Dempsey Must Be Accepted in Lesson of Conservation of Earnings As Against “Game Chicken” And His Times

Damon Runyon

Birmingham News/January 8, 1923

NEW YORK, Jan. 8.—Jack Dempsey buys an apartment house in Los Angeles for $250,000 as an investment.

He already owns a home in Los Angeles that cost him over $100,000. He has property in Salt Lake City.

Dempsey is 27 years old. Seven years ago he was a hobo “mooching”—as hoboes describe begging at back doors for something to eat.

Henry Peace, “the game chicken,” who held the same title that Dempsey holds now, died April 30, 1809, at the Coach and Horses, St. Martin’s Lane, London, 32 years old, broke, down and out.

Dempsey has saved his money—no doubt of that, when he can make investments representing a quarter of a million dollars.

It may be accepted by some as a sad commentary on a civilization that permits a man to make this much money at prize fighting.

But Dempsey must also be accepted as a lesson in conservation of earnings as against “The Game Chicken” and his times.

“Why should I be subject as others are subject to the pitiful law called age?” cried Casanova.

He was then 55.

Jess Willard is not that old. He is perhaps not more than 40. The New York state boxing commission says 40 is too old for a man to engage in ring fighting.

The commission is right. Forty is old age in the pugilistic game. At 40 a man cannot stand the strain of training, cannot get in physical condition to combat rugged eager youth.

Willard is coming to New York to attempt to arrange a match with Dempsey. He is waiting his time. The rules of the boxing commission and the “pitiful law called age” definitely operate against Willard, the last more than the first.


Baseball magnates fought one war, the first in nearly a quarter of a century, a few years ago. This was the Federal League war.

The magnates found it most expensive. They are still paying for it. One man who thought he had enough money to last him the rest of his life was ruined.

The baseball fans need not worry for another 25 years over quarrels among the baseball magnates. The magnates have found compromise less costly than war. Nations have recently discovered the same thing.

As among nations, however, it seems to require a war at certain intervals to teach the lesson to baseball magnates all over again.



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