Saturday, January 09, 2010


Herriman Saturday

Friday, October 4 1907 -- Frank Frayne and Jack Campbell, two old-time west coast bare-knuckle fighters, are going on the road to stage a series of exhibition bouts. Their aim, beyond making a few bucks, is to show the younger generation how 'real men' boxed in the good old days. Says Frayne:

A brutal game in those days? Well, yes and no. In the first place in those days we had no sickly boys, brought up to box twenty rounds to a decision. In these times the fighters -- or at least they are called fighters -- try to evade punishment. A fighter of the old times figured on taking the gaff and giving it at the same time. A man was properly trained in those days, and there have been more men killed in the ring in late years than there ever were in my day as a fighter. Why? Simply because fighting was not a business for a flat-chested, cigarette-smoking kid. It was a game for strong men who could stand up under punishment.
Frank goes on to describe a fight he once had with Martin Murphy, arranged by a group of rich men who wanted to see a bare-knuckle contest. He talks about each fighter smearing their hands with rosin so that the blows would open raw wounds on the opponent's body. The fight was contracted for six rounds, but the combatants became so angry at each other they went eight, after which the underwriters begged them to stop, fearing that they'd kill each other. Yup, definitely the good old days.

Saturday, October 5 1907 -- Rugby, generally not a very popular sport in the states, apparently flourished at the California universities in the 1900s. The coaches of the Stanford team were just back from a trip to Australia where they had gathered a whole new bag of tricks from the experts down under. The college's team was rumored to be a powerhouse as a result. The Stanford team arrived in L.A. in the middle of a downpour, but their fame preceded them and a group of club boosters showed up with cars to get them to the hotel. The players quickly changed into their gear and held a practice, despite the rain, so as not to disappoint a big crowd that had gathered to see them go through their paces.


A number of college switched from football to rugby in 1906 after a rash of players died from football injuries. It was so much a big issue that President Theodore Roosevelt met with college presidents and demanded changes. Eventually, rules were established to make football what it is today.
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