Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 6, 1994 · Page 27
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 27

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Monday, June 6, 1994
Page 27
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Monday, June 6, 1994 D-3 Greb was ion9 man of mystery GREB FROM PAGE D-l drinker and a carouser, but several people later revealed it was a setup, that Greb sipped orange juice and pretended to get drunk to fool some bettors. U - One popular story said his real , . iiowc was oerg, ana ne reversed r-the spelling when he began his career, but that has been staunchly denied, too. j .-.'He was a real Damon Run-yon-type character, and unbelievably tough," said Billy Conn Jr., , who learned about Greb at his I father's knee. Oreo was just 32 when he died, Oct. 22, 1926, during what now would be considered a routine nose operation. That was about 19 years before the dawn of c Pittsburgh's golden age of box- ing, featuring Conn, Fritzie Zivic, Teddy Yarosz and others. Greb never knew any of them. In those between-war years, Greb's career was still vivid for ; many, and those too young to - remember were drawn in. "All I know about Harry Greb was that he was Fritzie's idol, and we have a very large picture of him down in the gameroom," said Zivic's widow, Helen. It was the same with Conn, down to the large photo of Greb decked out in a tuxedo. "He always regretted that he couldn't meet Harry Greb," Conn's widow, Mary Louise, said. "He really talked about Harry . Greb very much." Conn who also is buried in Calvary Cemetery, in a lower section than Greb learned about Greb from his manager, Johnny Ray, who had been a sparring partner of Greb's. In addition, Conn's father-in-law, Greenfield Jimmy Smith, was a friend of Greb's. "That was his hero. Billy never : talked about himself; he talked about Harry Greb," said Ray ' Conley, owner of Conley's, a Law- - renceville bar where Conn and others associated with boxing have gathered over the years. Joey Diven, a former street h fighter and Conn contemporary, " said Conn began his career emulating Greb, to the point of rolling .... his socks down to the top of his leather shoes. Greb's name has slipped from much of Pittsburgh's conscience, I but not everywhere. "They still kick his name around in the bars and that stuff," Diven said. The Ring magazine last month named Greb the third-best mid- jfctjteweight ever, behind Sugar Ray I. noDinson ana uarios Monzon. "" Greb grew up dreaming of playing baseball. Those were tne days of Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Christy Mathewson and Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance. But Greb didn't have the talent. The ring was his calling. He was born Edward Henry, but switched to Harry the name of an older brother who had died when he began boxing. Greb fought in the no-decision champ Buchanan's soft touch leads Phantoms to win By Mark Madden Regional Sports Editor. Post-Gazette ; PORTLAND, Maine Trevor Buchanan has always been known for his hands. For throwing them, that is. Buchanan brawled his way to a mammoth 422 penalty minutes for ; Louisville of the East Coast Hockey League last winter. But in no-fight Roller Hockey International, Buchanan has to put his hands to more artistic use. And he did just that last night, scoring three goals to lead 'the Pittsburgh Phantoms to a 10-5 " win over the New England Stingers at the Cumberland County Civic Center in the RHI opener for both first-year teams. 4 The attendance was announced as 2,467, but appeared to be about half that. Buchanan also had an assist; linemate Glenn Clark had a goal and three assists. Also scoring for the Phantoms were Jamie Adams, ? Scott Burfoot, Brian Cook, George Wilcox, Kip Guenther and Jim fPeters. 3 Me Phantoms led 4-2 when Bu-jjhanan scored twice in a span of S&fifrin the second quarter to break alWflgS open. Kt -Buchanan con score. He had 26 goaIs and 26 assists in 65 ECHL games last winter. '4n ice hockey, when you're la-SC83 a fighter, you're expected to PSKPali the time," said Phantoms 'grfliffh Rick Kehoe. "Well, you can't jght-here, so a guy like Trevor is 5fiuES to get a chance to show his ..." . 1 I Off ftnira. Last winter, ne scurcu He might have had 40 if he w i 4 ifi -"fcu 3 S fits ( If ) It's not known when Greb posed for this photo, but it normally now rests in the home of late boxer Billy Conn's family. days of boxing, and so in 290 recorded bouts (some said there were even more), he had 168 no-decisions. He scored 46 knockouts and won 64 by decision. His style was quickly evident, and earned him the nicknames "Human Windmill" and "Pittsburgh Windmill." "He had incredible stamina, and he had a very unusual style," Conn Jr. said. "He threw punches from every angle. And he was very dirty. ' That wasn't overlooked, especially early. On Dec. 16, 1915, Greb was knocked out for the second and last time in his career, by Kid Graves in The Auditorium in Lawrenceville. Greb broke his left hand. A handwritten account by Richard Guy of the Pittsburgh Gazette-Times, on file at the Carnegie Library, pointed out that Greb was outboxed and landed only two punches. Greb, who often heard knocks that he didn't train enough, apparently didn't feel the need to defend his style. "Prizefighting ain't the noblest of arts, and I ain't its noblest artist," several sources quoted him as saying. But it worked. On May 23, 1922, Greb snatched the American light heavyweight title from Tunney in a bloody, 15-round match in New York. The blood was Tunney's, whose nose was broken in two places. Greb was 5 feet 8, 162 pounds. Tunney was 6-V4, 175, and the consensus was Tunney was badly whipped. It was the only loss in 100 bouts for Tunney, who regained that title from Greb nine months later. Tunney later beat Jack Dempsey for the world heavyweight crown. Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph sports editor Harry Keck chronicled Greb and in 1952 wrote a retrospective of his career. "No one was closer to Harry Greb than I," Keck wrote. And, "No Pittsburgh fighter has approached Greb in fistic stature, and we have had plenty of good ones." hadn't been in the box so much." The Phantoms outshot New England, 48-29. Phantoms goalie Alain Morissette, however, came up big several times. New England goalies Mike Parson and Dan Smith, despite the score, came up big all night as Pittsburgh dominated play. Morissette did not play pro hockey last winter. He had previously played minor-league hockey, but quit to go to college in his hometown of Rimouskie, Quebec. "I needed a summer job, and this is a nice one," he said. "Lots of shots, though . . . well, not too bad tonight." The Stingers had only been together for a few days. Four players, including ex-Penguin Paul Gardner, skated on in-line skates for the first time earlier yesterday. Gardner and the three others had been busy with Portland's American Hockey League team, which wrapped up a championship season last week. Gardner was an assistant coach with that team; the others played. "Pittsburgh did a lot of good things and scored in streaks," said Gardner, 38, who scored a goal. The Phantoms scored five in a row in the first half and three to end the game. "we played pretty well, and I think we re going to get better," said Kehoe. The Phantoms will certainly have time to work on getting better. They're off until their home opener on June 18 against Atlanta. Penguins center Bryan Trottier did not flay last night but will make his hantom debut in that contest. It was commonplace for Greb to fight and beat considerably bigger men. But the final few J ears of his career, he dominated is class. On Aug. 31, 1923, Greb won the world middleweight title from Johnny Wilson. He held that until Tiger Flowers beat him Feb. 26, 1926. Flowers was the first black middleweight champ. . A rematch was slated for Aug. 19, 1926. Fair's book reported that ' Greb had said this would be his last bout. It was in Madison Square Garden and went the 15 rounds, with Flowers taking the decision. Many thought Greb was robbed, including spectators who threw debris into the ring. William Muldoon, a spokesman for the New York Athletic Commission, admitted Greb had won, "but the decision will stand. If we reversed it, the Negro people might think they were being discriminated against." And Greb himself, sobbing, "The Tiger is all right. I got nothin' against him. But, but he's not a champion. He'll lose my title the first time he defends it against anyone who can fight." In fact, Flowers did lose in his next defense, against Mickey Walker Dec. 3. Greb didn't live to see his prediction come true. In mid-October, he was in an auto accident in Pittsburgh. On Oct. 22, he underwent surgery in Atlantic City, N.J., to clear out his nasal passages. He did not survive the operation. During the procedure, doctors discovered that Greb had been hiding the fact he was fighting while blind in one eye. It's believed he lost the sight in one eye when he fought Kid Norfolk on Aug. 29, 1921 meaning he was impaired for all his title bouts. "Billy Conn always said, why did he have to go there when we had Mercy Hospital here?" Con-ley recalled Flowers was also 32 when he died on an operating table in New York, on Nov. 16, 1927. $1,000.00 in FREE GRAFTS New Patient Offer I Jmitcd Time Only MICRO-SURGICAL HAIR TRANSPLANTATION Richard P. Giannotto, MD Board 8280 Pennsylvania Ave. For A Free Consultation Call 1.800-232-8555 ( 4 1 2 ) 864-6000 M"t Present This Ad Offer may be cancelled without notice 'Offer Applies to new patients only Mlnlmlum purchase of 1 50 Grafts required for special offer. (Offer may not be used with any other discounts.) TODAY'S WINNERS IN THE POST-GAZETTE ALL-STAR FANFEST TRIVIA CONTEST John Haraburda Felix SalMovlin Kaybcnmiat Maryurexier Charles P. Snyderwine Dan Kroll V7 Call 263-1 766 by 5:00 p.m. tomorrow to claim your prize I uok for dctuils in the Pul-(ii.clte Quinn searches for way to stop: Canucks' heads from swimming By Dave Molinari Post-Gazette Sports Writer" VANCOUVER, British Columbia Sure, Pat Quinn is worried about finding a way to contain New York Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch. He would like to see his team score a few power-play goals, too. And be a lot more aggressive offensively. But Quinn, coach of the Vancouver Canucks, said yesterday his primary concern heading into Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final tomorrow at Pacific Coliseum is persuading his players they can compete with the New York Rangers. "We still have to convince our guys they ought to be here in the final," he said. The Canucks were the seventh seeds in the Western Conference, and have surprised even themselves by reaching the championship round. "Each stage for us has been new territory," Quinn said. "There's still a learning curve we're going through. And hopefully, we can learn fast." They don't have much choice. The Canucks trail the series, 2-1, going into Game 4 tomorrow at 9:08 p.m. at Pacific Coliseum. Vancouver appears to be almost in awe of the Rangers, which does not bode well for the Canucks' prospects. "I, as a coach, have to be able to convince our guys this is not an invincible force we're against," Quinn said. "They're hockey players, they're flesh and blood." Quinn has no complaints with his players' effort, but their execution has been poor. And Quinn realizes sweat does not assure success. "We have a number of people trying to pick up the slack, but they're using the wrong tools," he said. "Trying harder is not as good as trying smarter." Bure cleared Brian Burke, the NHL vice president who handles supplementary discipline, said Vancouver forward Pavel Bure will not be suspended for high-sticking New York's Jay Wells during Game 3 Saturday. Bure got a five-minute major and automatic game misconduct after hitting Wells in the face with his stick at 18:21 of the first period, but Burke reviewed the incident and said, "it was not a suspendable offense." Bure is the driving force behind Vancouver's offense, and his absence was a critical factor in the Rangers' 5-1 victory. "I m sure he feels full responsibility for what happened," Quinn said "But I don't care if he feels remorse or not. All I want is for him to be ready Tuesday night." Music to their ears Actor Michael J. Fox's career as an entertainer stretches back to his youth in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, where he played guitar in a band called Sweeney Todd. The group never had much impact before dissolving, but things worked out well for Fox, as well as the guy who hauled the band's equipment around. That was a fellow named Glenn Anderson, who was raised about six blocks from Pacific Coliseum and has picked up the winning goals in Games 2 and 3. Canucks on hit parade Vancouver played the Shawn An-toski-John Mclntyre-Tim Hunter unit against Mark Messier's line in Game 3, and those Canucks made a Certified Surgeon and Micro-Sureon ML N. Huntingdon, PA 15642 Morgano Andrew M. Krajci Karen Bell PegPatti STANLEY CUP NOTEBOOK point of belting Messier at every opportunity. "With Mark being such a key player for their team, we wanted to play him physically," Quinn said. Chances are that strategy will be used again in Game 4, Decause wearing down key veterans such as Messier is key to the Canucks' chances of winning the series. "We want to hit Mark Messier as often as we can," Quinn said. "We just don't want three guys hitting him, I want 25 guys. They won't let me dress five more guys, though." Deal didn't pan out New York Coach Mike Keenan bristles at the mention of a trade the Rangers nearly made this spring, when they contemplated sending Alexei Kovalev to Vancouver for Petr Nedved. "First and foremost, we never agreed on it as an organization," Keenan said. "Neil Smith, New York's GM investigated it as an option." Nedved ultimately was sent to St. Louis for Craig Janney, who refused to report to Vancouver and was shipped back to the Blues for Jeff Brown, Bret Hedican and Nathan Lafayette. RESERVED PARKING IN OAKMONT FOR U.S.G.A. OPEN Park-n-Ride Shuttle Service CALL FOR RESERVATIONS (412) 828-2712 BEST ONE MAN BUSINESS EVER NO SELLING REQUIRED WILL NOT INTERFERE WITH PRESENT EMPLOYMENT Honest local person to own and operate a local route, servicing accounts like Supermarkets, Drug Stores, Video Stores, and others with exclusive product. No Selling. 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And he didnt even have to apply for a media credential. ; Van Roon is a a lighthouse keeper on the coast of British Columbia, and spends game nights fielding phone calls from commercial fishermen eager for updates on how the Canucks are faring. Tip-ins NHL Commissioner Gary Bett-man yesterday described negotiations tor a new collective bargaining agreement as "an exceedingly difficult, ongoing process." . . . Messier, on being so close to a Cup: "The next game is always the biggest game of your life. We seem to be finding that out as we go along." . . . Leetch has 28 points, tying Toronto center Doug Gilmour for the playoff scoring lead. . . . Keenan said defenseman Sergei Zubov, ,who missed Game 3 with a chest injury; "has a chance" to play tomorrowi Off ice Seating Showroom -Sample SALE Pgh's Biggest Selection! Chairs for Computer Users, Boardrooms, Executives, Reception Areas, Managers 40-70 Save MT. 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