Technically Speaking, There’s Still 9 Days of Fall Left.
December 12th, 2011 by slangon

Which means I still have time to show off some Leafs.

In my last post (which admittedly was quite a while ago, which seems to becoming a bit of a habit), I showed a sweet 1948-49 Leaf All-Star Baseball Gum card that I picked up in a lot on eBay recently. Well, this was the other card that came with it.

In 1948 (or 1949, depending on who you ask), Leaf issued card sets for baseball players, football players and boxers. I’ve already pointed out in my post about the Jerry Priddy card I got with this Fritzi Zivic that the baseball set was actually issued in 1949, despite the fact that the copyright date reads 1948. I found some sources that claim the same for the football and boxing sets, but I’ve also found sources that claim otherwise. I’ve seen on a few different message boards that there apparently were white backed cards and gray backed cards. Some folks speculate that the white backs were actually issued in late 1948, whereas the gray backs hit the shelves in early 1949.

All three sports share the same basic design of a colorized image of the subject on a solid colored background. The bottom has a solid colored bar with the persons name across it. I’ve seen some examples of the baseball set where the background behind the player is split into two different colors, but I’ve yet to see any football or boxing cards that share that feature. Also, whereas the baseball set uses a lot of different color combos, the football set sticks to red, yellow and blue and the boxing set sticks to blue and red and sometimes black.

Much like the Jerry Priddy card that accompanied this one, outside of the obvious flaw of some numbers scratched into the surface of the front, this card is actually in very good shape. A lot better than most other cards that I personally own of this vintage. I can’t quite make out what exactly is scratched on there. It almost looks to me like “46, 53, 31”. Initially I thought perhaps that was some sort of reference to Fritzi’s career stats, but considering he fought his final bought not too long after this card came out and his career record was 158-64 with 80 knockouts and 9 draws, that doesn’t seem to fit. Who knows? Maybe the youngster who owned this card needed some scrap paper to work out some math problems while doing his homework. I guess I’ll just chalk this up to another Condition: Poor mystery.

Fritzie (or Fritzi, according to the front of this card) was a Croatian-American boxer who was born in Pittsburgh in 1913. He had 4 older brothers who also practiced the sweet science and they were collectively known as “The Fighting Zivics”. His brothers Eddie, Jack and Pete had a combined record of 119-103-21 with 49 knockouts. I couldn’t find any record for his other brother, Joe, but I did see that there was a boxing referee named Joe Zivic. Assuming that’s the same guy, I’m going to guess that his fighting career didn’t amount to much. Compare the combined 119-103-21 record with Fritz’s 159-64-9 and add to that the fact that Fritzie was the only Zivic to win a title, and I’d say that “The Croat Comet” was the most successful of the Fighting Zivics.

He began fighting professionally in 1931 at the tender age of 18, and by 1936 was ranked among the top 10 welterweight contenders. In 1940, he got his shot at the Champ. On October 4th of that year, he was 4-1 underdog as he got ready to face the reigning Welterweight Champeen of the World, Hammerin’ Hank Armstrong at Madison Square Garden in New York.

According to Zivic, the fight was very dirty. He claims that Armstrong was “givin’ me the elbows and the shoulders and the top of the head, and I can give that stuff back pretty good, but I don’t dare to or maybe they’ll throw me out of the ring.” By the 7th round, Fritzie started to give it back, and the Zivic claims the ref told both fighters “If you guys want to fight that way, that’s okay with me.” Then Firtzie really went to work, cutting both of the Champ’s eyes and giving him a gash in the mouth. In the 15th and final round, Zivic hit Armstrong with a left hook-right cross combination that sent him to the canvas as the bell was rung. Fritzie won the bout by unanimous decision.

Zivic again beat Armstrong in a rematch in January of 1941, but eventually lost his title to Red Cochran in July of that year. Fritz was known as a bit of a dirty fighter, but as he himself said “You’re boxing, you’re not playing the piano.”

2 Responses to “Technically Speaking, There’s Still 9 Days of Fall Left.”

  1. Would you consider trading the boxing card off?

  2. I really want this boxing card. Will you take some 1960 Topps off your wantlist for it?

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