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OBITUARIES / PASSINGS / Joe Goldstein

High-profile N.Y. sports publicist

February 15, 2009|TIMES STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

Joe Goldstein, 81, a fast-talking and persistent sports publicist who promoted events including the New York City Marathon, harness racing and Evel Knievel's jump of Snake River Canyon, died of a stroke Friday at Boca Raton Community Hospital in Florida.

Goldstein, who ran his own public relations firm for 40 years, was a prominent figure on the New York sports scene and a throwback to another era. Among his clients were ESPN, the New York Stock Exchange, comedian Bob Hope and his Bob Hope Desert Classic golf tournament, as well as numerous track and field events.

Known as Joey, Goldstein was born in Conway, S.C., and moved to New York as a youth. In high school he began working as a sportswriter. He attended New York University and made his name in publicity at Roosevelt Raceway, a well-known harness racing track on Long Island.

From 1954 to 1969, Goldstein staged off-beat promotions at the track, entertaining spectators by using pigeons to deliver post-position draws and inviting fans to send artichokes to a racehorse with persnickety eating habits.

"I am not a hustler," Goldstein said in a 1987 Sports Illustrated profile. "I am a practitioner who enlightens the American populace and brings joy to the world."

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