Ruby Draws ‘Em In

Damon Runyon

Harrisburg Evening News/April 2, 1927


Proportionately to his pugilistic eminence, Ruby Goldstein, a youthful lightweight, is the biggest drawing card that New York has produced in years.

That is, he draws in New York. He might not mean a dime to a promoter outside of New York, but in the big town he is what my actor friends would call a wow. The small club promoter who can secure Ruby Goldstein’s services remains awake of night congratulating himself. He knows he will turn the clients away.

And Ruby’s opponent doesn’t seem to make any particular difference. He may be regarded as strictly a popover for the young Hebrew, but the boys turn out just the same. I might add that Ruby is by no means careless about his opponent. in fact, he is inclined to be quite choosy.

But he draws the customers, and no one can quite figure it out.

Ruby was knocked bow-legged by Ace Hudkins. Billy Alger took a technical knockout over him on the Pacific Coast when Ruby claimed a broken collar button, or something to that effect. Moreover, the young man failed to show up for bouts in New York so often that he almost sent some of the promoters in sorrow to their graves, and until his courage was aspersed. He got the monicker of “Run-out-Ruby.”

Any other boxer would be in the pugilistic ash can, but the patients still struggle for place in line when Ruby Goldstein is to appear, even if he doesn’t.


HE IS THE BEST drawing card in New York since the days when they used to stick Paul Berlenbach in the semi-windup behind a couple of beezarks at the old Garden and sell out the joint to the palpitating members of the New York Athletic Club and their friends.

If you ask me, I think it is the same reason that made Punch ‘Em Paul a great drawing card. When Ruby pops ’em. brother, they remain popped. The pugilistic, patients love to view the knocker-out in action, even though the knocked-out is practically that way when he climbs into the ring.

Goldstein has amazing fistic class along with his punch. He is a nice looking young fellow, and for some months it looked as if they could not keep the lightweight title away from him unless they hid it. As a six-round preliminary boy, he packed ’em in.

Then came the dismal night when Ace Hudkins smacked him on the chops down at Coney Island, and after that Ruby did not seem so rash. He took the incident greatly to heart. Nearly every fighter of any prominence you can name has been dusted off one or more times in his career, but managed to dismiss the matter from his mind.

Ruby brooded over the Hudkins affair to such an extent that he wandered off to the Pacific Coast, where he fell afoul of Billy Alger, with the result mentioned above. Then he returned to New York, where he could at least find sympathy. Now he is again popping ’em over in the small clubs, and gladdening the hearts of the promoters. The small club promoters in New York could stand a number of Ruby Goldsteins right now.


IT IS CONCEIVABLE that the young man may become a great fighter. That certainly seemed to be his destiny when he started out. He has everything in the way of skill and bodily vigor. I am inclined to discredit the aspersions against his courage. At least I give him the benefit of the doubt.

But regardless of all that, he can draw. Benny Leonard was no such card as Ruby Goldstein until after he became champion of the world. If Ruby becomes champion they will have to enlarge the open-air arenas. He can fill any of the indoor spots now.

I never say but one better local drawing card in the dear old manly art in the last yen years. That was Bobby Barrett, the red-headed youth from Clifton Heists, Pa. when he was going good around Philadelphia. U

Barrett, at his best, was one of the hardest hitters the game has ever known. The Philadelphia patients learned that any time Robert crawled through the ropes there was apt to be a knockout, either by -Barrett or by his opponent. Thus they got in the habit of turning out en masse, so to speak, to see it come off.

Barrett might get clipped one night, but in a few weeks he would be back packing ’em in again. He crowded the Phillies ball yard one night in a battle with Lew Tendler, the receipts establishing a new record in Philadelphia, I believe.

Say what you please, the ringworm loves action. He wants to see the knockouts. The criticism of Gene Tunney’s very scientific victory over Mr. Dempsey proves it. It was a triumph of boxing skill, yet the boys went away grumbling under their breaths. Had Mr. Tunney bowled Mr. Dempsey over, there would have been no word of complaint.


IT WAS HIS ABILITY to bowl ’em that made Mr. Dempsey the greatest drawing card in the history of pugilism. This ability was so largely exaggerated in the public mind that when Mr. Dempsey failed to bowl ’em as in the case of Tom Gibbons, at Shelby, and Mr. Tunney, at Philadelphia, there was much whispering.

I know estimable citizens who will go to their graves believing that Mr. Dempsey “carried” Tom Gibbons at Shelby because he—Mr. Dempsey—was afraid of the hostile crowd, and that he “pulled” to Mr. Tunney at Philadelphia to permit Mr. Tunney to win, both of which beliefs I hold to be quite erroneous.



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