SI Vault
David Chauner
February 11, 1985
"July 26, 1922.... I can remember that night as if it was yesterday. The velodrome was on South Orange Avenue, right on the trolley line. My father bought box-seat tickets six weeks in advance for a buck-and-a-quarter each. That's when you could go to the movies for a nickel, you know. Every seat in the place was sold. They packed 16,000 people into the stands and another 4,000 in the infield. Everywhere you looked there were men in shirt sleeves and straw hats. And, let me tell you, a lot more people wanted to get in that night, but the fire marshal wouldn't let 'em sell any more tickets. Oh, it was somethin'...."
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February 11, 1985

Back In The Early 1900s, Bicycling Was Big And Frank Kramer Was King

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Kramer died in 1966 at 86, the retired police chief of East Orange, N.J. He had never been inducted into a hall of fame. He had never served as the commissioner of a multimillion-dollar sports league. But he did hold the unique distinction of having dominated one of America's most popular professional sports for 27 years. And he was one of the first Americans to live the life of a totally dedicated professional athlete.

Perhaps that's why the The New York Times of July 31, 1922 proclaimed Kramer's record as "one of amazing endurance and stamina, not to mention of the most marvelous in athletic history."

And perhaps that's why the tears flowed freely on Kramer's farewell night at the Newark Velodrome and why the band repeatedly struck up Auld Lang Syne and The Star-Spangled Banner after Kramer climbed off his bike for good.

"I'm only sorry," said the graying champion in a typically brief statement, "that I'm not 15 years younger so that I might continue to entertain you. However, I have no alternative and must bow to Father Time."

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