By Mike Chapman
On Dec. 16, 1917, the greatest wrestler in American history died in Humboldt, Iowa. Therefore, the 100-year anniversary of Frank Gotch’s death is on Saturday. Gotch was the biggest sports hero of his day. Teddy Roosevelt invited him to the White House and he starred in a stage play that toured the East Coast and Europe. He was even being recruited to run for governor of Iowa in 1920.
Here is what the 1954 book “100 Greatest Heroes” had to say about Frank’s passing.
“When the news of his death reached the people of his native Iowa, the whole state went into mourning. In Humboldt, his hometown, every store closed down, the schoolhouse was shuttered and empty, on the day of his funeral. Thousands of weeping mourners, gathered from many parts of the land, trudged the icy path to the little rural cemetery, on a cold December day, to bid a final farewell to the farm boy who had been the greatest wrestling champion in history.”