On Tex’s Return to the Garden

See that dapper fellow in front of Madison Square Garden’s marquee? The monochromatic dude on the right.

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That’s Tex Rickard. I may have mentioned him before.

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He used to be my favorite promoter before I dumped him for his former matchmaker.

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But I still have a soft spot for the guy.

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34th street district? WTF….. It’s a shanda to 32nd Street to call it “34th street district.” Just refer to it as some silly little acronym that’s been so hip among realtors and business improvement district boffins for the past decade… 

An organization dedicated to increasing and/or improving knowledge of 34th street in Midtown Manhattan put up this reminder of Tex’s greatness in front of Madison Square Garden. (I assume it’s the 34th Street Partnership, though I admit to not looking for this information on the sign). The front gives a brief biography and the back has a rundown of some of the events hosted in Rickard’s Garden.

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He had such an impact on New York (building the third MSG in the franchise; founding the Rangers) and boxing (promoted the first  “Battle of the Century,” had the first fight broadcast on the radio, promoted the first show with a million-dollar gate…. Browse through this for more on the man’s accomplishments).

When he died, the New York State Athletic Commission passed the following resolution at it’s January 8, 1929, meeting:

“WHEREAS, the New York State Athletic Commission desires to express its profound sense of the great loss which has been suffered by the sudden death of

GEORGE L. RICKARD

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that we who knew him so long and so well do hereby pay, with the deepest sympathy and most heartfelt appreciation, this tribute to his memory; that we deeply regret the untimely close of a life which has meant so much for the advancement of clean sports throughout the world to which he devoted his great genius, splendid talents and ever bent his restless energy; that in broad vision, courage, fidelity, integrity and in all traits that inspire confidence he has few equals and his passing away leaves a void which cannot soon be filled; and that we deplore his loss as a deep personal bereavement…”

Ever the promoter keen on doing things big, Tex Rickard’s last show packed Madison Square Garden: His funeral. Held in the middle of his promotional palace, his bronze casket sat among ten-thousand mourners while fifteen-thousand, according to a contemporary news report, waited in line to pay their respects.

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Chicago Tribune, 1/10/1929

Will the average passerby who takes a gander at this signpost read it or, dare I suggest, learn something from it? No. Probably not — this is the entrance to Penn Station, after all, and no one wants to stand around that phalanx of tour bus salesmen. But, at the very least, I am very happy to see Tex back in his rightful place.

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