New York Times January 3rd 1911
ZBYSZKO THROWS LEMM.
Swede Lifts Pole Off His Feet and Falls with Pole on Top.
Buffalo N.y., Jan. 2.-Stanislaus Zbysko, the polish wrestler, this afternood defeated John Lemm, the Swede, in two straight falls, the first in one minute and 30 seconds and the second by default.
In the first Lemm lifted the Pole clear of the floor, but lost his balance and fell backward, with his bulky opponent on top of him. He was stunned and apparently injured about the chest. When they came together for the second bout Zbyszko complained that Lemm offered no resistance and appeared to be badly hurt. The refere declared Zbyszko the winner.
New York Times January 17th 1911
WRESTLER PILAKOFF HURT.
Zybszko Throws Finnish Grappler, Tearing Ligaments of Right Arm.
Pilakoff, a Finnish wrestler, after losing the first fall in his contest with Zbyszko in 0:46:16 injured his right arm in the second period and was compelled to forfeit the fall and match to the Polish wrestler at Prospect hall last night beore a crowd that packed the large hall to the doors. The gigantic Pole agreed to throw his Finnish oponent twice within an hour, and accomplished his first fall after th pair had wrestled a clean and sportsmanlike contest for 0:46:16 After the first fall the pair were allowed a reposition of ten minutes, and in the remaining 14 minutesand 44 seconds the Pole was to have tried to negotiate another fall. After they had gone 7 minutes and 34 seconds. Zbyszko, who was making every effort to win, grabbed his oponent from a standing position and threw him bodily over his head in a manner that had occurred on three previous occasions. When Pilakoff came down he landed on his elbow with great force and pulled the ligaments of hs right arm out of place. He lay helpless on the mat in great pain and was unable to continue.
The wrestlers were seperated by the referee and two physicians examined the arm which at first wa thought to have been broken, but they found only the ligaments strained. Being unable to continue, the referee awarded the bout to Zbyszko. The bout was cleanly contested throughout. The Pole outweighed his opponent by at least forty pound, but what Pilakoff lacked in weight he made up in his foxy defensive actions, which brought him out of many tight places in easy style.
New York Times January 24, 1911
Hackenschmidt Meets a Tarter
BRIDGEPORT, CONN., Jan. 23- Hackenschmidt, theRussian wrestler, failed to throw three men in an hour here tonight, Hjalmar Lunain, the Swedish wrestler, staying twenty minutes. Hackenschmidt threw his first opponent, Corrollus, the Greek, in 4 minutes and 13 seconds. He was unable to throw Lundi in the 20 minutes allotted. In this bout the Russian was on the defensive much of the time and on one occasion was thrown heavily to the mat. The third bout was easy, Auvary going down in 5 minutes and 50 seconds.
New York Times January 25 1911
'HACK' THROWS THREE MEN ON MAT
Galvin, Sankofsky, and Lehner Easy Opponents of the Russian Lion.
George Hackenschmidt, the Russian lion, showed all the fine points of the wrestling game to a crowd of several hundred enthusiasts at Odd Fellows Hall, Hoboken, last evening by winning his handicap wrestling match against three opponents who were men of more than ordinary ability at the grappling game and each succeeded in making the big fellow work hard for the first few minutes of the match. Then came the quick ending, none of the trio being able to stay as long as eleven miutes. Hackenschmidt agreed to throw each opponent in less than twenty minutes.
Hack's first opponent was Jim Galvin, the Irish Giant. Galvin is many pounds lighter then Hackenschmidt but he is strong and wiry and managed to squirm out of several dangerous holds before he was finally pinned to the mat. Galvin was on the defenisve all the time and quickly tired from the exertion necessary to break the numerous holds which Hackenschmidt secured. The Russian's superior strength told after five minutes of wrestling, and he pinned Galvin's shoulders to the mat with a half-nelson and crotch hold.
Herdinand Sankofskywas the next to face the Russian, and he succeeded in staying longer than either of the others. Ferdinand is a longshoreman who carries about 285 pounds of avoirdupois, and the muscular Hackenschmidt appeared small in comparison. For five minutes he did not allow Hack to secure a good hold, breaking one after another which Hack attempted, and incidentally locking Hack's head under his arm at intervals, much to the discomfiture of Hack's cauliflower ear. Sankofsky showed wonderful strength and gave the Russian a hard fight, but Hack's superior knowledge of the game began to manifest itself after eight minutes of hard wrestling and he began to tire Sankofsky with hammerlocks. After breaking several of these holds Sankofsky found himself in one which he could not break and his shoulders touched the mat together in 10:07.
Hackenschmidt's third opponent was Hans Lehner of Hoboken, the New Jersey champion , and he gave Hakcenschmidt a better fight then either of his predecessors for eight minutes, making the Russian work harder than before. He broke hold after hold, but finally, while Hack had him tied up with a full nelson. Referee Servas awarded the Russian the fall. There was some dissatisfaction over the decision, and Lehner claimed that he had not been thrown. Hackenschmidt agreed to go on again, and with Johnny Dunn as the referee the match was continued. The Russian made short work of Lehner this time, pinning him so there was no chance to dispute the decision in about one minute of wrestling.
Three preliminaries preceded the handicap match. Alfred Oswald of Hoboken won two straight falls from Will Weekes of Weehawken, and Charlie Greiner of Londen repeated against Joe Lang of Hoboken. Gus Jromis, a Greek wrestler, failed to throw Jack Meyer of Hoboken in fifteen minutes.
Zybszko to Throw Three Grapplers.
With Hackenschmidt in town and Gotch coming within a week or two, the wrestling game seems on a fair way to it revival in New York. Joe Humphreys who has arranged the lenghty bill for tomorrow night's carnival at Grand Central Palace, says its only a question of time when either Gotch or Hackenschmidt will be matches with Zbyszko.
"Zbyszko may throw Padowksi, the Russian, and Yankee Rodgers within a time limit," said Humphreys, "but he will ahve his hands full with Americus. This light heavyweight grappler has thrown Dr. Roller in straight falls, and hackenschmidt couldn't do anything with him in an hour, so you see, he ougth to keep Zbyszko busy." Humphreys regards Zbyszko as the star of his carnival, but he has other attractions that may prove even better contest then those in which the big Pole appears. For instance, Demetral, the Greeek champion, against Fritz Mohl and George Parker, he agreeing to put down both in half an hour. John Lemm is also a feature in himself. Lemm won the recent international tournament in London in which Hackenschmidt declined to compete Lemm's opponent tomorrow night will be Harry Carter.
Pilakoff Wants Return Match.
Pilakoff, the Finnish lion, is not at all satisfied with the result of his wrestling match with Zbyszko, and having entirely recovered the use of his right arm, which was injured, he is anxious to meet the Polish champion again, under the same conditions that governed the last contest, or to a finish under mixed style rules. Pilakof will be on hand at the Grand Central palace tomorow night to publicly challenge Zbyszko.
New York Times January 27th, 1911
ZYBSZKO LOSES HANDICAP MATCH
Yankee Rogers Proves the Stumbling Block to the Champion Polish Wrestler.
Yankee Rogers, the champion wrestler of New England, put a crimp in the aspirations of Zbyszko, the powerful Polish wrestler last night, by refusing to be thrown in anything like easy fashion or short time.
Zbyszko had elected to throw three men in an hour, but he only succeeded in throwing two. Rogers was the second of the pair, and so stubbornly did he oppose the Pole that he was only downed after more than forty-nine minutes of the bout had gone. Zbyszko previously, having thrown the Russian Giant, Ivan Podowski, in short order.
These shows which Joe Humphreys has promulgated have evidently caught the public fancy judging by the large crowd which filled the Grand Central Palace last night to witness the third tournament of the season.
It was a particularly cosmopolitan crowd about every nation of the globe was being represented. There were also many women and girls present, and even infants enlivened the affair with vocal demonstrations delivered in their own peculiar way, whether as protest or endorsements of the show was not officially determined.
Zybszko was the star of the occasion. he was on the cards to throw three men in an hour. Besides this match there were two other handicap affairs in which the pricipal performers were to gain more then one fall to win. All of the matches were catch-as-catch-can.
Zbyszko first opponent was Podowksy, who was thrown in 4.40 with a half nelson and body hold.
The show opened with William Demetral, the Greek champion, and John McLoughlin of Brooklyn, in the first boutof a match, in which Demetral agreed to throw two men in forty minutes. McLoughlin proved a tough proposition for the Greek, and in the fourteenth minute Demetral secured a double knee lock hold getting McLoughlin's head between the hard bones of the legs and holding him there until his shoulders touched the mat. Demetral had to be pried off his man, the crowd meanwhile becoming wildly excited and protesting at what looked to be a strangle hold. It is, however, a very unusual hold and seldom obtained. It seems cruel and the crowd sympathized with McLoughlin in his protest.
Referee Johnny Dunn declared it a fair fall in 14 minutes.
The second bout was also the firest of a handicap match, John Lemm, the German-Swis champion, agreeing to throw Hans Lehnert twice in an hour. Lemm obtained his first fall in 12 minutes and 10 seconds by a combination body and scissors hold.
Will Bingham, an English champion wrestler, and Jalli Yuma, a Japanese gave a jiu-jitsu exhibition, which Bingham won in 19 minutes and 10 seconds, Yuma as Joe Humphreys announced, having a genteel sufficiency.
Demetral's second opponent was Fritz Mohl, who had about thirty pounds the advantage in weight, which he used for all it was worth. It was a stubborn bout, Mohl acting on the defensive nearly the entire time. When the bout had but 10 seconds of the twenty-six minutes to go the Greek secured a crotch hold and pinned his man. Time, 25:50. Mohl was infuriated by the decision and tried to continue wrestling. When he was finally pried away from Demetral he made a pass at Demetral, which naturaly set the crowd against him. He left amid jeers and groans.
Lemm then appeared to continue his mach with Lehnert. The latter sent word from his dressing room that he had been hurt in his previous bout and could not go on. Lemm therefore received the decision.
The second man to tackle Zbyszko was Yankee Rogers, heavyweight champion of New England. Rogers was a much tougher proposition than Podowski and set the crowd going several times by getting dangerous holds on Zbyszko. There were no stalling delays in the work of both men, and the crowd was constantly moved to outbursts of applause for Roger's good showing. Zbyszko won this his seoncd fall in 49:20 with a croch and lock hold.
This left Zbyszko with six minutes to throw Americus, his third opponent, who is the light heavyweight champion of America. Americus started onthe defensive and seemed determined to keep Zbyszko so busy breaking holds that he would not have the opportunity to get any himself. He suceeded in this object, the time expiring with Zbyszko working madly to secure a real hold.
During the evening Humphreys announced that hackenschmidt ahd challenged any man in the world, Gotch barred, to thrown him three times in two hours. Zbyszko took exception to the tenor of Hackenschmidts challenge and offered to accept the defi of the Russian Lion as a straight proposition , with no advantage to either man in the terms of the match.
New York Times May 4th 1911
ZBYSZKO LOSES MATCH
Polish Wrestler fails to Gain a fall on Americu in St. Nicholas Rink.
Gus Schoenline, better known as Americus, was winner in his handicap wrestling match against STanislaus Zbysko, the Polish champion, at the St. Nicholash Rink last night. By the terms of the match Zbyszko was to throw Americus once within an hour, and he failed not only to do this, but failed to secure a hold which threatended to result in a fall. Zbyszko was much heavier than his opponent, and also stronger, but the science of his smaller opponent completely offset these advantages. Americus was so proficient in defensive tactics that Zbysko never had a chance to appear dangerous.
The second preliminary was a twenty minute bout between John Niflot and Miles Sweney, the Irish wrestler. Sweney had the advantage of a few pounds and was stronger than Niflot, but the later made up for this deficiency in stength by his knowledge of defensive tactics, and he was able to hold Sweeney off for the twenty minutes and incidentally Niflot did considerable aggressive work, which forced Sweeney to work his hardest to escape a fall. Throughout the entire twenty minutes both men worked as if a championship depended on their efforts. Not a dull moment marred the contest. There was no loafing nor unfair wrestling, and both men were loudly applauded as they left the rign.
In the first premilinary a burleque on wrestling, Young Monday and Frank Decker, went fifteen minutes to a draw, neither being able to gain a fall.
New York Times September 4th 1911
GOTCH AND 'HACK' READY FOR MATCH
World's championand "Russian Lion" Will wrestle today for Championship
EXPECT 25000 SPECTATORS
Both Principals in Excellent Condition for the Contest- American is Favorite in Betting
Chicago Sept 3.- Frank Gotch, the Iowa farmer, and Geore Hackenschmidt, the Russian student, will determine tomorrow who is the mightiest wrstler in the world. AT 3 o'clock in the afternoon, in the American League baseballl park here,these two might wrestlers will take to the mat to settle the supremacy.
Gotch won their former match in Chicago April 3, 1908 but he did not pin the shoulders of the "Russian Lion" to the mat. For that reason he has never recieved universal credit for his victory. But tomorrow, both contestants insist, the match will not end until one man has obtained two falls. It may be necessary to finish the contest under the glare of arc lights. Regardless of this the wrestlers are determined to settle their dispute beyond all possible doubt before they leave the park.
With the contest less than twenty-four hours away, there is great interest tonight in the match. From all parts of the country followers of the sport are coming in, and all the downtown hotels are crowded.
Throughout the day the ticket office was busy disposing of coupons. The total sales up to 6 o'clock tonight amounted to approximately $70,000. It is expected that at least 25000 persons will attend the contest, and that the gross receipts will be in the neighborhood of $100,000.
Whatever they are, it is certain they will be larger then any ever taken in at any previous wrestling contest.
Statements of the Wrestlers
"I certainly expect to win, for I am basing my plans for victory on my condition, which is better than ever before in my long wrestling career. I also believe that I will be able to outlast him if the match becomes an endurance contest, such as our former match.
"Just how I will try to defeat 'Hack' I cannot say. My tactics will depend somewhat on his. I am prepared to wrestle all night if neccesary. Hack's great strenght makes him a hard man to defeat. It will be a match in which generalship as well as strength will count. My greater experience will bring me victory."-Gotch
"In all my professional wrestling matches I never have tried to predict the outcome. I will not boast. All I can say is thatt I am feeling fine and have trained faithfully and I want to sail for home Sept. 9 as the world's champion.
"I never have been satisfied with my other match with Gotch when he was credited with defeating me. I have learned more since then, and have more confidence."-Hackenschmidt.
Although the turnstiles at the park will not begin to revolve until 11 o'clock tomorrow, early tonight ardent devotees of the sport had begun to gather outside the grounds and seek vantage points for an early entrance to the field Many of them were already provided with tickets, but they did not desire to be caught in the crush that will ensue a few hours before the candidates enter the arena.
Stories of Gotch's wonderful condition which have been circulated since he arrived here last Friday have forced the betting odds on him down to 2 to 1. While he was still training in Humboldt, Ia., he was but a 6 to 5 favorite. But his work here has caused his stock to rise rapidly.
Little Betting on the Match.
Very little betting is being done, however. As an explanation for his condition Stern sports say that the element which used to plunge on big contests of all kinds has not forgotten the memorable prize fight which took place in Reno on July, 4 1910. The so called "talent" plunged and lost on that occasion, and, although this match in no way resembles that one, big bettors having once been bitten, are still timid.
Gotch partisans maintain that he will win because he is the cleverer catch-as-catch-can wrestler, a quicker thinker, and perhaps as srong as his opponent. They insist that he displayed his superiority in every department in the sport in their last match, and that, in the last three years he has improved greatly.
On the other hand, followers of Hackenschmidt say that he is the strongest wrestler that has ever lived, and in this contest, which it is generally conceded will be one requiring great endurance, he will outlast his opponent. Hackenschmidt has devoted the greater part of his training for this contest toward making hmself faster. D B. F. Roller, a scientific wrestler and an old running mate of Gotch, has been the Russian's chief trainer.
Chief trainer Americus, another speedy grappler, has also been in the camp. Both assert that Hackenschmidt has greatly increased his speed and that Gotch will not have a single trick which will baffle their charge.
Both men say they are fit. To all outward appearances they are. But when this phase of the match is under discussion old-timers, who have been at the ringside or matside at ever important match in the last decade, again refer to the Jeffries-Johnson contest, pointing out that the greatest experts thought the alfalfa farmer was in shape. Somehow the sporting element cannot forget that Reno Battle.
There were no signs of worry on the champion's face today. He beamed over with smiles in responding to the cheers of th baseball thorong and laughed boyishly when the crowd shouted "You'll trim Hack sure tomorrow Frank."
This was a trying day for Hackenschmidt's trainers. The giant wrestler was as petulant as a spoiled child. Dr. Roller says this is a good sign, becuase it shows the man is on edge.
The Russian took a short run in the morning, slept a couple of hours during the afternoon and wrestled with Dr. Roller, Americus, and John Koch just before dinner.
Hackenschmidt was to have umpired a baseball game today, but his trainers canceled his engagement, explaining he was too nervous to officiate. His wrestling bouts today were strenuous.
Bohemia's Champion Wrestler Here.
That old beacon by which all foreign wrestlers steer -Johnny Dunn- has another "latest importation" Johnny was going across Battle Park the other morning humming Lillian Russell's old song "The Land I Love is Bohemia" when Josef Smeykal who was taking his first squint at the tallest buildings in the world, heard him. He only heard one word of the ditty -bohemia- and straightaway he hooked on to Johnny. Smeykal comes from Bohemia, and he is here to get a crack at the winner of today's championship match in Chicago. Smeykal holds the belt emblematic of the championship of his counry, presented by the ruler of Bohemia.
New York Times September 5th 1911
Gotch Champion Wrestler of the World
American Defeats Hackenschmidt in Straight Falls in Chicago Ball Park
Russian Blames Bad Knee
Less then Twenty Minutes of Actual Wrestling 30000 Persons at the Match
(box score in italics)
Winner Frank A. Gotch of Humboldt Iowa, champion wrestler of the world
Loser- George Hackenschmidt of Dorpat Russia, European champion
First Fall-Gotch pinned Hackenschmidt wih a reverse body hold Time-14:18
Second Fall Gotch Pinned Hackenschmidt with a toe lock Time 5:32
Total Wrestling Time 19:50
Referee Edward M Smith
Attendence #0000 (estimated)
Total Receipts $87,053
Gotch 's Share $21,000 and 50 per cent of moving picture profits
Hackenschmidt's share, $13,500
Jack Curley, Hackenschmidts's manager received $29,937 as his share.
Empire Athletic Club's Share $8,250
Place American BAseball Park Chicage
Chicago Sept. 4- The Geographical centre of the wrestling world was more then ever fortified at Humboldt, Iowa, the home of Frank Gotch, today. Moreover, referee Ed Smith who proclaimed the world's champion victor over George Hackenschmidt, declared that for the next ten years there would be no shift of the wrestling capital unless Gotch should choose to change his place of residence.
The Russians showing was pitiful. The crowd decreed that he had "quit" but the defeatd challenger, though copious tears, averred that he entered the arena with a wrenched knee of which Gotch worked and speedily reduced him to a State of comparative helplessness.
The foreigners nerves were on Edge. He spent a sleepless night and was pale when he crawled through the ropes Dr. J. J. Davis examined both wrestlers before they went to the mat, declared that though there might be something wrong with Hackenschmidt's knee it was not evident during the examination
"Hack " Cries for Mercy
While it took Gotch 14 minutes 18 seconds to gain the first fall, the second fall required only 5 minutes 32 1-5 seconds, which Hackenschmidt's friends assert proved that his knee was in bad condition.
Referee Smith is authority for the statement that when Gotch secured the fatal toe lock which won him the match Hackenschmidt cried out, "Don't Hurt my toe." and a second later "Don't break my leg," and fell with his shoulders to the mat frothing at the mouth.
The first fall resulted from a reverse body hold after the men had struggled 14 minutes 48 1/2 seconds. That terrible toe hold for which Gotch s famous was responsible for the second fall. He clamped it upon the left foot of Hackenschmidt after the second bout had gone five minutes. Scarcely had he obtained the grip when Hackenschmidt acknowledged defeat. Hackenschmidt's own statement that it was the easiset world's championship ever won tells the storyof the bout almost as well as it could be told. Gotch never was in serious difficulty at any time during the match. Neither was he forced to extend himself to win. The Iowan secured in all perhaps half a dozen dangerous holds on his antagonist.
Hackenschmidt had Gotch worried but once. During the first fall Hackenschmidt obtained a body hold on Gotch that brough him to the mat. But the champion was on the canvas for only a few seconds. Then he was only down as far as his knees. Almost before the lion realized that his antagonist was in a dangerous perdictment Gotch had wriggled out of the hold and was bounding across the ring to safety.
For his defeat Hackenschmidt offers but the one excuse, that his left knee, which was injured in training two weeks ago, weakened under the pressure of the iron hands of Gotch, and it was useless to continue at the risk of being permanently injured. Hackenschmidt went into the ring with the member in a bandage.
But regardless of whether there was any merit to Hackenschmidt's assertion that his knee was in bad shape, it cannot be denied that the challenger was in no state mentally to enter into a gruelling contest. Hackenschmidt was unnerved before he entered the arena
Russian Mentally Unfit
Whether it was from worry over his injured knee of his fretting over the match generally canno be said. Like Jeffries, however, the russian Lion spent a sleepless night before the battle, although his trainers tried every means to put him at ease. That had him room with John Koch, a German , and one of Koch's chief duies, was to sing songs "of the Fatherland to the Russian and try to soothe him. But Hackenschmdt would not be calmed. After trying vainly for several hours to go to sleep, he arose and pleaded with his trainers to give him drugs that would make him rest. They refused to do this and Hackenschmidt retired to fret the night away.
In the mind of the vast crowd that saw the match there was no doubt as to which was the better wrestler. Gotch outpointed, out-generaled, and out-gamed his opponent. The Iowan appeared faster then he had ever been before. His condition was perfect. He entered the ring filled with confidence, and never once did he lose his nonchalance. AT every stage of the bout he smiled as though he never had the slightest doubt as to the ultimate outcome. ON the other hand. Hackenschmidt seemed ill at ease. During the first fall he went about his work with his face set, anything but the glint of confidence in his eye. And after Gotch had gained the first fall the courage of the Russian appeared to have oozed out of him. With shoulders sooped and eyes downcast, he sat in his corner, awaiting the starting signal.
In a box in the centre of the grandstand sat Gotch's old mother and his young bride. Frequently while in the thickest of the fray Gotch found time to look towards the two women and smile. During the ten minutes' intermission between falls he did not go at once to his dressing room, but stood for a moment in his corner, smiling and waving at the two.
Hackenschmidt was heartbroken over the result of the bout. In his dressing room for half an hour he sat in his wrestling garb, crying and refusing the proferred attentions and cheering words of his trainers.
Gotch only smiled after the match was over. He said the result was exactly as he though it would be.
The story of the actual wrestling that was done is soon told.
The bout in Detail.
Time was called at 3:15 o'clock. The contestants immediatly locked heads and began feeling each other out. For five minutes they tugged at each other's neck, wrist, and arms, but neither obtained a dangerous hold.
It was Gotch who first turned attention to the legs. He made several fake passes at Hackenschmidt's knees before he finally obtained a kneehold at the end of 8 1/2 minutes. Once the Iowan's massive hands were fastened on Hackenschmidt's left leg the Russian went down. he struggled out of that, and a subsequent hold of the same kind, and then became the aggressor. At ten minutes Hackenscmidt secured a body hold and put Gotch to the mat. But he was down only an instant.
After fourteen minutes of wrestling Gotch started Hakcenschmidt downward with a kneehold, faked a crotch, and then quickly worked the Russian into a half Nelson. They struck the mat together, head to head. Then Gotch pivoted on his opponent's stomach, clamped on a reverse body hold, and the first fall was over.
The first five minutes of the second fall was a repetition of that period in the first. But suddenly Gotch reached down with his right hand, grasped Hackenschmidt's left ankle, and unbalanced the lion.
While Hackenschmidt was trying to regain his equilibrium Gotch struck the Lion's injured leg with his right knee and the russian crumpled into a heap.
Directly Gotch was on him his powerful right hand firmly locked upon the under man's left toe. Hackenschmidt screamed a couple of times, rolled over his shoulders, and gave up.
STATEMENTS OF PRINCIPALS
Gotch Suprised and "Hack" Wants Another Match.
Chicago, Sept. 4- Gotch, Hackenschmidt and referee Smith all made statements after the match as follows
BY FRANK GOTCH
"Honestly I didn't think it would be so easy. Hackenschmidt gave me such a desperate struggle in our first meeting that i was prepared and expected to go through with a hard, drawn-out battle. The very minute we locked heads I felt confident that I would win, but I really did not think victory would come so quickly.
"Hackenschimdt did not display the nerve and strength he did in our first contest. HE wasn't aggressive. He appeared afraid. When I saw that Hack did not break down my defense or squirm out of holds I became determined to end it as quickly as possible.
"I am sorry he laid his miserable showing to an injured knee, for I wanted to make the victory a clean one. When I defeated him three years ago it was charged that I won unfairly. Today I hoped Hackenschimdt would be at his best, for I wanted to prove that I was his master"
BY GEORGE HACKENSCHMID
"It was the cheapest world's championshp ever won. I entered the contest with an injured knee, and had my shoulders pinned to the mat for the first time in my wrestling career. I have no one to balme. I shouldn't have gone into the match, but I was advised that i could wrestle without further injuring my knee. But we scarcely had got to work when Gotch began to torture me with his toe grips. I then realized that I was in no condition to continue. I am not a quitter, neither do I desire to charge that I was not treated fairly.
"I am satistifed that my defeat as due to the injury. I would like to meet Gotch again, for I feel deeper then words can tell the loss of this match I did my best under the conditions. That is all I can say."
REFEREE EDWARD W. SMITCH
"Gotch won honestly and fairly. Hack did not show his usual gameness or agressiveness. I do not doubt that he was in the best condition, but he looked worried and frightened when the match began. He begged Gotch to release his punishing toe hold, and evidently was in great pain when Gotch forced him to defeat.
"On Cleaverness alone Gotch should easily remain the champion for ten more years. His work in the first fall was marvelous and so fast that I could scarcely follow it.
"Gotch first faked a crotch hold, then suddenly he secured a half Nelson on Hackenschmidt. In the wink of an eyr Gotch pivoted on Hackenschmidt's stomach, switched to a reverse body hold, and had downed his man. It was the speedist shift I have ever seen made on the mat.
"Hackenschmidt was in great pain during the period when Gotch had the toe hold on him. 'Don't hurt my toe,' he cried at first. But Gotch continued to put on the pressure. "Don't break my leg,' was his next appeal. The end came a second later."
ENTHUSIASM AT HUMBOLDT.
Gotch's Fellow Townsmen Celebrate Champion's Victory.
Humboldt, Iowa Spet. 4.- The announcememnt that Frank Gotch had won his second victory from George Hackenschmidt at chicago today was the signal for the most enthusiastic demonstration Humbold has witnessed in many years. Tonight the "home folks" are informally celebrating the event and it is doubtful if there is a single farmhoulse within the radius of fifty miles to which the news has not traveled.
Friends and neighbors of Gotch gathered at the Post Office early this afternoon, where wire arrangements for receiving news of the bout had been made. It was not long before the crowd completly filled the small lobby of th building and had overflowed into the stret. But the announcement that the contest ended came so suddenly that for a moment it seemed to stun the crowd.
And so when the flash, "Gotch wins," came in less then 20 minutsthe crowd glasped and then as the full significance fo the message disclosed itself there was a yell of delight. For fully 20 minutes there was wild cheering. Plans already are underway for a rousing reception to Gotch upon his return.
New York Times December 4th 1911
Rogers to Wrestle Romanoff
Joe Rogers, the heaviest wrestler that American can boast of, who has met Frank Gotch, Hackenschmidt, and all the great foreign wrestlers, will wrestle Romanoff, the Giant Russian Cossack tonight at Harlem River Park Casino. Rogers has a big following in this city, and since he trained Frank Gotch, the world's champion, he feels confident that none of the big foreigners who are touring the country have a chance with him under American rules of wrestling. Romanoff, however, has improved greatly since he made his first appearance here, and he expects to defeat the American wrestler in much quicker time than Zbyszko did. The doors will be opened at 7 o'clock promptly.
Raicevich to Wrestle Six
Jack Herman has already named four of the six wrestlers who are to grapple with Giovanni Raicevich at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. They are Yankee Rogers, Buffalo, weight 218; Fritz Mohl, Newark weight 230; John Lehner, New York, weight 222, and Paul Schmidt, Spandau, Germany, weight 265. Mr Herman is also negotiating with Americus of Baltimore and Jess Westergard of Des Moines to complete the list of a half dozen wrestlers who will face the Italian. Raicevich will have a big task on his hands, for he offers to pay 1000 for each of the six men who succeeds in staying twenty minutes
New York Times December 5th 1911
Raicevich's Opponents Selected
George Sentell, the Greek heavyweight, and Karl Delevuk, the Austrian giant, have been seleced to compete against Giovanni racievich in Madison Square Garden tomorrow night. These two, with Mohl, Yankee Rogers, John Dehner, and Paul Schmidt, complete the six men to go against the Italian. Each ofthe men must be thrown within twenty minutes or the Italian must forfeit $1,000 to every man that succeeds in staying the time limit.
New York Times December 6th 1911
Zbyszko Throws Two Giants
Zbyszko, the Polish wrestler, had little trouble in defeating two grapplers at the Palace Rink in Brooklyn last night. Andy Kandrat, the giant Lithuanian, gave him some trouble for a time, but after nineteen minutes of exciting wrestling, the big Pole took all the ambition out of the Lithuanian and pinned his shoulders to the mat with a full Nelson. John Lenner, the German wrestler, was much easier for Zbyszko, after seven minutes work he ws thrown violently by the Pole and had to give up. A crowd of more then 1,600 people saw the matches. The Pole agreed to throw his opponents or forfeit $1,000 and he won easily
Wrestling at Garden Tonight.
Giovanni Raicovich, an Italian wrestler, will make his bow in the first big match of the Winter season at Madison Square Garden tonight. He is to wrestle six giants, on after the other, and undertake to put them down within two hours' time. To any one of these six men whom he does not vanquish in twenty minutes he will give $1,000, so the promoters say.
New York Times December 7th 1911
BIG, FAT WRESTLER DOWNS SIX MEN
Giovanni Raicevich Pins Giants to Mat in Few Minutes in Garden Bouts.
Giovanni Raicevich, the champion heavyweight wrestler of Italy, made his first appearance on the mat in this country at Madison Square Garden last night and in less than twenty minutes of actual grappling wiped up the mat with six giant foreigners. The Italian didn't have to extend himself much and pinned each one of his bulky opponents to the canvas with simple wrestling methods. The big, fat men who succumbed to the Italian were Harry Petosky, August Fausst, George Sendelle, Oom Paul Schmidt, Hans Lehner, and Fritz Mohl. Each one looked strong enough to carry a piano around with ease, but they possessed a small amount of knowledge of wrstling.
Oom Paul Schmidt was the Hercules of the lot and he gave Raicevich an exciting session for 5 3/4 minutes before he got him in the clutches of a half-nelson and neck hold and pushed his two shoulders onto the mat. Schmidt weighed 270 pounds and towered above the Italian, but didn't know how to use his great strength and weight advantage.
A crowd of about 3,000 persons saw the wrestling, the greater part of the spctators being Italians, who waxed very emotionall and jammed into the ring after the last bout and showered the Italian champion with congratulations and glowing tributes of admiration. Raicevich weights about 230 and is as fat as some Aldermen. He is strong, thick-set, and handled himself with much confidence. His work last night was comparatively easy, for the defense which his opponents put up was crude and easy to solve. Not once did any of the six huge men get the upper hand or even get him on the floor. One by one in quick succession Raicevich topled the giants onto the mats and with Half-Nelsons, bar holds, and savage neck twist disposed of them easily.
A Pole named Harry Petofsky, a mountain of a man, was the first victim. In less than a minute the Italian had him on his back squirming helplessly. Raicvich had both shoulders down and let the Pole up thinking it was a fall. Referee Dunn ruled otherwise, and in another minute Peofsky was trapped in a half-Nelson. August Faust was the second giant. Raicevich squelched him smilingly in 1:40. Then came the Grek "Demon" George Sentelle. He rolled himself out of a few body holds and got mad and began to pull the Italian's hair. The only savage thing about the Greek was his looks. Raicevich got a hammer lock hold and the Greek went down flat. Then he tried to get at Referee Dunn, but Johnny was shifty with his feet and side-stepped the "Demon."
Oom Paul Schmidt put up the best bout, the huge Boer staying 5:49. He had a body like a California redwood and looked fit enough to push over a bridge. When the Italian upset him he landed in the ring with such a jar that it shook the Garden. He didn't know much about wrestling.
Hans Lehner, a giant German, rushed at the Italian like a wild bull, and after Raicevich had bounded him around the mat a few times and locked him in the grip of a double Nelson, Lehner walked out of the ring like a lamb.
Fritz Mohl was supposed to be the best wrestler of the six, but in the final bout he lasted only 2:55. Raicevich had him on the floor in a jiffy, and in the fastest work of the evening the German wiggled out of several of the Italian's holds. A bar and neck hold quieted him.
Yankee Rogers, who was scheduled to appear, was missing, and the crowd called wildly for him. It was announced that Rogers had a finish match coming this week, and his manager would not let him tackle the big Italian.
Six overgrown wrestlers were such easy picking for Raicevich that some one yelled. "Is Frank Gotch in the house?" It would have been different if he had been.
New York Times December 12th 1911
Gotch Replies to Raicevich.
Frank Gotch, the world's champion wrestler, has made a quick response to the offer of Giovannia Raicevich to wrestle him, and intends to send a business representative to New York at once to carefully consider the proposition. The question of the rules under which Raicevich will consent to meet him also concerns Gotch greatly, likewise the date to be selected, owning to his bookings ahead. The financial success of the big match which Gotch engaged in at Chicago has given him an idea that he is entitled to the lion's share of the purse or gate money and the selection of the referee, if other details are amicably arranged.
New York Time December 13th 1911
Raicevich on Gotch's Trail.
Raicevich, the Italian champion wrestler, does not intend to appear in public until he feels certain that Frank Gotch will come to terms. The Italian champion has mastered the various holds under catch-as-catch-can rules and does not fear the results of a match with the American champion, and will then turn his attention to Zbyszko, whom he feels confident he can defeat, notwitstanding the latter's weight and prodigious strength. At the banquet tendered to Raicevich a few days ago by his admirers, it was the general belief among those who listened to the remarks made by Raicevich that he is euqal to any task which may be imposed upon him, and that he is capable of holding his own against any wrestler in the world, under any rules
Zbyskzko Is Willing to Wrestle.
DULTUTH MINN., Dec. 12.- Replying to numerous challenges issued by Gianvonni Raicoveich to Zbyszko, J. H. Hermann, manager for the pole, today stated that he is prepared to match his man agaisnt the Italian at any time to a finish contest, and just to show what he thinks of Raicoveich's ability Hermann States that he does not want one cent of the purse if his man does not win the required two falls within one hour.
Two Opponents for Raicevich.
Two weeks ago Giovanni Raicevich, the Italian wrestler, could not secure a match with any men of note in this country. Today it looks as if he could take his pick of a match with either Frank Gotch, the world's champion, or STanislaus Zbyszko, the famous Pole. A couple of days ago Gotch sent word that he would send a representative to New York to talk business with the Italian and yesterday Jack Herman, the manager of the Pole, who was then showing in Duluth Minn., stated that he was ready to arrange for a contest to take place on a "winner take all" basis. The Italian is anxious to give Gotch preference, as a victory over the Iowa fireman will not only man great honors in this country, but will insure engagements and matches that would net him a good sized fortune. he has however, sent word to both Gotch and Zbyszko that he stands ready to sign articles on any terms that will be agreeable to them. The Italian is training at the Italian-American Gymnastic Club, as he intends to make a tour of this country, meeting all comers, should he fail to clinch a big match within the next week or 10 days.
New York Times December 15th 1911
Zbyszko on Raicevich's Trail.
Zbyszko, the Polish champion wrestler, accompanied by his manager, is hurrying eastward from Duluth, Minn,. and is due to arrive in New York this afternoon, having cancelled his engagements in the Northwest to secure the match with Raicevich. Herman has a proposition to offer the Italian champion which he says in his wire announcing his intentions cannot be refused by any one who means business, and his caustic remarks suggest that he is very sore because Gotch sent a representative here while he was away. The outcome of the conference which will be held at Madison Square Garden tonight will result in a match being between Raicevich and Gotch, or Zbyszko's propostion to Raicevich made by Jack Hermanmay be accepted by the Italian champion and Gotch will be asked to meet the winner of the match between Zbyszko and Raicevich if they can come to terms.
New York Times Dec 16th 1911
GIANT WRESTLERS MATCHED
Zbyszko Agrees to Throw Raicevich at Garden Christmas Night
Stanislaus Zbyszko, the famous Polish wrestler, and Giovanni Raicevich, the champion of Italy, were signed up last night at Madison Garden to meet in a handicap match which will take place at the Garden on Christmas night, Dec. 25. Jack Herman, the Pole's manager, arrived in town yesterday from the west. The conditions of the contest call for Zbyszko to throw the Italian 3 times within an hour and a half. Should Reicevich secure one fall, the Italian will be declared the winner. Raicevich expected up until late yesterday that Frank Gotch would have a representative on hand to talk business. When he failed to materialize the Italian lost no time in getting down to business with Herman, as he knows that a victory over Zbyszko will mean a quick engagement with the world's champion.
December 18th 1911
Gotch Will Wrestle winner of Bout
The winner of the big wrestling match, in which Stanislaus Zbyszko, the Pole, and Giovanni Raicevich, the champion of Italy will be the principals, is now assured of a meeting with Frank Gotch for the world's championship. The Italian and the Pole are to come together at Madison Square Garden on Christmas night, and Gotch sent a telegram yesterday to a representative here in New York saying that he would be ready to meet the winner by the latter part of January. The stories to the effect that Gotch is going to retire are denied by the champion, as he says that he intends to keep in the game just as long as he can hold his own.
New York times Dec 19th 1911
Jenkins may Referee Wrestling Bout
Tom Jenkins, the ex-champion wrestler, will probably officiate as referee of the match between Stanislaus Zbyszko, the Pole, and Italy's champion, Giovanni Raicevich, which is to take place at Madison Square Garden on Christmas night. The managers of the bout and Raicevich have agreed upon Jenkins as a third man in the ring, and the consent of Jack Herman is all that is neccessary to seetle that question
New York Times December 20th 1911
Zybszko Coming here Today
Stanislaus Zbyszko, who is to oppose Giovanni Raicevich, the Italian champion, in the wrestling match at Madison Square Garden next Monday evening, will arrive in town today to finish training for the coming struggle. His manager, Jack Herman, has cancelled half a dozen engagements, as he realizes that the Pole must be in the very best shape if he hopes to win from the Italian. Zbyszko does a great deal of outdoor work while training, and he will reel off eight or ten miles every morning through Central Park to improve his wind, and then take on half a dozen big fellows at Cooper's Gymnasium in the afternoon. Since the Pole arrived in this country a couple of months ago he has been wrestling almost every night in towns throughout the East and Middle West, and it will not take much work to put him right on edge for a gruelling contest
December 25th 1911
WRESTLERS AT THE GARDEN
Zybszko to Throw Raicevich Three Times in 90 Minutes
Madison Square Garden is to be the scene of another wrestling match tonight, when Stanislaus Zbyszko, the Polish Champion, and Giovanni Raicevich, title holder of Italy, will be the principals. Zbyszko will undertake to throw the Italian three times within an hour and a half at catch-as-catch-can style. Tom Jenkins, the former champion, who is now wrestling instructor of the Naval Academy at West Point, has been selected to referee the contest. While the Italian persuaded Zbyszko into giving him a handicap, even the most ardent admirers of the Pole think that he is undertaking too much of a job, and the results is taht Raicevich has been a decided favorite.
Upon his first appearance here at Madison Square Garden several weeks ago Raicevich threw six men in eighteen minutes. He is famous throughout Europe for his tremendous strngth. Some of the big tournaments that he annexed last year were those held at Rome, Turin, Milan, Paris, London, Vienna, City of Mexico, and Buenos Aires.
Zbyszko is better known to local followers of the game and made a great impression with the New York wrestling fans last year in a match at Madison Square Garden against Hackenschmidt.
New York Times December 26th 1911
ITALIANS BREAK UP BIG WRESTLING BOUT
Thought Raicevich Won, Swarm Around Their Idol and Carry Him from Mat
The Wrestling Match at Madison Square Garden last night between Giovannia Raicevich, the Italian heavyweight, and Stanislaus Zbyszko, the giant Pole, came to a sudden end in the scond bout, when the Italian's enthusiastic admirers mistook Referee Tom Jenkin's slap on Raiceich's broad back as a signal for a fall. Jenkins tapped the Italian because one of Zbyszko's shoulders was off the mat.
Raicevich had Zbyszko pinned to the floor in the deadly clutches of a crotch and half nelson hold. One shoulder was on the green mat and the other was on the white canvasss. The Italian knew he had his man down. and when he felt the referee's slap he got up and walked to his corner. This was the signal for an uproar. Thousands of enthusiastic Italians jumped from their seats adn rushed around the ring, and the special policemen were powerless to stop them. Raicevich was grabbed by admiring friends and carried in supposed triumph aroun the Garden. The big Pole Stood dumbfounded, waiting for the Italian to come back and wrestle some more. Referee Tom Jenkins was besieged with questions. He said it was no fall adn taht he slapped the Italian to make him get back in the centre of the ring.
Raicevich does not understand English and did not wait for any explanation. By the terms of the match, one fall for him meant victory. For half an hour after this happening the Italians, including Enrico Caruso, the Italian tenor, stood about and made the Garden shake with their cheers and yells. They were satisfied that Raicevich had won and one of the officials of the show said that if any one had insisted on the Pisa giant coming back to get the fall over again he was afraid the Garden would be torn down in a riot. So the match came to an unsatisfacory finish. According to the referee, neither man had complied with the conditions of the contest, and therefore it was no match at all. Zbyszko agree to throw Raicevich three times in an hour and a half, and if the Italian got one fall he was to be declared the winner. Raicevich says he got his fall fair enough, and declares he was a winner. The referee asserts taht the fall was illegal because the victim, Zbyszko, was not on the mat.
The crowd didn't number more than 4000, but it had the cheering power of 40,000, and it was very much in favor of the Italian. There were many Poles there to admire the Polish lawyer-grappler, but their cheers were hopelesly drowned in the mad outburst of applause which occurred every few minutes for the Italian.
Zbyszko won the first fall in 37:50, after he had let Raicevich wear himself out to an almost exhausted condition. When the Italian was panting like a deer Zbyszko got a combination cross-arm hold, and with all the power and weight of his herculean body crushed the Italian to the mat in the irresistible grip. Zbyszko weighed aobut 250 and the Italian 225. The big Pole was as strong as a lion, and mauld Raicevich around the canvas easily. Zbyszko doesn't know many of the tricks and finer points of wrestling, for several times he had his opponent in a dangerous position when an ordinary wrestling hold would have finished him. When Zbyszko saw that he could get no effective clutch on his opponent he took things easy and let Raicevich pull, maul, and tussle away at his big body. Raicevich worked so hard trying to turn the Pole over that the perspiration poured off him in a stream.
Both wrestlers looked fat and anything like athletes. They were bulky and clubsy. Zbyszko seemed to have enough strength to push over a bridge, but he didn't know how to use it. Raicevich's arms were too short to get around the Pole's great waist. Zbyszko was barefooted, and Raicevich often tried to get a toe hold, and his effors to extract pain from the Pole's big toe would have made Frank Gotch chuckle with glee.
Raicevich was tired after the first but he was rubbed and revivved by willing hands. He cane out of his corner for the second bout with a spring step. Rushing at Zbyszko he threw him to the canvas hard with a leg hold. After a few minutes hard work he had a crotch hold and a half Nelson, and put every ounce of strength into a final effort to jam the Polish giant down. Slowly but surely the Pole went down, and the crowd saw that his shoulder were both pinned to the floor. They thought that Referee Jenkins's slap meant a victory for the Italian, and they waited for no more. A wild scramble for the ring followed, men tumbling and falling over each otehr to climb to the ring and congratulate the Italian hero from Pisa. Hundreds of fish horns joined in the noise-making and such a nerve jarring, ear-splitting racket the Garden has seldom heard.
The management was unable to check the outburst of Italian enthusiasm, and although the referee said it was no fall Raicevich was declared the winner by his fellow-countrymen. When they finished cheering Raicevich they turned to Caruso and Scotti and kept up the noise until the singers had left the Garden. It was a great night for the Italians, and they did not pay any attention to a little technicality like one shoulder not being on the mat, even if the rules of wrestling do say something about it. Referee Jenkins was in a bad fix. He tried to explain what he meant by slapping Raicevich's back, but his explanation was lost in the racket. Hats were thrown in the air, papers were sent flying, and everybody was so excited that the management could do nothing but let the excitement cool down and allow the people to file out of the Garden
Among the notable Italians present to enthuse over Raicevich were Enrico Caruso and Antonio Scotti of the Metropolitan Opera Company; Chevalier Barsotto, proprietor of Il Progresso; several members of the Italian Consulate of this city; Caesar Conti, the importer; Ernesto Ubertino, one of the Waldorf-Astoria chefs, and scores of others. The two top galleries were crowded with cheering Italians and Poles, but the arena seats were not half filled. Many of the boxes were occupied by parties which included many women.
The names of the wrestlers who took part in the preliminaries were assumed to fit the occasion. Young Sharkey, alias McDonough, became Ignace Galewski. He was thrown twice by Nicola Montagno, alias Young Monday. Montagno tossed Galewski down for keeps after twelve minutes of wrestling. Montagno, to show that he held no ill-will against his victim kissed him affectionately. Then he threw him again in four minutes. Johnny McLaughlin, the Irish lad, threw Victor Pierce of Vienna with a half Nelso in eleven minutes and thirty seconds.
Jim Galvin, who is champion of something or other in Ireland, and Neil Olsen, the great Dane, had a real old-fashioned slugging, gouging match. Galvin and the Dane are old actors at the game, and they made the emotional crowd believe they were going to tear their hair outb by the roots. Galvin won the first fal in ten minutes and forty seconds,a nd Olsen took the second with a flying fall in six minutes and forty seconds. Then Galvin wanted to fight---or made believe he did. Referee Johnny Dunn was in the fray, too, and just ducked on of Galvin's gate-like swings. All this pleased the crowd. It was a well-acted draw.
New York Times December 27th 1911
Challenge for Zybszko
Henry Pollock, manager for Raicevich, the Italian wrestler, who figured in the unsatisfactory bout with Zbyszko at the Garden Monday night, yesterday came out with a challenge to Zbyszko for a return match. The challenge read as follows:
"I want to get Zyszko in a finish match with Raicevich and I am willing to back the Italian for any amount up to $5,000 and wrestle- winner take all. The outcome of the match at Madison Square Garden on Christmas night was just as unsatisfactory to Raicevich and myself s it was to the general public. The whole trouble was due to the fact that the Italian could not understand English, and that Tom Jenkins is not a master of the language of sunny Italy. When Raicevich left the ring he thought he had won the match, and when he was told in his dressing room that a question had been raised, he wanted to return to the mat. His countrymen, however, prevented him almost by brute force from doing so. He will take on Zbyszko, either in public or in private, and will bet almost an unlimited amount, as I have received more than a dozen communications today from wealthy Italians in this city offering to back their champion for any amount that I can get down. Zbyszko or hi manager, please write."
Gotch Wrestles Munro Today.
KANSAS CITY Dec. 26.- Frank Gotch, champion wrestler of the world, arrived here from Humbolt, Iowa, today to complete his training for his match with Alec Munroe champion of Great Britain, here tomorrow night.
New York Times December 28th 1911
GOTCH IN STRAIGHT FALLS
World's Wrestling Champion easily Defeats Alex Monro
KANSAS CITY, MO,.Cd . 27 Frank Gotch, world's wrstling champion defeated Alex Monro, the English champion in straight falls here tonight. The first fall came in 12 minutes and ?? seconds. The second in 8 minutes and 5 seconds, with a half nelson and crotch hold.
New York Times December 31st 1911
Gotch quits mat with clean record
"Boys, I am done. This is positively my final appearance on the mat."
These few words, addressed to the newspaper men at the ringside in Kansas City Wednesday night, after Frank Gotch had scored an easy victory over Alec Munro, the British wrestling champion, was the final message to the sporting world of Frank Gotch, the world's premier mat artist. Turning to Jim Asbel, his trainer, Gotch threw him the bath robe which he had worn in every match since his memorable encounter with George Hackinschmidt on April 3, 1908, and said: "Keep this to remember me by."
Ordinarily the "farewell appearance" of those who are monopolizing the spotlight must be taken with a bit of doubt, but there are few men who are gifted with the perspicacity and strength of character and a lot of other things like that to ooze gently and voluntarily out of the limelight before they are either thrown out or knocked out. But those who know Frank Gotch personally take what he says seriously. It is a habit one gets from hanging around in the immediate vicinity of the Iowa farmer.
Everybody who is accustomed to glance over sporting pages knows Frank Gotch, champion wrestler. But in Humboldt, Iowa, Gotch, the athlete, comes second to Frank Gotch, stock raiser, banker, president of a street railway company and also an electric light company. It is the latter person of whom the entire population of Humboldt waxes eloquent. While on the mat Gotch has been gaining undying fame through his ability to grasp an opponent by the toes and twist his gambrel joint into his hip pocket, but it is Gotch, the man, who has been whacking a far more enduring dent into the hearts of those with whom he has come into personal contact through his impressive personality.
Not in the athletic world today is there a man with a stronger personality than Frank Gotch. The pity of it is that the wrestling game, fallen on evil days through sharp practices and shady tactics of its opponents, has not known more men of the Gotch type.
It is his moral courage and strength of character that have enabled Frank Gotch to keep his name clear of stain while engaged in a profession that has come to be looked upon with something more than suspicion. Never during his long career on the mat has there been any hint of a frame-up in any contest with which Gotch has been connected. And never has he been anything except the gentleman and the fair sportsman, whether he is trying to pin an opponent's shoulders to the mat or attempting to push through a new deal in real estate. Frank Gotch is the one bright spot on the darkened horizon of the wrestling game, and he is one champion who has helped to keep the profession of which he is the ablest exponent from slipping entirely down to disgrace.
Wrestling was the sport of the ancient Greeks, the perfect race. It was the test of skill and strength that brought the highest honors of ancient Greece to the victor, and poets, orators, and the brains of the classic age vied with one another for the signal honor of wearing the laurel wreath of the champion wrestler. It remained for the modern promoter and the prest-day exponents of the mat game to drag down the sport of the classics and trail it in the mire of disgrace through their frame-ups. So when one is found who has waded safely through what has been staged in this money- grabbing era and still kept his skirts clean, in the parlance of the day, "You have to hand it to him."
Never in his career as a wrestler striving for high honors, or later as a champion, has Gotch attained any undesirable notoriety, and after every big match the first strain back to old Humboldt always numbered Gotch among its passengers. He has always avoided the white lights, the spotlight, and publicity, refrained from using liquor or tobacco in any form, and he leaves the mat with the enviable distinction of having lived the cleanest life of any man who has attained such high rank in the athletic world in recent times.
Down in Humboldt Frank Gotch is one of the solid citizens of the community. He owns two properties in Humboldt, his own home, purchased after his marriage to a Humboldt girl last January, being the handsomest residence in the town, besides a large stock farm south of Humboldt, where he raises thoroughbred stock. He has money invested in Dakota and Canada lands, and following a successful match in Seattle he invested the proceeds from that match in city lots in Seattle, for which he has since been offered a sum equal to four times the original purchase price. He is a director in a bank, president of a street railway company and an electric light company, while his latest business venture is the automobile business, a large garage now being under construction for him in Humboldt. While Gotch won't talk of his money matters himself and his Humboldt banker never tells, it is estimated down there among the "folks" that Gotch is worth in the neighborhood of a half million dollars.
In spite of Referee Smith's statement following Gotch's defeat of Hackenschmidt in Chicago last Labor Day, to the effect that nobody would appear within the next ten years who could throw Gotch, Gotch himself says that he can feel himself slipping, and he has decided to retire from the game before he is defeated. Gotch is now 33 years of age, has taken the best of care of his physical condition, but while he still retains his former strength, he says himself that he can notice a falling off in his former desire to force the action in a match, and that where he would formerly force an opponent he is now content to wait for the other man to come to him. He says he noticed this particularly in the last match in which he defended his title, the one with Hackenschmidt in Chicago on Labor Day. He further adds that he has all the glory that is coming to him, and that the public will never see him as one of the actors in a scene such as was pulled off in Reno on the Fourth of July, 1910, wherein he again shows his good sense and sound judgment.
Gotch was born at Humboldt, Iowa, where he has always made his home, on April 27, 1878, of German parents. He weighs 210 pounds and stands 5 feet 11 1/2 inches. On April 2, 1899, he engaged in his first professional match with Marshall Green at Humboldt and he won the match. Previous to this time he had shown great form as an amateur wrestler in and about his home town. His victory over Green caused his fame to spread, and on June 16 of the same year he wrestled Dan McLeod, then a widely known mat artist, at Luverne, Iowa. Gotch lost this match, and he also lost on Dec. 16 of the same year to Farmer Burns at Fort Dodge, Iowa. Burns was recognized as one of the best wrestlers of that time. Burns was so attracted by Gotch's work that he took Frank to Klondike in 1901 after the Iowa farmer had won five matches in 1900. In the Klondike region Gotch won all his matches, winning victories over the four best men of that section. On his return Gotch won five more victories in a row, one being over Carl Pons, the much-touted German wrestler. Gotch was then matched with Tom Jenkins, the U.S. champion, and in the contest, which came off at Cleveland on Feb. 22, 1903, Gotch was defeated.
After a number of successive wins, two being over Farmer Burns, Gotch got a return match with Jenkins in the following year and won the title. His professional career since that time is too well known to call for repetition. Since his first professional match in 1899, Gotch's record shows a string of 140 matches. Of these he won 132 and the defeats were most in handicap matches. In addition to these victories Gotch defeated more than 200 men in exhibition handicap matches and toured England, where he defeated all comers. Gotch's greatest performance was at Chicago on June 1, 1910, when he pinned Zbyszko's shoulders to the mat in 6 1/4 seconds. His wonderful endurance was shown in his first match with Hackenschmidt, when the German gave up after two hours and three minutes.