Name: Earl Caddock
Year Inducted: 2007
Induction Category: Pioneer Era
Earl Caddock was born in Huron, South Dakota on February 27, 1888. His
parents were Jewish of German or Bohemian extraction. The family name may
actually have been spelled Caddach, Craddock, or Caddack. As a child,
Caddock grew sickly and anemic and his physicians claimed he had
tuberculosis. As part of his treatment, Earl was sent to the local YMCA.
He began swimming and, after his health improved, weightlifting and
wrestling. He continued wrestling and won many local amateur titles.
Around 1907, he went to Chicago and attended college, presumably at The
Hebrew Institution. He was coached there by Benny Reubin, a legend in
amateur catch-as-catch wrestling. Caddock also worked out with professionals
Charlie Cutler and Ernest Kartje.
Although not many of his 1909-1914 results are known, Caddock was the
dominant amateur middleweight and light heavyweight in the country.
A newspaper story reported that local farmers in Barea, Iowa arranged a
match between the two local champion amateurs - Caddock and Joe Stecher.
The two wrestled in a barn in front of thirty-eight people, with Stecher
winning the two of the three falls match. On April 4, 1914, Caddock won the
national AAU Light Heavyweight title. He was 26 years old, a collage
graduate and a landholder, having homesteaded a ranch in Upton, Wyoming near
the Black Hills. On April 17, 1915, Caddock won the AAU championship in both
the light heavyweight and heavyweight classes.
His pro debut was on June 8, 1915 when he met former American Champion Jesse
Westergaard in a handicap match. In January 1916, Caddock signed a contract
to be managed by Gene Malady, who gave Caddock the title "The Man of a
Thousand Holds". Caddock had the favorite finishing hold of a head scissor.
The Stecher vs. Caddock world title match took place on April 9, 1917 in a
sold out arena. The attendance was 7,500 for a gate of $14,000. Caddock was
awarded the World Title when Stecher was unable to return to the ring for the
third and deciding fall. Caddock had overcome size with skill and speed to
record one of wrestling's biggest upsets.
On August 4, 1917, the U.S. military determined that he was unfit for WWI
military service due to an infection caused by tonsil surgery but Caddock
wanted to fight. He went to the famed Mayo Clinic and received treatment and
surgery on his tonsils and on October 5, the U.S.Army accepted him. In
France in 1918, Caddock was gassed. In Londdrecourt, France Caddock trained
the Second Army Athletic Team for competition in the A.E.F. championships
where his boxing and wrestling teams won championships.
Earl Caddock's last known match took place in Boston on June 7, 1922.
Caddock, unlike many other wrestlers, had a good education and wealth.
He became President of the United Petroleum Corporation located in Omaha.
He lived in good health until 1948, when he had a major heart attack. He
underwent major surgeries in 1949 and 1950. He was bedridden after that and
never recovered. He died at his home in Walnut, Iowa on August 25, 1950.
Caddock, at 5'11' and 185 pounds, was also able to make matches and wins over
wrestlers forty pounds heavier than he, look believable. He also had memorable
matches with Lewis, Londos, and both Zbyszkos. Caddock was the top babyface
of this time
- condensed from Caddock’s biography by Steve Yohe