floor to reach Shannon, but Shannon told the neighbor he was unable to break the window and disappeared into the thick smoke.

Shannon became an official scorer for the American League in 1979 and the National League one year later, and in recent seasons was the senior official scorer for games of the New York Yankees and Mets. He also contributed stories to The Associated Press.

Jason Zillo, director of media relations and publicity for the Yankees, described Shannon as "a kind and gentle soul."

"He loved the game of baseball, immersing himself in its intricacies, nuances and rules," Zillo said. "Most of all, he loved the relationships he built and sustained through his dedication to the sport and his craft."

After attending Columbia University and serving in the Army, he was the head of public relations for Madison Square Garden from 1965-73 as it moved into its new building. He was longtime assistant on the press staff for the U.S. Tennis Association.

He authored the book, "The Ballparks," a history of major league baseball stadiums and edited "The Official Encyclopedia of Tennis of the United States Tennis Association."

Shannon also founded the New York Sports Museum & Hall of Fame, which planned to build a sports history museum in New York.