SI Vault
January 18, 1960
Friday Night Fadeout
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January 18, 1960

Events & Discoveries

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"The other day over on Miami Beach," Kearns went on, "I see a kid with a bum hand and he says he banged up the mitt in the gym and they ain't nobody to help him pay the bills on it, so he don't know what he'll do, and I say to myself, though I don't say nothing to him, 'This is the sort of guy we need to sign up.'

"Then I see old sports celebrities all over the place driving mail trucks and things that way. I see guys who used to be heroes, and now they're working on the docks. You think them soccer players—50,000 of them—don't need a union?

"You know, I was around with some football coaches in New York not long ago and I says, 'You're the guys who really need a union like this. Why, school kids can throw you right off your jobs!'

"If I could near about make an evangelist out of Al Capone, I guess I can move on this thing. It was in 1932, I guess. Capone was in the Cook County jail. I had Jackie Fields fighting Lou Brouillard for the welter championship in Chicago, and Al sent word for me to bring him some tickets for his friends. So I took 50 tickets to the jailhouse. Al asked me into his big cell. Then he ordered up a couple meals from his personal chef and a couple bottles.

"Finally I asked Capone what he'd do if he took a fall on the tax rap and had to go to jail. He said he didn't know what he'd do when he got out, but he guessed he'd have plenty of time to think it over. Then I made my pitch. 'I got it, Al!' I said, 'You know this Billy Sunday who moves around with the sermons? If he can be an evangelist, why can't you? You could go on tour, telling the error of your ways, and I'll promote you. We can do a lot of good. Besides, we'll make a million dollars.'

"Well, sure enough, I talked Capone into the idea. He started practicing his speech in that cell. I sat there thinking: 'What a sweet hood! What an evangelist this bum will make! Would we clean up!' "

Kearns sighed. "Then," he said, "Al had to go away. To Alcatraz or San Quentin or some place that way. When he got sprung, he'd forgotten all about our evangelistic tour. I was really sorry about that. But I am just telling you that to show you that maybe I can swing this union thing, at that."

Innocence at Tropical Park

The dream of all horse players, the fancy that enthralls them in the dark of night, is that someday, somehow they'll have a chance to bet on a sure thing—like a race that has already been run.

At Tropical Park, Fla. the other day the dream came true when a bay colt named Deemster was judged the winner of the sixth race in a photo finish over a brown colt named Teacher. Nearly an hour after, track officials took a long second look at the photo and decided that the race had been a dead heat.

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