ONE OF BOXING'S most influential men behind the scenes in the early days of the sport, San Francisco native William A. Brady was also one of its most colorful.
Brady is the only man to manage two undisputed world heavyweight champions, James J. Corbett and James J. Jeffries. He also produced more than 260 plays and enjoyed high-stakes gambling. He was known for having said, "The Lord is always good to the honest gambler." Against infamous gambler Arnold Rothstein, who gained notoriety in baseball’s Black Sox scandal, he won a cut of cards – and $15,000. Brady was in Corbett’s corner for the historic showdown with John L. Sullivan. The manager later split with the champ.
In 1898, Brady joined the management team of the up-and-coming James J. Jeffries. Brady arranged an East-coast tour for Jeffries. After a series of grueling fights against mediocre opposition Brady recognized that Jeffries needed to improve his defense and overall boxing ability. Brady enlisted the efforts of the legendary trainer of that time, Tommy Ryan, who polished Jim’s skills and made him a championship caliber pugilist.
Brady eventually left boxing and returned to producing plays. He also made millions in the stock market. It should be noted that both Corbett and Jeffries, while champions, appeared in leading roles in his plays. Brady lost his fortune in the Wall Street crash of 1929, but regained his wealth a few years later when he produced the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play, Street Scene.
Born: June 19, 1863
Died: Jan. 6, 1950