The Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame Association
Sidney Goldberg Inducted 1987 - Class of 1930
Sidney Goldberg, class of 1930, is a legend in Toledo sports circles for his involvement in professional boxing and basketball and for the many athletes he has befriended through the years.
Actually, he deserves recognition for his leadership in many fields. He served on the Citizens Advisory Recreation Commission for 15 years and was chairman of it for two. He was elected to the presidency of the Toledo Chapter of the American Newspaper Guild for eight years in a row. As a street circulation manager and later a station manager, he has watched and guided many of today’s professional and business leaders as they started careers in business as newspaperboys.
His work in these fields, however, has been outshined by his colorful career as a sports promoter in which he brought major sports to Toledo, and opened the way to careers in professional sports for a large number of Toledo athletes.
As a young man barely out of high school, he undertook to promote a little·known basketball team called the Harlem Globetrotters in this area. It was in the worst part of the Depression, and this barnstorming troupe of talented black basketball players, was hard-pressed to find playing dates and traveling and eating money. Sid s first promotion, at the old Westminster gym, netted a total of $41 for the team and almost nothing for the promoter, but it was real money and it was appreciated.
As the Trotters became more successful Sid was not forgotten and eventually the owner, Abe Saperstein, told Sid to put together a basketball team to tour with the Trotters. For six years Toledo's finest basketball players had the opportunity to travel with his Toledo Mercurys, see the country, play in the major sports centers before sellout crowds, and build both reputations and bank accounts.
Sid was a pioneer in professional basketball, and owned the Toledo franchise in the National Basketball league, the forerunner of the present National Basketball Association. His team played at the University of Toledo prior to his transferring the franchise to the Sports Arena ownership.
Two of his professional teams qualified for the World Championship tournament in Chicago, once going to the semifinals before losing and another time reaching the quarterfinals. Woodward High School's Tommy Edwards, Jack Kennedy, Irv Fromkin, Freddie Weisberg, John Payak, Paul Seymour, Bob Long, Frankie Sloan, Johnny Kornowa, Angie Cuttaia, and Jimmy Knierm were among the athletes who turned professional on the various Goldberg teams.
Sid was nationally known in fight circles as a knowledgeable and reliable promoter, and brought some of the great names of boxing to fight in Toledo. A partial list includes Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Ezzard Charles, Phil Terranovva, Carmen Basilio, Tony Zale, Rocky Graziano, Willie Pep, and Archie Moore. Mr. Goldberg promoted six major fights for Moore in Toledo on his way to the light heavyweight championship of the world. Jack Dempsey made personal appearances in Toledo for Sid's promotions.
In the early days of television, when the medium was looking for reliable and competent matchmakers and promoters, Sid had such reputation for delivering fighters and audience that he was able to bring 15 nationally-televised fights to town. These shows gave an opportunity to promising young Toledo fighters to earn good paydays in the preliminary fights. Such boxers included Pat Lowry, Charlie Cotton, Buddy Carr, Red Elby, Kelly Hymore, Duke Balczerak, Ray Uhs, Freddie Gnffith, Frankie Gerrard, and Louie Self.
Nationally known fight figures like Ray Arcel, Dewy Fragetta, Sol Gold, Teddy Brenner, Harry Markson, and Chris and Angelo Dundee were his friends, and when Wilbert McClure, the Toledoan, won the 1960 Olympic gold for boxing Sid became his manager. He appeared in 14 professional fights, including eight television main events, under Sid's guidance. When closed circuit boxing became big, Sid was sought out by the national rights holders to run the shows in Toledo. In the major fight centers Sid Goldberg WAS Toledo.
A good part of the legend that is Sid is his loyal wife, Goldie, who worked at his side and added a Jewish mother touch to his relationship with athletes. For a time the two operated a lunch counter in the University of Toledo field house. It wasn’t a great financial success. No hungry student was ever turned away because he had no money, and students are always hungry.
Upon graduation from Woodward High School, Sid had hoped for a career as a newspaper writer but settled for a $4-a-week job jumping trucks. A son, Albert, born to the Goldbergs, became a reporter, was business editor of the Blade eventually got into industrial publicity and currently is vice-president of a major public relations firm in California.