Sammy Sobel


 Sammy Sobel had been around the wrestling and boxing scene from the turn of the century. He was from a sporting family, he and his brothers all pursued their favorite sports with Sammy turning to wrestling. 

There isn't a lot of information on his early life. He was born in Toronto and appears to have joined Jack Corcoran's Queensbury team around the beginning of the MLG cards in 1931. Initially he was in charge of Hamilton & Ottawa as Corcoran branched out. Later he officially took over Niagara Falls and occasionally ran cards in other areas. In 1935 Corcoran sent Sobel to run some summer shows in Timmins and area, handling the books and also refereeing the bouts. 

In 1938 he was appointed as ring manager of Toronto's newest star and World champ (Toronto) Vic Christie. During a Christie bout vs Masked Marvel, Sobel attacked longtime ref Cliff Worthy earning a review from the Athletic Commission. They suspended him indefinitely so he enlisted a former Hamilton policeman named Al Reid to second Christie for his next bout. Sobel bought a ringside seat anyways. 

He was also part of the busy boxing scene in and around Toronto, at one point managing Jack Matheson, a highly touted middleweight boxer from Hamilton.

In Hamilton Sobel ran the shows at the Municipal Pool where they had the ring set up over the middle of the water. It made for some eventful action including one night when the spectator seats collapsed dropping the patrons into the drink. They were fortunate that all-round athlete and noted swimmer Mike Sharpe was on the card. Sharpe, the son of a Hamilton policeman would rescue many of them. The headline (on page 1 of the Toronto Daily Star no less) screamed 'Wrestler Saves Screaming Fur-Coated Women.' 

Sobel ran the cards as well as handling the announcing from ringside. He was known for his sharp wit and entertaining intros. He occasionally battled against George Hill who also ran cards in Hamilton (mostly lightweight affairs) but Corcoran and then Tunney stacked the cards to help bring the fans into the Queensbury shows. 

In 1942 during the first fence bout (early cage match) in Toronto Sobel tried to help Whipper Watson who was getting the worst of it vs Nanjo Singh. Sam Yanaky, another area promoter who was acting as Nanjo’s manager attempted to stop Watson from escaping the ring before being beset upon by the now riotous fans. In response Sobel attempted to help Watson extricate himself from the fence. Singh knocked Sobel off, climbed over the fence, and promptly made a bee-line for his office below the ring. The fans were now extra hot under the collar. When Singh finally spotted a lull and tried to get to the dressing room he was met by Sobel’s younger brother (and former boxer) Eddie who took up the fight. 

In a bit from 1948 it mentions Sobel as having '40 years around wrestling mats.'  When he passed away in Jan 1958 it said he had promoted wrestling 'for 30 years, the last 20 in this district (Niagara Falls).'

Lots to fill in on Sobel, if you can help please contact me 

-AC