was a little man, a feisty little man. He grew up in the tough Brooklyn
neighborhood of Brownsville in the 1920s. Last week, he passed away at the
age of 82. His name was Irving Rudd and he was an original, a guy who had
a way with words, a Damon Runyan character, an internationally known
his crowded lifetime, he worked at various jobs including that of public
relations director for the old Brooklyn Dodgers and publicist for Top Rank
Boxing. And along his way, he was friends with such greats as Jackie
Robinson, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Gil Hodges and Joe DiMaggio.
stories in his unique voice enriched four of my books. For the record and
for your enjoyment here are a couple.
IT HAPPENED IN THE CATSKILLS, Rudd tells the story of a winter weekend in
1954 when he and his wife and Jackie Robinson and his wife Rachel went up
to Grossinger's for some relaxation.
skate?" Jackie Robinson asked.
Irv; let's go skating anyway."
said, "Okay," and we all went to the icehouse. We put skates on.
The wives go to the rail to watch. Jackie goes out on the ice and proceeds
to lose his balance and falls flat on his back. Geez! The image of Walter
O'Malley, the owner of the Dodgers, came into my head. I just blew my job.
Jackie Robinson just fractured something - why didn't I stop him from
Robinson gets up and brushes himself off.
Irv, let's race!" He gives me that big smile.
the two of us like two drunks go around the rink of Grossinger's. He's
flopping on his knees. I'm sliding on my can. We get up and keep going and
flopping and going and flopping and going. And he beats me by five yards.
do it again," he says.
we go. This time he beats me by about twenty yards.
more time," he says.
now, he's really skating. He is such a natural, gifted athlete. He's
skating like a guy who has been at it for weeks. It's no contest. He's
almost lapped the field on me.
there's a crowd that's gathered and they're cheering. He puts his arms
around me, and he wasn't a demonstrative man. "Irv," he says,
"am I glad you were here this weekend with me. I just had to beat
someone before I went home."
NEW YORK CITY BASEBALL, Rudd describes the time General Douglas MacArthur
came to Ebbets Field after being relieved of his command in Korea by
President Harry S. Truman. The General got up before the throngs and
delivered a speech: "I've been told that one has not lived unless one
has been to Ebbets Field and has watched the Dodgers play baseball,"
Irving, "I slipped him the line".
has the last words in my book RICKEY AND ROBINSON: "I always used to
think of who I would like going down a dark alley with me. I can think of
a lot of great fighters, gangsters I was raised with in Brownsville,
strong men like Gil Hodges. But for sheer courage, I would pick Jackie
(Robinson). He didn't back up."
did Rudd. He had an opinion about everything and wasn't afraid to let the
world know it.
was one of a kind. He will be missed.