Tag Archives: Jess Willard

Collins’ “Ten Commandments”

5 Oct

The Philadelphia Inquirer said in February of 1916, Eddie Collins of the Chicago White Sox, had broken “into the ‘Gospel League,’ after  the second baseman gave a temperance speech in front of “500 persons” at the Epworth Methodist Church in Palmyra, New Jersey church.

collins2

Eddie Collins

Despite Collins telling his audience he wasn’t  “contemplating a pulpit career,” the paper said they “(A)pplauded like World Series fans when he handed ‘booze’ some wallops that would have done credit to Billy Sunday.”

Collins’ talk focused on the evils of alcohol:

“I come to bring a message to your young people, from a baseball player’s viewpoint, of the necessity of clean living and I will be glad if anything I say will help any of you fight the battle of life…Temperate living in necessary for success in any field of action.”

He also praised his former manager from the pulpit:

“Life is a whole lot like playing baseball under Connie Mack’s orders.  Mack is the greatest baseball general the world has ever known and any man who has ever played on the old Athletics honors respects and loves the boss.”

Sunday said he approved of Collins taking to pulpit and providing a “boost” for baseball:

“The way to make the great game respectable is for every player to be respectable himself.”

The Inquirer told readers the following day that the Columbia University graduate had little in common with the evangelist who often mangled the language:

“The statement that Eddie Collins is emulating Billy Sunday is entirely erroneous…Eddie had a perfect record at the bat and fielded cleanly with the King’s English.”

Billy Sunday, evangelist

Billy Sunday, evangelist

Within a week, The Philadelphia Press said:

“Eddie Collins’ dip into evangelism has had a home-run effect among church people throughout the country, and he now is swamped with invitations to address church congregations, bible classes, and Sunday school meeting.

“The requests have swept in upon him at his home in Lansdowne (Pennsylvania) in such a deluge that he said today he had reached the point where he would have to give up base ball if he were to meet all the engagements asked.”

Collins told a reporter:

“I am gratified to learn that my little talk of last Sunday and my rules of life amounted to something but I don’t rank as an evangelist and can’t follow that calling.”

Instead of leaving the diamond for the pulpit, Collins printed and had distributed to churches, several thousand copies of part of the talk, what he called “The Ten Rules of Life.”

Some reporters, including William Peet of The Washington Herald, referred to the list as “Collins’ Ten Commandments:”

First: Safeguard your honor

Second: Don’t overeat

Third: Be a good loser

Fourth: Smile

Fifth: Keep good hours

Sixth: Have courage to do right

Seventh: Don’t think you know it all

Eighth: Be prompt

Ninth: Don’t drink alcoholic drinks

Tenth: Think clean thoughts.

Collins’ statements about alcohol were used by various temperance organizations seeking prohibition.  Ads like the one below with quotes from Collins, Ty Cobb, and Connie Mack, and Admiral Robert Peary, as well as boxers Jess Willard, John L. Sullivan, and Joe Stecher appeared in newspapers and handbills distributed throughout the country.

temperance

Lost Advertisements–Lajoie for Nuxated Iron

7 Aug

lajoienuxated

 

Not to be outdone by Ty Cobb, Harry Hooper and Joe Jackson who also endorsed the new “miracle drug” from DAE Health Laboratories in Detroit in 1916, Napoleon Lajoie took his turn in an advertisement for Nuxated Iron.

Napoleon Lajoie–World’s Greatest Veteran Baseball Player–‘Comes Back’ says Nuxated Iron Has Given him Tremendous New Force, Power and Endurance After 23 Years’ Service He Can Now Go Through The Hardest Game Without Fatigue–Physicians’s Opinion

Lajoie’s testimonial for the product said:

“When a man gets past forty, some people seem to think he is finished, especially where athletics are concerned.  But I believe the way I play today proves that the strength, vitality and youthful ginger which are the chief assets of young fellows, can be possessed to just as a great a degree by a man of my age if he keeps his body full of iron.  Nuxated Iron has put the ‘pep of youth’ into my whole body.”

Most doctors disagreed with Lajoie’s assessment.

The Journal of the American Medical Association took notice of the Nuxated Iron ad campaign and in October of 1916 had this to say about the “miracle drug:”

“Newspapers whose advertising ethics are still in the formative stage have, for some months past, been singing—at so much a song—the praised of “Nuxated Iron.”  The public has been that this nostrum is what makes Ty Cobb, “the greatest baseball batter of all time,” a “winner” and is what helped Jess Willard “to whip Frank Moran” besides being the “untold secret” of Willard’s “great triumph over Jack Johnson.”

All that DAE would say about the ingredients were:

“Formula—The valuable blood, nerve force and tissue building properties of this preparation are due to organic iron in the form of ferrum peptonate in combination with nux vomica (strychnine) phosphoglycerate and other valuable ingredients.

But alas, The AMA Journal was not impressed with the claims made by Nuxated Iron’s endorsements:

“The Journal felt that it owed it to the public to find out just how much iron and nux vomica there were in ‘Nuxated Iron.’  Packages of the nostrum…were subjected to analysis.”

What the analysis found was that the formula that made Ty Cobb a “winner,” offered no health benefits:

“There is only one-twenty-fifth of a grain of iron in each ‘Nuxated Iron’ tablet, while the amount of nux vomica…is practically negligible…In a dollar bottle of ‘Nuxated Iron’ the purchaser gets, according to our analysis, less than 2 ½ grams of iron; in 100 Blaud’s Pills, which can be purchased at any drug store for from 50 to 75 cents, there are 48 grains of iron.”

To sum up their analysis The Journal called the claims made by Nuxated Iron “the sheerest advertising buncombe.”

Cobb was said to have earned as much as $1000 for his endorsement, there is no record of what Lajoie was paid.

Nuxated Iron remained on the market until at least 1921; although by then they had sought a higher power to endorse the product.

Portions of this post appeared in one about the Cobb advertisement for Nuxated Iron, published February 15, 2013.

 

Ty Cobb, Joe Jackson, Harry Hooper and Quackery

15 Feb

Baseball history is full of stories of products that have been routinely used in the belief they give players an edge.  Some, like steroids and amphetamines have obvious benefits; others like Power Balance bracelets provide none.

In 1916 advertisements began to appear in newspapers and magazines across the country for a new miracle drug from DAE Health Laboratories in Detroit: Nuxated Iron.

An ad featuring Ty Cobb said “Greatest Baseball Batter of all time says Nuxated Iron filled him with renewed life after he was weakened and all run down.”

Cobb said in the advertisement:

“At the beginning of the present season I was nervous and run down from a bad attack of tonsillitis, but soon the papers began to state ‘Ty Cobb has come back, he is hitting up the old stride.’ The secret was iron—Nuxated Iron filled me with renewed life.

“Now they say I’m worth $50,000 a year to any baseball team.”

cobbnux

Other ads for Nuxated Iron began to appear, featuring boxer Jess Willard, cyclist Freddie Hill and baseball stars Harry Hooper and Joe Jackson.  Hooper said:

“Since I have made Nuxated Iron a part of my regular training, I have found myself possessed of strength, power and stamina to meet the most severe strains.”

Jackson said:

Nuxated Iron certainly makes a man a live wire and gives him the ‘never-say-die strength and endurance.”

The illiterate Jackson added: “When I see in the papers ‘Jackson’s batting was responsible for the Chicago victory,” I feel like adding to it—‘Nuxated Iron puts the power behind the bat and gives the needed punch to every play.’”

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The Journal of the American Medical Association took notice of the Nuxated Iron ad campaign and in October of 1916 had this to say about the “miracle drug:”

“Newspapers whose advertising ethics are still in the formative stage have, for some months past, been singing—at so much a song—the praised of “Nuxated Iron.”  The public has been that this nostrum is what makes Ty Cobb, “the greatest baseball batter of all time,” a “winner” and is what helped Jess Willard “to whip Frank Moran” besides being the “untold secret” of Willard’s “great triumph over jack Johnson.”

All that DAE would say about the ingredients were:

“Formula—The valuable blood, nerve force and tissue building properties of this preparation are due to organic iron in the form of ferrum peptonate in combination with nux vomica (strychnine) phosphoglycerate and other valuable ingredients.

But alas, The AMA Journal was not impressed with the claims made by Nuxated Iron’s endorsements:

“The Journal felt that it owed it to the public to find out just how much iron and nux vomica there were in ‘Nuxated Iron.’  Packages of the nostrum…were subjected to analysis.”

What the analysis found was that the formula that made Ty Cobb a “winner,” offered no health benefits:

“There is only one-twenty-fifth of a grain of iron in each ‘Nuxated Iron’ tablet, while the amount of nux vomica…is practically negligible…In a dollar bottle of ‘Nuxated Iron’ the purchaser gets, according to our analysis, less than 2 ½ grams of iron; in 100 Blaud’s Pills, which can be purchased at any drug store for from 50 to 75 cents, there are 48 grains of iron.”

To sum up their analysis The Journal called the claims made by Nuxated Iron “the sheerest advertising buncombe.”

Contemporary sources said Cobb earned as much as $1000 for his endorsement of Nuxated Iron; there is no record of what Hooper or Jackson were paid, but all three disappeared as paid spokesmen for the product by early 1917.

Nuxated Iron stayed on the market, and stayed in the crosshairs of the AMA until at least 1921.  But by then, the company no longer used baseball players to sing their players.

The 1921 ad campaign for Nuxated Iron sought a higher authority to promote the product’s benefits, and featured a picture of Pope Benedict XV under the headline:

“The Vatican at Rome Recommends Nuxated Iron.”

pope

Ollie Pecord

26 Sep

Oliver T. Pecord had a brief minor league career during the last decade of the 19th century, but for a brief time was known around the world for his pivotal role in another sport.

Born April 5, 1869, in Troy, NY, Pecord began his career in 1890 with the Flint Flyers in the Michigan League.  Pecord is credited with a .371 career average, but the available statistics appear incomplete.   For example, several newspaper accounts put Pecord with the Columbus Reds of the Western League in 1892, but there are no surviving statistics for 1892 for Pecord with any ballclub.

pecord

Ollie Pecord

After playing in the Southern Association, Western League and Eastern Iowa League (where he is credited with a .660 average, 31 for 47 in 14 games with Rock Island in 1895) Pecord left professional baseball to focus on boxing.

Pecord was a popular fighter, and while mentioned often for bouts in and around his home in Toledo, he appears to have been a journeyman and unknown outside of Ohio.  In 1900, Pecord turned his attention to work as an umpire for local semi-pro baseball leagues, managing fighters, and serving as a boxing referee.

Pecord went from a local sports figure to being known nationally when, in 1919, he was named as referee of the July 4 fight in Toledo between challenger Jack Dempsey and champion Jess Willard.

Pecord was at the center of the fight’s two controversies.  The ringside bell had malfunctioned and replaced by a whistle which Pecord, nor anyone else in the crowd, could hear.  Willard, knocked down for the seventh time in that round, was counted out by Pecord who raised Dempsey’s arm, and Dempsey left the ring.  But the round had actually ended at the count of seven; Pecord informed Dempsey’s manager Jack Kearns that the fight was not over and his fighter needed to return to the ring.

Pecord in the ring with Dempsey and Willard

Pecord in the ring with Dempsey and Willard

Willard was unable to answer the bell for the fourth round and Dempsey was declared the winner, but because Willard’s corner did not throw in the towel until after the fourth round had begun, it fell to Pecord to rule exactly when, and how the fight ended.  Two days later Pecord ruled the fight ended by a knockout in the third round.

This was not an insignificant decision because of the huge amount of money wagered on the bout—as an example, it was reported by the Associated Press that a man in Chicago who ran pari-mutual machines and a book on the fight, made $82,500 on the fight; $25,000 more than he would have made if Pecord ruled the fight over in the fourth round.

After the controversy around the fight died down, Pecord returned to relative obscurity nationally, but remained a popular figure in Toledo and served as a fight referee until the mid-thirties when illness forced his retirement.

Pecord died in Toledo on July 1, 1941.  The Toledo Blade called him “(T)he most prominent figure in sports Toledo has ever produced.”