Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chicago Boxing Basketball Stags Cowgirls Doc and Dempsey

. On September 19, 1949Chicago's old Orchard Depot Airport was renamed O'Hare International Airport. There is an urban myth that O'Hare Airport is named for a gangster in the Al Capone organization, which is not true. Butch O'Hare's father was a bookkeeper with Capone but later turned state's evidence to help convict Capone of Income Tax Evasion.) On Sept 19 1949 Dempsey Hovland lived in Chicago Illinois and attended the public announcement event with the future Mayor Daley  by invitation. The Chicago Stadium was more recognizable and known than the airport which was not the world famous airport it is today. Chicago's Northwest Rail System surpassed the air terminal .
Chicago was known for Al Capone St Valentines Day Massacre The Stockyards and the Great Chicago Fire. The cities reputation was not positive for racial equality that was not true with the sports business. Chicago included black players in ther pro basketball squad, supported the Harlem Globetrotters who were from Chicago not  Harelm NY as they were promoted  the windy city was home to the African Amerian women's basketball  team The Roma's in the 1930's an industrial traveling team.

Chicago StadiumBack in the late 1940s, team owner
ship would often schedule pro-college doubleheaders using local area schools in an effort to help fill seats.
(Photo and memorabilia courtesy of Bob Rosenberg)

The Chicago Stags were founded in 1946 and folded in 1950. Despite their short history, they were able to acquire the draft rights to a young Bob Cousy in a trade with the Tri-Cities Blackhawks (although he never played a game for them). When the Stags folded, a dispersal draft was held to divide up their players around the league. Bob Cousy was drafted by the Boston Celtics. Despite their short existence in the BAA and NBA, the Chicago Stags were rather successful in league play, making their way to the BAA finals in 1947 only to lose to the Philadelphia Warriors.

Chicago Stadium

Built in the early 1920s, the Chicago Stadium was considered by many to be one of the finest and loudest indoor arenas in the United States.
(Photo and memorabilia courtesy of Bob Rosenberg)

Chicago also became the city where basketball took a big step toward crossing the “color line.” From 1939 to 1948, the World Professional Tournament was played in the city, where black and white teams would routinely face off, setting the stage for the Stags. In the 1948 preseason, the Stags invited six African-American players to try out; on October 9, 1948, The New York Age announced, “Color Line is Broken in Basketball Assn. of America: Six Join Chicago Stags”. The team was gone before the 1950 season.

Max “The Touch” ZaslofskyIn their four year history (1946-50), the C
hicago Stags made the playoffs each season and compiled an impressive 145-92 overall record (.612). The team’s best player was a 6’2” guard out of St. John’s, Max “The Touch” Zaslofsky (10).
(Courtesy of Bob Rosenberg)

Following agitation to end the ban, notably by theChicago Tribune, boxing was legalized in 1926, upon which the Illinois Boxing Commission was organized. In 1927, in the largest live boxing gate in history, 104,000 fans at Soldier Field watched Gene Tunney defeat Jack Dempsey in the famous “long-count” fight. The Chicago Stadium, opened in 1929, became an important boxing venue, hosting many major championship bouts.
In 1928, the Chicago Tribune inaugurated the Golden Gloves amateur competition. The sport thrived, with boxers being trained and promoted by such private gyms as Coulon's (1154 East 63rd Street), founded in 1925 by one-time bantamweight champion Johnny Coulon. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago was important in the sport's promotion, becoming the biggest sponsor of youth boxing through the Catholic Youth Organization, the Knights of Columbus, and the Catholic High School League. The ChicagoPark District also nurtured and promoted boxing in the city.

The Marigold Gardens on the North Side emerged in the 1930s as the most significant venue for local professional bouts. Lightweight Barney Ross became a hero in the West Side Jewish community in the 1930s. In the 1940s, middleweight Tony Zane, from Gary, also captured the city's fancy.

In 1949, boxing promoter James Norris and Chicago Stadium owner Arthur Wirtz formed the International Boxing Club, which controlled pro boxing competition before being broken up by the federal government as a monopoly in 1957. During that time the Chicago Stadium played host to many of the biggest fights in the country, featuring such boxers as Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Marciano, and Floyd Patterson. In 1961, Wirtz ended boxing matches at the Stadium, and thereafter Chicago declined as a boxing town.

In 1949  the first million dollar boxing gate manager checks into the Lincoln Park North Hotel ,a  31 year old young man introduces himself to Kearns  a mere 4 weeks later the man in



The team played exhibition games at the Mad House on Madison  in 1949 hitting the road in 1950 as the premier top gate seller in women's barnstorm basketball for 28 years

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