Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Muchnick and His Legend Going Strong at 90

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Muchnick and His Legend Going Strong at 90

Article excerpt

When Sam Muchnick's kids got around to honoring the old man the other night on his 90th birthday, they got a confirmation from a young man whose RSVP was most impressive. Hideaki Myaki came from Japan - at his expense.

Ichiban Myaki, a polite young entrepreneur, reflects the personal gate attraction of Sam the Man.

The latter is a jelly-bellied legend who ranks as one of my heroes. He's still romantic enough - or stupid enough - to wish that he'd never had to give up a humdrum financial existence as a sportswriter for riches as an outstanding wrestling promoter.

Muchnick's old newspaper, the Times, went out of business back in 1932 when it was bought by the rival Star. When the paper folded on a Thursday, Sam and his associates didn't get paid for the week's last two days.

Sam loved his six-season stint as a baseball writer most, but he also wrote a boxing-wrestling column called "In the Ring."

At the no-gifts party the other night, which was crafted by daughter Kathy for nearly 300 at the Ritz-Carlton, attorney friend Godfrey Padberg and Judge Joe Simione surprised Muchnick privately by giving him a photocopy of his first story in 1926 and his last in '32.

When Muchnick graduated from good-natured wrestling public-relations lackey to promoter after World War II, aided by dear late wife Helen, he became a paragon of what hustling national colleagues didn't have. That is, trust in each other.

For the next quarter-century, the National Wrestling Alliance burgeoned only because of the internationally respected man of integrity. That's an amusing juxtaposition, in view of the fact that wrestling even then had showmanship that often made it merely an exhibition rather than a legitimate contest.

Three times the shogun of American wrestling traveled to Japan for the good of the NWA. The third time, he wanted to meet a Japanese kid who had become his pen pal. All he could tell his television hosts in Tokyo was the boy lived in Osaka.

Japanese TV did the rest. When Muchnick got to Osaka, young Myaki met him. …

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