Joseph Edward Humphreys was arguably the most famous ring announcer in history. Known as "Joe the Beaut," it's been estimated that he announced over 20,000 ring battles. He held aloft the hand of ever heavyweight champion from John L. Sullivan to James J. Braddock.
Humphreys, who was an orphan by age 10, grew up on New York City's lower East Side. By 15 he was a bartender and later became a mascot of the old Nonpareil Athletic Club, which was where he was introduced to boxing. He announced his first fight at 18, when he served as master of ceremonies at a local testimonial.
Humphreys also tried on different hats. Along with Sam H. Harris, who was one of the top Broadway producer's of that time, he was the co-manager of world bantamweight and featherweight champion Terry McGovern.
Harry Grayson, the boxing writer of the New York World Telegram during the that time said, "Joe Humphreys had voice, presence, personality, tact and razorblade Irish wit."
Humphreys was a master of the moment. Before the May 20, 1926, Jack Sharkey vs. Jim Maloney fight, Humphreys asked the crowd that had jammed Yankee Stadium to stand and observe a moment of silence for Charles Lindberg, who had left earlier that day on his historic transatlantic flight, "may the Almighty steer him clear across the ocean and land him safely at his destination on the shores of our dearest allied country, France."
Some of his more noteworthy assignments during a career that spanned five decades include: Dempsey vs. Carpentier, Dempsey vs. Firpo and Dempsey vs. Tunney II.
Born: Oct. 19, 1872
Died: July 11, 1936