THE GOTCH HACKENSCHMIDT FAKE THAT FAILED
COMISKEY’S ACT SAVED PUBLIC FROM ROBBERY
Baseball Man Brought Job to Police Chief's Attention; Bets Called off
HACKERSCHMIDT'S FOOT WAS BAD AND HE KNEW IT
Gotch Broke Agreement Not to Touch Sprained Leg in Match
By HUGH S. FULLERTON
Originally Published In The Reno Evening Gazette, Wednesday, November 18, 1914, Page 6.
Probably the most daring and as astounding attempt at pillaging the public by means of a fake athletic event in recent years was the wrestling mate between Champion Frank Gotch an the big German, George Hackenschmidt, which was staged at Comiskey Park, the home of the Chicago White Sox baseball team, on September 4. 1911.
Fortunately for the reputation of Gotch, his part in the effort to swindle the public, although Gotch had hints und assurances that Hackenschmidt was not in condition, and that he would not make any serious resistance the champion feared all the time that he might be "double crossed"—and that the reports might hide trickery. He certainly knew that Hackenschmidt was in poor shape—but took no chances.
The match attracted perhaps the greatest interest of any event in recent sporting history in the central west. Gotch is and was the idol of that entire section of the country, and the pitting or the champion against the giant German aroused a storm of enthusiasm. Gotch had announced his retirement, and he was lured out of it through promise of a large purse. Hackenschmidt, after a fairly satisfactory showing on a preceding visit to America, had gone home complaining of unfair treatment and stating that he could throw Gotch. The talk naturally aroused Gotch sentiment.
Through personal friends Charles Comiskey was induced to permit the match to be held at the ball park—at grand opera prices—Comiskey to receive scarcely enough to pay the expenses of cleaning the grounds.
The match was wonderfully advertised, and on the afternoon of the contest more than 20,000 persons were piled into the stands.
But three days prior to the match it became evident that something was wrong. There had been an abortive effort to put across a great betting coup—and the public refused to come in.
On the afternoon prior to the match ugly rumors began to pass around and, gradually, toward night, the rumor persisted that Hackenschmidt was suffering from a badly sprained leg and had agreed to wrestle only on condition Gotch did not touch that leg or use the famous toe hold. This was angrily denied by friends of the promoters.
During the following morning the rumors persisted. One Chicago paper learned so much that it printed a warning to all its readers to avoid the match.
The storms of angry comment arose and it was a suspicious and war crowd that gathered. An hour or so before the men were to go on the mat Comiskey held a conference with the wrestlers, promoters and referee. He told them plainly that they could not use his park to stage the robbery of the public. He and some others had taken the matter up with the chief of police, who ordered Referee Smith to call off all bets.
Before going onto the mat, Gotch calmly declared it didn't make any difference to him whether it was a fake or not—he was going out and throw Hackenschmldt.
The men stepped into the ring, and before the applause subsided, Referee Smith announced that by orders of the chief of police, he declared all bets off. An angry roar run through the crowd followed by a buzz of wonderment as to what it meant.
They did not have long to wait. Gotch and the German grappled standing for a moment, and Gotch hurled his antagonist to the floor. It was evident that Hackenschmidt was beaten and his effort seemed to be to keep one foot away from Gotch’s grip.
In five minutes Gotch grabbed, the foot. Hackensi.hmiat cried with pain, screamed aloud and Gotch quickly released the foot, slid his arm into a crotch hold —and Hackenschmidt rolled over onto his buck almost without a struggle. Time, 5 minutes 32 1-5 seconds. The second fall was a joke.
Hackenschmidt was in terror and looking for a chance to roll over easily—Gotch played with him and threw him in 19 minutes 50 2-5 seconds.
After the battle, Promoter Curley admitted that they had known for days that Hackenschmidt’s ankle was bad, too bad to wrestle, but he and others were in so deep they dared not post-bone. They carried out the match and took the people’s money to save themselves heavy loses.
Article contains photo of Gotch Hackenschmidt match with the following headline above the photo: DARING WAY IN WHICH THE PUBLIC WAS PILLAGED BY FAKE WRESTLING
Within the photo section is a framed cartoon drawing of Gotch with the word “winner” under the picture but within the frame. An arrow accompanied by the words “all framed” points to the drawing.
Caption below the photo reads: ACTUAL PICTURES TAKEN AT THE TIME OF THE MATCH SHOWING GOTCH GAINING HACKENSCHMIDT’S FALL
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