Name: Earl Caddock
Year Inducted: 2007
Induction Category: Pioneer Era

Earl Caddock

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

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