Saturday, January 17, 2009
Sunday, June 16 1907 -- Taken on its own, Herriman's cartoon doesn't yield well to interpretation; in fact he's more or less illustrating an editorial by the Examiner's sports guru, C. E. Van Loan. Van Loan was given to tortuous flights of hyperbole, and in today's editorial on boxing he takes the metaphor of crockery for stamina to heights, or depths, never before plumbed. Luckily the photocopy on which the cartoon appeared includes almost all of Van Loan's article, so here it is for your edification:
Question Will Not Be Answered Until Great Little Lightweight Again Enters Squared Circle
BY C.E.VAN LOAN
The pitcher which makes too many trips to the well gets chipped in time, and it does not make any difference how durable the pitcher is to begin with. Dresden china Is likely to go out of business the very first iourney. The old stone mug will make several round trips, but they both meet on the ash heap when all is over.
Constant dropping wears away the granite and a constant popping on the chin will get the toughest fighter that ever pushed his gnarled mitts into a padded glove. All of which brings us very naturally to the question now agitating the public mind:
Did that old black well at Goldfield chip a hole in Bat Nelson's jar, or didn't it?
Tom Sharkey was the proprietor of a very tough mug—and this goes both ways even if he sees it. He carried it to all sorts of wells all the way from Honolulu to Belfast, Ireland. He never shirked a chance to trot his stoneware out on the firing line and it was a nice mark and easy to hit. One night he went up against a man named Jeffries in San Francisco. The mug didn't break, but it lost a few chips here and there. Two years later Sharkey tried again at Coney Island and after the fight was over he had nothing left but the handle. He made a few trips to various wells after that but he carried nothing away. Jeffries put Sharkey's mug out of business. Kid Broad was another lad with a fine durable stamina jar. A Mexican person got a good crack at Broad's crockery one night in Butte and now the unbeaten boy with the harelip is chief booster for a rubberneck automobile. HIS jar went out of business and it never held water after
[missing from photocopy]
mending will make it the same again. The mischief is done when the flrst crack appears.
Young Corbett carried his pitcher to the well where the wealthy water sparkles. The Tiffany water ate the lining out of Rothwell's jar, and it was not long before all the second-raters were carrying away bits of crockery as souvenirs.
Eddie Hanlon once had a stein that nobody could dent. He was so proud of this fact that he carted it to every well he could find. Everybody had a crack at Hanlon's indestructible property. And one day the bottom dropped out. Fellow named Yonug Corbett did it, but there is a theory that Eddie's stein had been weakened by several bombardments.
At the present time there is a small well In the middle of the featherweight field entirely surrounded by bits of crockery of all kinds. Just how long Attell will remain in the business is a matter for conjecture.
Of late years Bat Nelson has been the wonder of the lightweight division. Of all the crockery his has been the toughest and most often assaulted. He won out in the endurance class and he won all by himself.
At Goldfield Nelson's jar went up against a fearful bumping. No other jar would have stood it so long. Ever since then Bat has been keeping his crockery under cover. Those who claim to have had peeps at it say that there is a hole In the bottom and that it will never hold the golden fluid again.
If this is true Nelson has gone the way of the world. The man was never born who could stand an unlimited amount ol slam-banging, and it is a significant fact that the tougher a man is the worse he breaks when he breaks at all.
If Nelson no longer has the stamina that enabled him to stand up and present his jaw to the star thumpers of the light weight division, he will be the softest mark in the business from now on. If his jar Is still intact lightweights will do
[missing from photocopy]
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons