St. Patrick’s Day in 1897 |

St. Patrick’s Day in 1897

“Mr. Corbett, you’re afraid of my Robert, after all, there was never an Irishman who could stand up to a Cornishman.”

The taunts to heavyweight champion, James J. Corbett, came from one Rosie Fitzsimmons. Her Robert was Robert “Ruby Bob” Fitzsimmons, top contender for Corbett’s title for nearly two years. They called him “Ruby Bob” because of his bright red hair. He and Rosie were a team. He did the fighting, she did the managing.

The public demanded and finally got the fight. Corbett set the date for St. Patrick’s Day 1897.

It took place in Carson City, Nev., and was all that a title fight should be. In the first six rounds “Fitz” took quite a drubbing, coming off the canvas and having his nose split wide open.

As the fight wore on, the tide began to turn. In the 14th round with Rosie urging him to “hit ‘im in the slats, Bobby, in the slats.” Bob obliged his wife and caught Corbett with his famed solar plexus punch followed by a crashing left hook.

When the referee finished counting, Ruby Bob and Rosie had secured not only the grandest prize in sport, but the heart of Cornwall for all time.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

A.C. Peterson

Grass Valley

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User