Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Profile: Barney Ross


This wasn't planned, but a second Ross in a row? What are the odds?

I originally wanted to do this profile as comic panels, drawn, but then realized neither of us have ANY artistic ability.


  1. Barney Ross is an all-time favorite of mine, someone I've admired since my father talked about growing up with one of his nephews, a guy whose family shortened the name to Rassof. My father said they used to tease the nephew sometimes, calling him "Bite yer" or "Kick yer" but that it never went beyond something gentle and respectful. They knew whose nephew he was and, while I think they liked him well enough for himself, they looked up to Barney as a real hero.

    And then there's the story that his orthodox mother (the part about her "going mad" is new to me -- I'm pretty certain she recovered) would walk from the West Side to watch him fight. She wouldn't drive on shabbos, so she'd start out walking through sometimes dicey neighborhoods, and before long others joined her. It would be a kind of parade of Jews going to support him.

    And there's another chapter to the epic story: Ross was so badly wounded during the war that, in his treatment, he developed a morphine addiction. He was close to living on the streets, a real bum, and then he rallied to kick the habit. (As I understand it, the first movie about his life came out when he was so doped up that he couldn't get around to claiming his full legal rights on it.) That's a big deal any time it happens, but it was even bigger when there was so much less understanding about addition and so much less support.

  2. That's a fine Jew. Give the mensch a 15. A 16, in truth, sounds even better.

  3. He probably got the 4 because he changed his name to something Goyishe sounding, I'd imagine.

  4. As a rule, athletes can't get an O of 5...

  5. Well, so did Melvin Kaminsky and he is a perfect 15.

  6. Wow, what a story, I never knew!