Posts Tagged ‘boxing’

The Great Red Hope

October 22, 2013

While searching for newspaper articles about the 1912 Carlisle-Brown game for another researcher, I came across an article about Jim Thorpe possibly participating in yet another sport. An article that came out the day most of the game coverage appeared in papers was an unrelated article on page 9 of the Friday, November 29, 1912 edition of the Oleans Evening Times titled “Jim Thorpe May Become Red Hope,” bylined Cambridge, Massachusetts. The article led off with “Jim Thorpe, the big Carlisle Indian, and Charley Brickley, vest pocket edition of Jim Jeffries, though they may never match brain, brawn, and feet on the gridiron, may meet in the squared circle.”

Carlisle and Harvard didn’t play in 1912 and its followers still may have been smarting over the loss the year before and wanted to even the score a bit. Or, someone may just have been wanting to make some money. We probably will never know who was behind this scheme because all the article said was “Overtures have already been made [by an unnamed person or persons]…to box a Harvard amateur, the bout to be pulled off next month before one of the winter boxing meets of the Boston Athletic Association.”

The promoter of the fight wasn’t the only name kept secret; Thorpe’s opponent wasn’t identified either. Possible candidates reputed to be adept at the manly art of self defense included Charley Brickley, Harvard’s star half back and Thorpe’s rival at place kicking, right tackle Bob Storer, and substitute end Al Weatherhead.

After this build up, the article’s tone changed abruptly in the last paragraph:

“Before going to Oklahoma, however, Thorpe will probably slip up to Boston for the proposed bout with the Harvard athlete, unless Glenn Warner, who is said to be dead set against Thorpe’s pugilistic aspirations, may successfully talk him out of it.”

Pop probably talked him out of it and, now knowing how harmful concussions can be, extended his long athletic career by not letting him get his head pounded in the boxing ring.

1903 Football Deaths vs Other Sports

January 24, 2012

We’ve discussed football deaths for 1905 previously but the concern over deadly violence did not begin at that time.  Concern existed well before that.  The 1903 Spalding’s Guide includes the result of a study on football injuries but, before we look at that, we will focus our attention on a December 4, 1903 article that was run across the country. This article reported 17 deaths and 64 serious injuries for the season just ended. Not included were what the writer called local or scrub teams or the carnage from the railroad accident involving the entire Purdue team.  “They are simply the deaths and accidents that occurred in noted games. And the record for this season is nothing unusual. It is just about an average with other seasons.”

The writer was evidently not a supporter of football as it existed at that time. He compared football to boxing and found fewer serious injuries in boxing although it attracted more attention from legislators. When he compared football to bullfighting, football came out as worse because the bulls would be eaten for food and the horses used in bullfighting were destined for the glue factory anyway. Also, bulls and horses alike were killed in combat, a much more desirable way to die than at a packing plant. He went on to compare bullfighting with fox hunting with dogs and horses in not very complimentary terms as another example of a sport over which Americans preferred football. He further criticized Americans’ taste by pointing out that if the 20 hunters already dead and the five more dying in Northern Wisconsin because they were mistaken for deer by other hunters were killed by Spaniards, Russians or the Chinese, we would view them as being very stupid.