Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


iwrite last won the day on December 27 2020

iwrite had the most liked content!

Recent Profile Visitors

1,123 profile views
  1. dman115 -- thanks for the very fair-minded approach. I agree with all you said. I created the Dan Hodge Trophy in 1995 to bring more attention to the sport we all love and to help it get more national attention. To date, over one million people have seen it presented in person, at wrestling banquets and football games, and it has gotten widespread media support. That was my primary goal from the very outset. -- Mike Chapman
  2. Coach -- We only have two left and they are a heck of a lot cheaper than that...maybe we should up the price, but we will stay with the listed figure for a bit longer. Go to my web site if you want to check it out. www.mike-chapman.com
  3. In 1976, I met Dan Hodge for the first time when I drove to his home in Perry, OK, to interview him for my first book, "Two Guys Named Dan", about Hodge and Dan Gable. I spent several days with him and saw first hand his incredible strength and power. He showed how he could rub his fingers tightly together and it sounded like twigs cracking. He gripped my wrist so tight that I could not come close to getting my hand free (and I was bench pressing 440 pounds at the time).. I interviewed wrestlers who saw him snap the handles off a pair of pliers. Over the next four decades, Dan and his wife Dolores became very good friends of mine and my wife Bev, staying with us often in Newton, Iowa. In "Two Guys Named Dan", here is how he explained his strength ---- "Actually, I have double tendons in in my fingers while most folks have just one. I guess you could say that I am a freak of nature.... or that God was good to me. I have unusual strength in my hands, maybe like one in five or ten million people." Dan also worked on his hand strength by taking a newspaper and wading it up tight and squeezing it over and over. -- Mike Chapman, who also wrote about Dan in "The Toughest Men in Sports", "Legends of the Mat" and, finally, "Oklahoma Shooter: The Dan Hodge Story".
  4. This is a great topic, fun and enlightening.... so thanks WKN. In the 1920s and '30s, many of the top wrestlers came off Midwest farms and Oklahoma oil fields (there are exceptions, of course) and a lot of that had to do with the work ethic and daily routine of rural life. That is especially true in Iowa, where I have lived most of my life. Having written extensively about Dan Hodge and Doug Blubaugh and had the pleasure of them staying here at our home numerous times, I agree totally with Bernie. They are titans that cross over generational boundaries because of their psychological makeup and they would not have been denied. I put the late, great Wayne Baughman and Dan Gable in that category, as well. Just my two cents.
  5. Silver Member Members 1,068 1,618 posts Report post Posted 9 hours ago I don't have any answers for you, but am glad to know I'm not the only one who feels compelled to research people who died decades ago to find out their whole life story. Fletcher -- you are not the only one who feels compelled to research people who died decades ago. I have spent many years researching people like Frank Gotch, Earl Caddock, three-time AAU national champion who became world professional champion in 1917 and fought in WWI, and Nat Pendleton, 1920 Olympic silver medalist from Columbia University who became a star in Hollywood. And heroes from the far distant past -- like Gilgamesh of ancient Sumer and Achilles, the greatest warrior of antiquity. My book on Achilles came out at the same time as the movie "Troy" with Brad Pitt as Achilles. Though the movie departs quite a bit from Homer's version (and mine), Pitt does a good job of portraying the inner warrior and the turmoil raging within him. If you go to my web site, you will see a photo of me standing on the tomb of Achilles near the ruins of ancient Troy. My son and I went there in 2006 and one night I even took my sleeping bag and laid on the Plain of Troy, near the very spot where Achilles and Hector fought to the death 3,000 years ago! Oh, by the way -- according to legend, both Gilgamesh and Achilles were accomplished wrestlers!
  6. In 1990, I wrote the "Encyclopedia of American Wrestling", published by Human Kinetics. I spent almost two years digging through old archives at various spots and talking to long time followers of the sport on all levels. The book is 530 pages and has a list of all NCAA tournament place winners since 1928, all 3 divisions, as well as NAIA, junior college and the Midlands. up to that time. It also has a list of AAU and USA Wrestling placers in both freestyle and G-R, and the Junior Nationals. Plus all U.S. Olympic teams, World teams, World Cup teams and Pan-Am teams, profiles of all the National Wrestling Hall of Fame inductees up to that point. And even a section on top amateurs who turned pro, going back to the early 1900s. It was a tremendous task and there are a few errors but still offers a pretty good overview of the amateur wrestling scene in America. Every now and then one pops up on eBay but they can be quite expensive. I think JB does the best job of keeping records now and I agree with him that errors are inevitable when dealing with information from so far back ..but still we try. -- Mike Chapman, author of 32 books (17 on wrestling).
  7. Fun topic. Just my opinion -- greatest wrestler of the 1960s -- Dan Gable. Won 180 straight matches in high school and college, and beat 5 other NCAA champions during his college career, including three 2-timers. pinned his way through the NCAA as a junior and at one point had 24 consecutive pins between junior and senior years. Probably the best conditioned wrestler ever and drew more attention to the sport than any other college wrestler ever. As a pure freshman, he was 15-0 and won the Midlands, probably the toughest tournament America at the time, by beating a former NCAA champion and defending two-time Midlands champion in the finals, 8-2, and was named OW. Gable did more to publicize the sport and change training methods than any other wrestler, before or since. I know 1950s wasn't one of the areas, but that would have to be Dan Hodge, an undefeated, three-time NCAA Champion who was never taken down. In 1956 he pinned his way through the NCAA, freestyle nationals, and Greco Roman nationals -- three national titles with 13 straight pins.
  8. Here are some notable amateurs who wrestled pro over the past century, with final year of college listed: 1. Robin Reed, 1924 Olympic champion (no college) 2 Pete Mehringer, 1932 Olympic champion (All-American at Kansas, 1932) 3. Wayne Martin, 3-time NCAA champion (Oklahoma U., 1936) 4. Verne Gagne, 2-time NCAA Champion (Minnesota, 1949) 5. Dick Hutton, 3-time NCAA champion (Oklahoma State, 1950) 6. Joe Scarpello, 2-time NCAA champion (Iowa, 1950) 7. Dan Hodge, 3-time NCAA champion (Oklahoma U., 1957) 8. Chris Taylor, Olympic bronze, 2-time NCAA champion (Iowa State, 1973) 9. Brad Rheingans, 2-time Olympian, 3rd in World, NCAA Div. 2 champion (N. Dakota State, 1975) There are many more who tested the waters -- men like Dean Rockwell, Dale Thomas and even some college coaches in the 1930s who wanted to pick up some extra money in the summers.
  9. NJDan -- you are right on the mark! In my book "A Journey: Reflections on 50 Years of Writing, Wrestling, Weightlifting and Heroes", I devote several pages to the times I spent with Bob. Here is a small part of the story: "He shocked the entire world by winning the decathlon at the age of 17. I consider that the single most amazing performance in all of sports history. How can it be possible for a 17-year-old to win the most demanding all-around athletic competition devised by man when he barely knew the rules? Mathias had only trained for a couple of months after his coach at Tulare High School in California first told him about the event. The decathlon is the supreme test of a person's overall athletic ability, proven in ten very diverse events, split over two days. He won a second gold medal at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, shattering the world record by 912 points -- and making Bob the first athlete to ever win an Olympic gold medal and play in the Rose Bowl the same year!" It's a little-known fact that Bob was planning on going for gold again in 1956, but the AAU ruled him ineligible because he had starred as himself in "The Bob Mathias Story", saying that took away his amateur status. Another brief story -- Glen Brand, Olympic wrestling champion in 1948, told me that he was in the stands when Bob won in London that year and he regarded Bob as the greatest athlete he had ever seen!
  10. Witwhiz -- great pick. I knew Bob Mathias personally and in 2001 brought him to the wrestling museum in Newton, Iowa, for our celebrity golf event. Imagine winning the Olympic decathlon title at age 17, then repeating 4 years later. Bob was also a standout football player at Stanford, made 6 movies, served in Congress, and was a terrific, humble man. He played himself in the movie and it is very inspiring. I have a poster of the move, signed by Bob, hanging in my den. BTW -- he had great respect for wrestlers and really enjoyed meeting Olympic champions Glen Brand, Bill Smith, Dan Gable, Ed Banach and Randy Lewis in Newton. l
  11. NJDAN -- Yes , it is by a vote of selected media members, officials from top organizations, several retired coaches, all past Hodge Trophy winners, and by the fans. A ballot will soon be placed on the WIN website. As the creator of the award over 25 years ago, I get one vote, as does Win publisher Bryan Van Kley -- and no more. -- Mike Chapman
  12. Howard Harris weighed in the 210 range when he pinned his way through the NCAA tournament in 1980, while Lou Banach was around 215 both years he won. Lou pinned two future NCAA champions who were much larger -- Bruce Baumgartner and Tab Thacker (Tab was close to 400 pounds) and beat 390-pound Mitch Shelton, too, then won the Olympics in 1984 at 220.
  13. gimpeltf -- In the first book I ever wrote, "Two Guys Named Dan" in 1976, Myron Roderick gave me this quote: "After we made the Olympic team in 1956, we walked into a hardware store and asked the manager if he had a strong pair of pliers and Dan squeezed them and popped the bolt between the halves. The manager said it must have been a weak pair and he gave us another pair and Dan proceeded to do the same thing. As long as I have been in wrestling Dan Hodge has the the most strength in his hands and arms of anyone I have ever seen." Grady Peninger, the longtime coach at Michigan State, said this in the same book: "Dan Hodge was as strong as nine acres of garlic. The tales about him crushing apples and bending the handles of a pair of pliers are certainly not over-exaggerated. Pound for pound, he is the strongest wrestler I have ever witnessed." Dan told me he stopped doing that with the pliers after he broke the handles off a pair and one of them went deep into his palm. Another thing Dan would do is is make a tight fist and then wiggle his fingers very tight together, and it made a weird crunching sound. Gary Kurdelmeier, who was NCAA champion for Iowa at 177 the year after Dan's final season and a very powerful man himself, wrestled Dan twice and was pinned both times. He said each time there were small finger imprints in his arm for hours afterwards-- Mike C.
  14. Dan Hodge's legacy will live on for several reasons -- not only for his total domination on the mat as an Oklahoma Sooner and for the fact that he is the only wrestler to ever appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated and the only man to ever win national titles in both wrestling and boxing, but because one of the top awards in all of wrestling is named in his honor. To date, over one million fans have seen the Dan Hodge Trophy presented in person since its inception in 1995. But there is also his kindness and patience when attending hundreds of kids tournaments, and during his many appearances at the WIN Memorabilia Show at the NCAA tournament. Once at our WIN Show, there was a long line of kids to get Dan's autograph. Dan was tired from a day-long event but wouldn't stop. The last boy arrived and shoved a piece of paper at him and said nothing. Dan smiled but did nothing. The boy stared sheepishly, and mumbled "Sign." Again, Dan did nothing, just smiled. The little boy looked around nervously and then Dan said "What else should you say?." The boy paused and said softly, "Please." Dan jumped up with both arms raised, grinning -- "You said the magic word!" and sat down and signed. The boy's dad was standing next to me, and said: "What a great lesson Dan Hodge just gave my son! What a great man!" That's the Dan Hodge I knew and admired so deeply. -- Mike Chapman, creator of the Dan Hodge Trophy and author of "Oklahoma Shooter: The Dan Hodge Story".
  • Create New...