James J. Corbett (James John Corbett)

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San Francisco, California, USA
Considered the originator of modern boxing, Corbett became world heavyweight champ in one of the biggest upsets ever when he embarrassed the 30 pound heavier legend John L. Sullivan (1892). The handsome San Francisco bank clerk immediately had a play written for him ("Gentleman Jack"), and crossed the U.S. performing it. "Gentleman Jim" was also outstanding at baseball, playing exhibitions as he toured, and he attempted to join the 1894 Baltimore Orioles, partly to supply a season-ending attendance boost. Corbett's brother Joe pitched for the Orioles. Read more...