Sunday, August 24, 2008

More on Jerry Quarry

Speaking of Jerry Quarry. In 1993 I took my son Andrew to a card show at the Long Beach Convention Center. Jerry Quarry was going to be there. I wanted Andrew to meet him. He was scheduled to be there at a certain time so we waited around, walked around, bought a few things and by the time we came back he was all set up and ready to meet his fans.

He had a spot that was isolated and separated from all the other celebrity guests, which included Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The lines for these guys formed fast. The crowd was excited to meet these guys. All except Quarry. I would like to say that I waited in a long line to meet him but the truth is not one person besides myself wanted to meet him. It was awkward at first, like when a comic screws up the punchline and no one laughs. Then I thought "Screw'em". Andrew and I have him all to ourselves.

We ended up spending about an hour talking to him. He was genuinely grateful that we wanted to meet him and get his autograph. As we talked he said he was making a comeback. Well, not knowing at the time about his failing mental health, I was excited for him, wishing him luck and so forth. The guy that was sitting next to him made eye contact with me and just shook his head ever so slightly, cluing me in on Jerry. He was letting me know not to pay to much attention to what he was saying. Suddenly the light bulb went on and my heart was suddenly broken. I mean it was broken. Here was this big strapping man with arms like oak. Strong and eager but in a few minutes it became obvious to me. My son didn't see it. He was only eleven at the time. It didn't change how I felt about him. He was still Jerry Quarry. He signed two photos for my son and I. I still have them.

In a way, I was glad that no one else spoke with him. People can be cruel. There is a difference between an all around sports fan and a true boxing fan. I think they would have laughed at him. I don't think I would have tolerated that.


Mike Duffau said...

great story on quarry! i'm the same way when i met Lamotta. jerry quarry is also one of my favorite fighters.

brian said...

...great father-son story,man...obviously,given the bigger guys he was fighting,this was a risk-but even fairly late,I used to like to listen to Quarry as a boxing commentator.

Unknown said...

I knew the Quarry bros.
I fought Mike, and sparred with Jerry and Mike.
Jerry was a truly kind, intelligent man.
Although the bros were very atheletic, my view was at the time, that they needed someone to drill them in boxing skills.
Their styles were unorthodox and not effective.
They made up for that with speed, and over the years, experience.
But by the time they learned what worked and didn't work in the ring, they had already absorbed tremendous amounts of physical damage.
So sad.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I never heard of him and just saw him (in his prime, no doubt) on an episode of "I Dream of Jeannie." You can only hope he didn't suffer too much.

Anonymous said...

I wish not agree on it. I assume warm-hearted post. Especially the designation attracted me to review the unscathed story.

Anonymous said...

Jerry was a great fighter...The uncrowned champion!! He fought everybody. I boxed from a right handed stance. I am left handed and developed a solid left hook. Tried to copy Jerry, everyone in the North Carolina gym said " I think you got it"!! That was back in the early 70's. I love Jerry Quarry!!!! One hell of a fighter!!

Unknown said...

There father trained them, Jerry and Mike, but there were much better trainers, in terms of boxing knowledge, in the gym where we sparred, (Teamsters Gym, Stanford and Agatha, downtown L.A.).
Mike, in particular, could have been a much cleverer boxer, he had the height, and was athletic, but instead he was basically a puncher.
The skills he had, he learned from experience in the ring, through hundreds of fights, he took way to many punches.
I loved them too.
I just feel it is unfortunate they weren't more skillfully taught.

Anonymous said...

I remember when he came to U K to fight jack Bodell we thought it would be a good fight but it lasted only 64seconds . He was a good fighter puncher .

Unknown said...

I still think of Jerry, nobody tried harder. Sometimes, it just doesn't matter.

Don Pierce said...

Jerry was 4 years older than me and Mike was 2 years younger.
The story of Quarry family is very interesting to me because
we shared some some family experience's. Such a overbaring
father who taught us to fight. The Quarry's lived on Orr & day Rd.
in Norwalk Ca. A few doors down from the house I lived on when i
was 12 years old. I went to Bellflower High which was the last
Jerry went to. Like the Quarry's our family moved a lot. There
much more but I wish the Jerry and Mike were still with us
The last I saw Mike was at the Strongbow Stadium in Bakersfield ca
and we had a beer together. I'am now 69 years old and my mind
does not work as well as it use to.

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