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Noted Boxing Buffs Name Their Favorite Boxing Book

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 If you happen to have a lot of time on your hands (and, unfortunately, many of us do) this might be a good time to cuddle up with a good book. If you are like us, you promised yourself that you would get acquainted with a particular author, but somehow never found the time. Well, now just may be the right time to fulfill that promise.

And it just so happens that we have a ready-made list of recommendations.

In August of 2017, TSS writer Ted Sares reached out to more than two dozen noted boxing buffs and asked them to name their favorite boxing book. Many felt compelled to name more than one, which was fine with us. We thought this would be a good time to re-visit Ted’s survey.

Yes, we know that bookstores and libraries are closed right now throughout most of the English-speaking world, but almost every title can be found on Amazon and some of the classics – even books prized by collectors – can be acquired very cheaply from independent online booksellers who specialize in used books. Their ranks have mushroomed in recent years.

We listed Ted’s correspondents alphabetically by their last name. Here are their picks:

JIM AMATO (writer, historian): A.J. Liebling’s “The Sweet Science.”

RUSS ANBER (elite trainer, corner man, and TV personality): “Joe Louis -Black Hero in White America” by Chris Mead. I remember reading this from cover to cover, unable to put it down. Others: “The Greatest Fight of Our Generation” by Lewis A. Erenberg, “The Sixteenth Round” by Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, “Beyond Glory” by David Margolick.

JOE BRUNO (former New York Tribune sportswriter; author of more than 45 crime-related books, including true crime, novels and screenplays): AJ Liebling’s “The Sweet Science.”

TRACY CALLIS (eminent boxing historian, writer, and journalist): Seven come quickly to mind. I love to read about boxing so I like almost any book about the game.

“A Man among Men” by Kelly Richard Nicholson

“Chicago’s Greatest Sportsman” by Mark T. Dunn

“Hitters, Dancers and Ring Magicians” by Kelly Richard Nicholson

“In the Ring with Bob Fitzsimmons” by Adam Pollack

“In the Ring with James J. Jeffries” by Adam Pollack

“The Choynski Chronicles” by Chris LaForce

“Ultimate Tough Guy” by Jim Carney Jr.

STEVE CANTON (A member of the International Boxing Research Organization, Steve has been involved in every aspect of boxing for more than 52 years): There are so many excellent boxing books. “Only The Ring Was Square” by Teddy Brenner with Barney Nagler was outstanding. “Bummy Davis vs. Murder Inc.” by Ron Ross, “Boxing Babylon” by Nigel Collins, just to name a few.

WILLIAM DETLOFF (former amateur boxer, author, editor of Ringside Seat magazine): I’ll go with Liebling’s “The Sweet Science.” Wiley’s anthology is certainly up there. It’s underrated.

JILL DIAMOND (boxing writer, official, and matchmaker): BOX: “The Face of Boxing” by Holgar Keifel because I love a good photography book. “Four Kings” by George Kimball. In fiction, “The Harder They Fall” by Budd Schulberg. There are so many others.

BERNARD FERNANDEZ (boxing writer and lifetime member of the BWAA): It’s a tough call. There are a lot of good ones floating around, but I’ll go with John Schulian’s “Writers’ Fighters and Other Sweet Scientists.” But then I’m kind of biased as John, a colleague of mine for a time at the Philadelphia Daily News, is a friend.

IVAN GOLDMAN (ex-Washington Post and LA Times newspaperman, boxing writer, novelist): I humbly submit my novel “The Barfighter” for consideration.

Dr. MARGARET GOODMAN (President of VADA, former Nevada boxing official, neurologist, author): Actually my novel “Death in Vegas” is my favorite book as it tells the truth about the sport via thinly-veiled fiction. Writing it was very cathartic.

LEE GROVES (boxing writer, author): If I had to pick one, it would be “McIlvanney on Boxing” by Hugh McIlvanney. Anytime I want to get a booster shot of excellent, muscular prose, that’s what I read. The two A.J. Liebling books “The Sweet Science” and “The Neutral Corner” also provide inspiration.

KEVIN IOLE (Yahoo combat sports writer): I loved “The Fight” by Norman Mailer, which I found to be a well-reported, gripping tale of one of the seminal events of my youth. I also loved “Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times” by Thomas Hauser and “Fight of the Century” by Michael Arkush.

MIGUEL ITURRATE (TSS writer and Senior Archivist at The Boxing Channel): I really enjoy the history books, especially biographies. Battling Nelson’s autobiography is a good one. I also really enjoyed “Muldoon: The Solid Man of Sport” by Edward Van Every.

Dr. STUART KIRSCHENBAUM (former amateur boxer; co-founder National Association of Boxing Commissioners): “Empire of Deceit” by Dean Allison. It’s a fascinating true story of the Wells Fargo Bank embezzlement by boxing promoter Harold Smith. I had dealings with him while I was the head of the boxing commission in Michigan. He promoted several Kronk championship fights. Cast of characters include Muhammad Ali, Thomas Hearns, and a who’s who of that era. Only in America and only in boxing… crime does pay.

HAROLD LEDERMAN (famous boxing judge, member of HBO team, and 2016 IBHOF inductee): “All Time Greats Of Boxing” by Peter Arnold is my favorite boxing book because it’s a great book.

FRANK LOTIERZO: (TSS writer emeritus): I can’t pick a favorite….so I’ll give you a few of my favorites that I’ve read this summer. “In This Corner” by Peter Heller which I read for the third time; “Sugar Ray Robinson” with Dave Anderson, “Joe Louis: The Great Black Hope” by Richard Bak, “Hard Luck: The Triumph and Tragedy of Jerry Quarry” by Steve Springer and Blake Chavez

ARNE LANG (historian, author, editor-in-chief of The Sweet Science): Many years ago I stumbled on a book called “Bella of Blackfriars” in a used book store in Carlsbad, California. Bella was Bella Burge, the widow of Dick Burge, an English middleweight champion who went to prison for eight years in a massive bank fraud. From her husband’s death in 1918 until 1940, Bella ran “The Ring,” a boxing house in a circular building on Blackfriars Road in London that was originally an Anglican chapel. I would liken “The Ring” to the Olympic Auditorium in LA. It didn’t get the biggest fights but housed many important fights and attracted a loyal clientele that included some salty characters. I found the book a great window into the world of boxing in London. By the way, The Ring had fallen on hard times when it was reduced to rubble by the German Luftwaffe in 1940. I never tire of reading A.J. Liebling, whether he’s writing about boxing or Louisiana politics or whatever. I read Liebling for pleasure and also in hopes that some of his skill as a wordsmith will rub off on me but it never has.

RON LIPTON (world class referee): I enjoyed “Jersey Boy: The Life and Mob Slaying of Frankie DePaula” and “Dick Tiger: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal,” both by Adeyinka Makinde, and the Rocky Graziano biography “Somebody Up There Likes Me.” Also, anything by Ted Sares, Springs Toledo, Mike Silver, and William Detloff.

GORDON MARINO (philosophy professor, Wall Street Journal boxing writer, trainer): I guess I would go with Carlo Rotella’s “Cut Time” and Roger Kahn’s “A Flame of Pure Fire: Jack Dempsey and the Roaring 20’s.”

ROBERT MLADINICH (former NYPD police detective, author, boxing writer): “Writers, Fighters and Other Sweet Scientists” by John Schulian. It is a collection of his columns from the Chicago Sun-Times and there is not a weak story in the batch. He is a master storyteller and my favorite boxing writer. I also immensely enjoyed “Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling and a World on the Brink” by David Margolick for its historical and social significance and the underrated but exceptional “Weigh-In: The Selling of a Middleweight” by title challenger Fraser Scott.

TED SARES (TSS writer) Ralph Wiley’s “Serenity: A Boxing Memoir.” I also enjoyed Mike Silver’s “The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science” for the primary reason that it stirred up a lot of much needed debate between Old School and New School.

JOHN SCULLY (elite trainer, former world title challenger): My favorite boxing book is one that I believe to be one of the greatest books ever written on the inside of boxing called “The Black Lights” by Thomas Hauser. It was actually sent to me by Mike Jones back in 1988 when he was trying to sign me to a professional contract. He sent me the book I assumed as a way to show me how he deals in the boxing game as it is centered around his fighter, Billy Costello. It is a truly great book.

MIKE SILVER (boxing historian; author): I could easily name at least a dozen truly outstanding boxing books that are my favorites, but if asked to name just one I would place David Margolick’s “Beyond Glory Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling and a World on the Brink” in the top spot. Another all-time favorite is the great Nat Fleischer’s “50 Years at Ringside.”

CARYN A. TATE (boxing writer) While it encompasses more than boxing, Bruce Lee’s “Tao of Jeet Kune Do” is probably my favorite book on combat. The book is filled with priceless instruction that is relevant and insightful. Lee was a great admirer of many Western boxers and incorporated some of their techniques into the martial art he founded. More than just an instruction manual, the book fuses technique with philosophy and real world psychology. The book shows that Lee was on the same page with great minds in boxing like Emanuel Steward and Cus D’Amato.

BRUCE TRAMPLER (Top Rank matchmaker; a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame): Off the top of my head, “The Professional” by W.C. Heinz, “Fat City” by Leonard Gardner, “A Boxing Companion” by Richard O’Brien, “Only The Ring Was Square,” and “James Norris and the Decline of Boxing” by Barney Nagler.

GARY “DIGITAL” WILLIAMS: (boxing writer, blogger and “Master of the Beltway”): I have two. Jack Newfield’s “Only in America: The Life and Crimes of Don King” is one of the great investigative books of all time. It was riveting. Also, Brad Berkwitt’s “Boxing Interviews of a Lifetime.” I love the range of people — in and out of the sport — that he interviews in the book.

PETER WOOD: (former boxer, author): My favorite iconic boxing books are “The Sweet Science” by A.J. Liebling and “The Harder They Fall” by Budd Schulberg. My favorite non-fiction boxing books are “Weigh-In” by Fraser Scott; “In This Corner” by Peter Heller, “Atlas” by Teddy Atlas, and “The Raging Bull” by Joseph Carter and Peter Savage. My favorite fictional boxing books are “My Father’s Fighter” by Ronald K. Fried and “The Professional” by W.C. Heinz.

Special Mention goes to “Flash Gordon’s 1970 East Coast Boxing Yearbook” with Johnny Bos and Bruce Trampler. My all-time favorite boxing autobiography is “Confessions of a Fighter” by Peter W. Wood.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Several interesting books have been published since Ted Sares conducted this survey. A new publishing house in Boston, Hamilcar Publications, released several boxing books, both hardcover and paperback, with more on the way. One of Hamilcar’s initial offerings was a reprint of Donald McRae’s 1997 opus “Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing,” which many consider one of the best boxing books of all time. The Hamilcar edition, with a new chapter by the author, clocks in at 552 pages.

Each year during the holiday season, Hall of Fame boxing writer Thomas Hauser publishes a list of what he considers the best books on boxing. It’s a long list. Here’s a recent compilation.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

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‘Tank’ Davis has a lot in common with his FORMER Promoter Floyd Mayweather

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The first big boxing card of 2023 takes place on Jan. 7 in Washington, D.C., where Gervonta “Tank” Davis defends his WBA world lightweight title against Hector Garcia with Jaron “Boots” Ennis and Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade, among others, in supporting bouts. It’s a SHOWTIME ppv.

In the past, Davis has split his training camp between Baltimore and Las Vegas where he conducts his workouts at the gym owned by his mentor, Floyd Mayweather Jr. However, that relationship has been severed. Speaking to a FightHype reporter at a press conference in Washington, Davis confirmed that he was free agent. Although it was common knowledge that they had been feuding, it was apparently an amicable break-up. “Much love to Mayweather promotions,” said Tank diplomatically.

Mayweather was still an active boxer when he took Davis under his wing. “The ultimate goal,” said Mayweather, “is for him to break all of my records.” Currently 27-0 with 25 KOs, Gervonta is a shade more than halfway there.

Floyd did more than groom Davis to be a future world champion. As noted in a widely- circulated 2015 story, Davis, then 20 years old, “traveled on Floyd’s private jet, participated in Mayweather’s public appearances, observed his business dealings, and took a ride with him on his yacht.”

It was inevitable that Davis, raised in a West Baltimore slum, would inherit Mayweather’s zest for the high life. He shares his mentor’s fondness for bling and for bodacious wheels. Within the last three months, he purchased a customized McLaren 765LT Coupe, one of only 765 manufactured by the British auto-maker, and a widebody Lamborghini Urus.

One surmises that he purchased the Urus to replace the Lamborghini SUV that was damaged in a hit-and-run accident in Baltimore in the early morning hours of Nov. 5, 2020. Four individuals in another vehicle were injured when Davis or his driver ran a red light and left the scene without stopping to render aid. Gervonta will have his day in court on Feb. 16 and the outcome could potentially scupper a Spring megafight with Ryan Garcia.

This was not Davis’s first brush with the law and in this way too his career has paralleled that of his mentor.

In 2015, he was charged with aggravated assault for sucker-punching a childhood friend at his home gym in Baltimore. In November of last year, police in Coral Gables, Florida, charged him with Simple Battery Domestic Violence after a video surfaced of him grabbing his former girlfriend and mother of his child by the neck at a charity basketball game.

As for Floyd Mayweather Jr, he continues to keep his name in the news for reasons that have nothing to do with boxing. Earlier this month, TMZ reported that he visited an art gallery in Miami and spent $3.1 million for “between 10 and 12” paintings including four by Andy Warhol. Yesterday it was reported that the semi-retired, 45-year- old boxer had an interest in purchasing an NBA team and that he had a $2 billion offer on the table to acquire a franchise he would not identify.

Previously he got involved in the sport of NASCAR. Mayweather’s The Money Team (TMT) Racing co-sponsored Conor Daly, a star driver from the IndyCar circuit who finished 35th in his NASCAR cup series debut at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 8.

Mayweather’s partner in his Conor Daly “investment” is Milton “Todd” Ault III, the founder of a company called BitNile, described as “a diversified holding company specializing in disruptive technologies, including cryptocurrencies and innovations in the field of decentralized finance.”

ault

Ault

On web sites and in disreputable business magazines, Ault is described as a “successful investor, entrepreneur, CEO, social media personality, motivational speaker and mentor.” In 2009, various publications reported that he was being sued by a group of 12 international hedge funds for bilking them out of $4.2 million, money ostensibly intended for developing a software program for stock trading and instead used to fund “pornographic-related endeavors” including a ‘’swingers’ ranch” in the Catskill Mountains.

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Tiger Jack Fox took a Circuitous Route to the International Boxing Hall of Fame

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Tiger Jack Fox was 47 years old, or thereabouts, when he suffered a fatal heart attack in front of a movie theater in his adopted hometown of Spokane, Washington. Three years earlier, he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. He died broke.

Fox’s memorial service was held at 8 am on a Friday morning at Spokane’s landmark Lady of Lourdes Cathedral. It attracted a small turnout. Most of those in attendance were schoolchildren from the school that sat next door and was run by the Diocese. They likely knew nothing about the decedent who had passed away three days earlier on April 6, 1954.

A significantly larger turnout will pay homage to Fox this coming June during Hall of Fame Weekend in Canastota, New York. This morning, Dec. 7, it was announced that Fox, who fought mostly as a light heavyweight, would be going into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the Old Timer’s category. He will join a long list of posthumous honorees who died in relative obscurity.

There’s a lot of mystery — not to mention a lot of poppycock — surrounding the man born John Linwood Fox, not only his true age but his birthplace: Georgia? Indiana? Minnesota? He had his earliest confirmed fight in 1928 and fought until 1950, amassing a record of 138-24-12 with 91 KOs in documented fights. The key word here is “documented.” In his early years when he tramped about the northwest and southwest, many of his fights were off the grid, so to speak. This was true of many fighters of his era, especially journeymen that shared his pigmentation.

Professional boxers and wrestlers that plied the hinterland customarily roamed from territory to territory, hunkering down with a local promoter until they exhausted their pull. At various times, Fox hung his hat in Picher, Oklahoma, Springfield, Missouri, Terre Haute, Indiana, Salt Lake City and Portland, Oregon before taking up residence in Spokane where he had 11 fights in 1936-37 and several more in neighboring Idaho.

It was during his Terre Haute phase that Fox had one of his more interesting bouts, a 10-round contest in Indianapolis with veteran George Godfrey, the Leiperville Shadow, a former sparring partner of Jack Dempsey. The bout was billed for the World Colored Heavyweight Title.

Godfrey, who out-weighed Tiger Jack 257-181, was too big for Fox and got the decision in an uninteresting fight, keeping the gold-tinted belt that was put on display in the window of a drug store for promotional purposes.

Fox had at least 90 fights under his belt when he made his New York debut at Madison Square Garden in 1937. His match with unheralded Elton “Tex” Irwin was relegated to the walk-out fight following a middleweight title tiff between Freddie Steele and Babe Risko. Fox had Irwin on the canvas three times before the match was halted 29 seconds into the second round.

Fox had 11 more fights in New York before the year was out, seven at Rockland Palace, a Harlem dance hall, and was undefeated in New York rings prior to his 1939 engagement at Madison Square Garden with Melio Bettina in a bout sanctioned for the New York version of the world light heavyweight title. Fox was favored but didn’t bring his “A” game and was stopped in the ninth frame.

Fox, who fought only in spurts, had a handy excuse for his poor showing. Two months earlier, uptown in Harlem, he was stabbed in the chest by a woman wielding a 10-inch razor knife as he left a late-night party. He lost a considerable amount of blood and according to some reports suffered a punctured lung.

It was at Rockland Palace that Fox scored what in hindsight would come to be seen as one of his biggest wins. On May 22, 1937, he stopped Jersey Joe Walcott in the eighth round, knocking him down for the count with a right cross to the jaw. Twelve months later, he defeated Jersey Joe again, winning a clear 10-round decision on Walcott’s turf in Camden, New Jersey.

These two wins undoubtedly got Tiger Jack over the hump with the IBHOF electorate. A late bloomer, Walcott went on to win the world heavyweight title and preceded Fox into the Canastota shrine by 33 years.

Some of Fox’s setbacks were likely pre-arranged. Against white opponents, black fighters often had to “do business” to keep the checks rolling in. When fighting members of their own race for a percentage of the gate, black boxers often tailored their exertions to how much money was in the till. Fox fought many stinkers and it didn’t help that he was by nature a counter-puncher whose style – notwithstanding all those knockouts – wasn’t particularly fan-friendly.

This was the second straight year that the Old Timer’s committee selected a fighter identified with the state of Washington. Last year, the honor went to Sequim native Tod Morgan who like Tiger Jack Fox died young (he was 50) and died a pauper. Only one other Apple State fighter is in the Hall of Fame, the aforementioned Freddie Steele, the pride of Tacoma, inducted in 1999.

Arne K. Lang’s latest book, titled “George Dixon, Terry McGovern and the Culture of Boxing in America, 1890-1910,” has rolled off the press. Published by McFarland, the book can be ordered directly from the publisher (https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/clash-of-the-little-giants) or via Amazon.

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R.I.P. Hall of Fame Referee Mills Lane whose Life Story was Worthy of a Big Screen Biopic

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He probably never should have lasted as long as he did. After famed boxing referee Mills Bee Lane III suffered a debilitating stroke in March 2002, which left him partially paralyzed and unable to speak, the consensus medical opinion was that he it would be touch-and-go for him to survive the first few weeks. Even when he did make it through that critical early stage of recovery, it seemed a medical certainty that the feisty former Marine, at 65, could expect no more than a life expectancy of five years, tops, and most likely as a virtual prisoner in his own body.

But Mills Lane had been the third man in the ring long enough to discern when certain fighters, well behind on the scorecards and unlikely to find a path to victory, had shown enough resolve and moxie to go the distance if possible and make it to the final bell. It is a disposition of proud defiance he admired in others, and had exhibited himself on numerous occasions as an unapologetic free spirit. On those occasions when one must choose to be a leader or a follower, the little guy with the bald head and raspy voice always chose to stride boldly to the front.

For 20 years Lane was unable to verbally communicate with the family he so dearly loved, but there are some things, including goodbye, that a father need not express in words to make his feelings known. And, so, Mills Lane, at 85, silently took his leave of a life that mostly had been well spent in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Dec. 6, with his wife, Kaye, and sons Terry and Tommy, and their wives, at his bedside in the patriarch’s adopted hometown of Reno, Nev.

“He was on hospice at home, in Reno, with the family around him when he passed away between 2 and 2:30 in the morning, but his time of death wasn’t officially recorded until 3:16,” older son Terry noted. “He had a rough couple of days. It all kind of came out of nowhere and things progressed quickly. My brother and I got back to Reno this past Thursday to be with my mother at Dad’s bedside. Monday was one of the worst days of my life. Dad was just out of it. All we could do was whatever we could to make him comfortable.

“The reason we put him on hospice was he was beginning to have renal failure. I presume the stroke he suffered in 2002 was a contributing factor because he was in a pretty poor condition for 20 years.”

That Mills Lane was a respected and highly regarded referee is a given, and not just because he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the Non-Participant category in 2013, which in and of itself is a story that bears telling. But it is the winding road this son of Deep South wealth and privilege undertook to success on his own terms that makes him unique, so much so that his history of obstinate self-discovery almost screams out for close-examination by a Hollywood screenwriter.

Mills Lane began life as the patrician scion of a banking dynasty in Savannah, Ga., with extensive holdings in South Carolina. How wealthy were the Lanes? So much so that the Mills B. Lane House in historic downtown Savannah, completed in 1907, was hailed as a “jewel of the antebellum South” when it was placed on the market in 2007 with an asking price of $7.6 million. It seems a safe bet that no other future referee was raised in a mansion that boasted a marble entrance, Corinthian columns, parquet floors, 29 handcrafted canvas murals, nine fireplaces, five bedrooms, eight full baths, three half-baths and a large, in-ground pool.

Young Mills’ father went so far as to have already paid his son’s tuition at a prestigious Midwestern university, where he was to study agriculture. But being a banker and/or gentleman farmer didn’t especially appeal to the son, so he chucked it all in 1958 to enlist in the Marines. He took up boxing during his service stint, becoming All-Far East welterweight champion. When his hitch was up, he enrolled at the University of Nevada in Reno which was reputed to have a boxing team of some repute. He won an NCAA boxing championship at UNR, went 10-1 as a pro and from there continued to make his mark as a deputy sheriff, district attorney, two-time judge of Washoe County Circuit Court and, of course, boxing referee.

It was as a referee, however, that Mills Lane began to make his mark not only nationally, but internationally, working such high-profile and controversial bouts as Muhammad Ali-Bob Foster (1972), Larry Holmes-Gerry Cooney (1982), the Evander Holyfield-Riddick Bowe II “Fan Man” fight (1993), Oliver McCall’s crying jag against Lennox Lewis (1997) and, most notably, the Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson II “Bite Fight” (1997). It might have been coincidence or possibly fate when Lane got the assignment for Holyfield-Tyson II when the originally tapped ref, Mitch Halpern, backed out when Tyson’s handlers objected to him and was replaced by the guy known as a lightning rod for fights sure to be branded into the public’s memory.

“The visibility of the `Bite Fight’ made Mills even more mainstream,” recalled Marc Ratner, former executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. “It almost seemed like he worked all the Super Bowls of crazy fights.”

Terry Lane said that the visibility of the “Bite Fight” was such that the producers of the (eventual) Judge Mills Lane TV show decided that their courtroom arbiter of justice just might be the same guy that had the stones to disqualify Tyson.

It was while at home in Reno, by himself, that Lane suffered the stroke that made him voiceless, unable to call out for assistance. Terry Lane is unsure how long he lay on the floor of his home, but the delay did not help.

“A few months earlier, our family had become bicoastal,” Terry Lane recalled for a story that appeared for TSS in 2014. “My brother had just begun high school in New York City after moving there from Reno. All of us were kind of going back and forth between Reno and New York. I had just started college in New York around that time. My mom, my brother and I were all back East and my dad was in Reno, by himself. We really don’t know how long it was before he was found. It might have been a day possibly as long as two days. We don’t know for sure.”

As if all that he already was facing weren’t enough, Mills had a fall in June 2013, almost to the day a full year before he was to be inducted into the IBHOF. His attendance for that event, which would have been considered extremely unlikely in any case, suddenly appeared to be impossible.

“When I got the call (from IBHOF executive director) Ed Brophy, I just assumed it would be Tommy and me going to Canastota and making a quick thank-you like we’ve done dozens of times before,” Terry said in 2014. “But Dad was really into it. I know he was very happy to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He can’t speak, but he still can emote and be expressive.”

Amazingly – well, maybe not so amazingly given who and what Mills Lane always had been before the stroke – he threw himself into the task of learning how to walk again, however haltingly. And when the Lanes accompanied their father to central New York, the miracle that couldn’t possibly happen became reality.

“I could not believe that we were able to attend,” Terry said. “Ed Brophy and his team, God bless ’em, made our lives so much easier at that time. It was a highlight for Dad to be there during a time when he truly was a prisoner in his own body.

“When he first had the stroke in 2002, we were told that his life expectancy was five years, maybe. Another massive stroke, which was always possible, would just take him out. So, in our own way, our family has been mentally prepared for this moment for 20 years. But then my dad never followed any accepted timeframe from for the living of his life. He lived way beyond any doctor’s expectations, and in that time, he still was someone who not only was a disabled stroke victim, but he was getting older. He turned 85 on Nov. 12 of this year.”

In other words, what the stroke started finally was finished by the aging process that affects everyone. Rest in peace, Mr. Lane. In sickness and in health, you stood as a beacon of hope for everyone who understands that every fight is capable of being won to some degree.

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