Related Wrestling Products
McManus on ITV’s World of Sport in the early 1970s.
Photograph: Rex Features Mick McManus, who has died aged 93, was billed at just 1.68m (5ft 6in) and 79kg (12 stone), yet he was among the most powerful men in the professional wrestling business in Britain.
His strength was not physical, but political, for behind the scenes he was the matchmaker for Dale Martin, the firm that controlled the business across the south of England.
By night McManus performed in halls around the country, but by day he worked from an office in Brixton, south London, determining the lineups and results for as many as eight shows a night.
These decisions were not taken lightly: crowd favourites had to win often enough to maintain their appeal, but if villains tasted defeat too frequently, crowds would have little incentive to return to future shows.
Mick McManus, right, with DJ Pete Murray in 1970.
Photograph: Leonard Burt/Getty Images Though McManus went for more than 20 years without a decisive loss on television, he was involved in one of the small screen’s rare genuine fights.
At a 1967 show at the Lime Grove baths hall in west London, McManus was scheduled to win, but his opponent Peter Preston, a legitimately skilled but less charismatic grappler, had other ideas.
Apparently incited by a northern rival promoter, Preston simply stopped reacting to McManus’s “offensive blows”.
Rather than pursue a legitimate contest, McManus began throwing blatant punches to give the referee an excuse to disqualify him, leaving Preston unable to claim a clear-cut victory.
Fortunately most opponents recognised the value of doing business the traditional way, none more so than McManus’s most famous rival, Jackie “Mr TV” Pallo.
The two welterweight villains clashed verbally on the Eamonn Andrews show, then battled in matches broadcast before the 1962 and 1963 FA Cup Finals.
The feud continued with countless rematches around the country, including a string of main events at the Royal Albert Hall, one of which saw ticket prices raised to three times usual levels.
Before ITV launched televised wrestling in 1955, it was rare for anyone other than heavyweights to headline major bills.
But the small screen did not discriminate on size, and McManus became a regular by projecting the unusual image of a snivelling cheat who still appeared legitimately tough, particularly when backed by his cohort Steve “Iron Man” Logan.
So passionate were some spectators that after a match in Chatham, Kent, where he characteristically cheated to win, the audience were invited to submit formal witness statements to a supposed official hearing into the bout.
The televised matches of McManus and company became so popular that for many years they were broadcast twice a week, on Saturday afternoons and Wednesday evenings.
In 1963 the shopkeepers’ union unsuccessfully appealed for ITV to move the broadcasts from the Saturday slot, complaining that women were staying home to watch the bouts rather than go shopping.
The power of television allowed McManus to mix in circles previously closed to members of a traditionally working-class profession.
He was photographed with the likes of Prince Philip, Harold Wilson, Raquel Welch and the Rolling Stones.
Decades before musclebound American grapplers became fashionable in Britain, fans could buy the “McManus Preparation 30″ vitamin pill.
A parliamentary debate about estate agents saw one MP compare their reputation to that of McManus.
And in 2002 he even appeared as a character in a video game aimed at an audience born long after the peak of his fame.
Born in Camberwell, south London, McManus left school at the age of 16 and worked for a drawing office before taking an apprenticeship at a Holborn printing firm; he would later use these skills to run a sideline business producing programmes, posters and tickets for his wrestling employers.
He was introduced to wrestling through friends and began amateur training at the John Ruskin club in Southwark.
As a wartime physical trainer he taught the legitimate version of the sport to RAF personnel, with his first professional performance coming on a posting to Australia in 1945, in the Leichhardt stadium, Sydney.
His British debut was less glamorous: a year later, he faced “Chopper” Howlett at Greenwich baths.
Following his retirement in 1982, McManus served as a technical adviser to London Weekend Television until wrestling was taken off-air in 1988.
He later worked in a public relations role for a wiring manufacturer, owned a pub in Guildford, Surrey, and devoted his free time to his love of antiques, becoming an authority on porcelain.
He retained close links to the wrestling business, lending his name to several new promotions and appearing at reunions for retired grapplers.
His wife, Barbara, died in January 2013, and his is survived by a son, Tony.
Mick McManus, professional wrestler, born 11 January 1920; died 22 May 2013
The A’s are deep in the heart of Texas on this road trip. So far, so good.
Did I mention that the A’s are playing the Astros starting on Friday? They could use some Houston-style cooking, hopefully after they polish off the Boomstick.
If you haven’t had a chance to catch an MiLB game, you should. Not only do you find some unique foods, but it’s a great way to spend a lazy afternoon knocking down some beers and seeing some organization’s young talent. Or a no-hitter against the Ports, if you’re me and go to Lancaster to catch them on Mothers’ Day.
Someone else is also fond of Texas food:
“You get frustrated during the game at some of the opportunities when you leave some guys on,” manager Bob Melvin said, “but we continued to fight through the at-bats the whole game; it was good.”
The A’s collected 15 hits, six for extra bases, beginning with Seth Smith’s solo homer in the second inning.
In the fifth, Coco Crisp, Yoenis C spedes and Brandon Moss doubled to highlight a four-run rally.
Asked about any drop-off this year following Colon’s suspension, Melvin said, “We’ve been monitoring that pretty closely, watching the velocity. Everything seems to be similar. So, no, he looks the same to me.”
There wasn’t a thought to let Colon pitch the eighth inning even though he needed 95 pitches to get through seven.
“He’s 40,” Melvin said, “and we want to try to get him through the season.
Anything over 100 for me is starting to get a little uncomfortable.
And to give us seven and just short of 100 is just terrific.”
Cue “He’s a man” jokes here starting Sunday
On a hot, windy night in Arlington, Bartolo Colon silenced the Rangers’ bats and rode a potent A’s lineup to an easy win.
The A’s mission was simple tonight – get a quality start out of Bartolo Colon1 and tag the pedestrian Josh Lindblom2 and a tired Rangers3 bullpen. Done and done. Eight out of nine starters got at least one hit, and Colon pitched 7 innings, allowing just two runs.
The early going did not look great for the A’s. Seth Smith4 hit a solo homer, but beyond that, the A’s left five on base in through the first three innings, against a very hittable Josh Lindblom (who featured a below-average fastball and a straight change up).
The first inning had Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes reaching base and stealing bases, with no runs scored. In the third, the A’s left the bases loaded. The Rangers, meanwhile, were tagging balls all over the field but running into outs, hitting into 3-6 double plays to end the first and second innings.
This had the makings of a “missed opportunities” game.
Yet, the game was tied at 1 until the A’s eventually got to Lindblom in the 4th. Coco Crisp5, who had at that point reached base twice on infield singles to second baseman Jurickson Profar6, knocked a hustle double to left fielder David Murphy7 to start the rally. After Jed Lowrie8 was retired, Cespedes9 and Brandon Moss hit back to back doubles.
3-1 A’s, and Ron Washington had seen enough given Lindbom’s early struggles.
In came Joseph Ortiz and out went any hope the Rangers had of winning the game. This was an interesting decision as Washington could have intentionally walked Smith and used Lindblom to pitch to Chris Young, whom he had struck out twice at that point.
On the other hand, Lindblom looked terrible and had just got smacked for three doubles. However, the lefty-lefty matchup failed to get the intended result. Seth Smith went the other way, singling home Brandon Moss and moving to second on a bobble by Murphy.
Chris Young immediately knocked in Smith with a broken bat line drive, and the rout was on.
Colon, wise beyond his weight, knows that no lead in Arlington is safe. And with his even keel and consistent fastball, he tends to pitch well with a solid lead. After giving one run back on a Profar sacrifice fly (he went 0-2 with 2 RBI in his 2013 debut), he cruised through the bottom of the seventh.
Meanwhile, the A’s were ready to add on against the overworked Rangers bullpen.
In the 6th, Lowrie doubled, Cespedes reached on an intentional walk (his second walk of the game) and Moss drew a 5 pitch walk to load the bases with two outs. Alas, the AN rain dances were ineffective and Josh Donaldson10 flew out to end the inning.
Nevertheless, the plucky A’s picked up where they left off in the 7th. Smith walked, Young singled up the middle, Sogard gritted a grounder up the middle, and it was rally time. Crisp drove in Young on a groundout.
In the 8th the A’s again left the bases loaded. Norris, the only starter without a hit, struck out after swinging and missing on three straight pitches to end the inning.
After loading the bases for Donaldson once more, the Bringer of Rain came through with a run-scoring single. Lowrie misread the ball and stayed at third, leaving the bases loaded. Smith flew out, ending the threat.
The A’s got 15 hits and 8 walks (yay!), yet left the bases loaded in a staggering four innings (wtf?).
Leaving that many on base probably won’t work tomorrow against Yu Darvish12, but I’m not here to pick nits. The A’s hit well, pitched well, ran well, and throughly beat down the division leaders. And oh yeah, four game win streak.
A’s nation should be very happy.
Also, adioslucca’s grandpa is a total badass – happy birthday!
- ^ Bartolo Colon (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Josh Lindblom (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Rangers (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Seth Smith (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Coco Crisp (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Jurickson Profar (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ David Murphy (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Jed Lowrie (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Cespedes (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Josh Donaldson (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Cory Burns (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Yu Darvish (www.sbnation.com)
There have been an awful lot of comings and goings in the A’s system over the past week or so, as always seems to be the case about this time of year. Lefty Hideki Okajima was promoted from the River Cats’ staff to the A’s bullpen, while perennial prospect Michael Taylor was forced to make another return trip to Sacramento. And with Jeremy Barfield1 laying claim to a spot in the River Cats’ outfield, Conner Crumbliss2 was shipped back to Midland, where he’ll be joined in the outfield by Josh Whitaker3, who was recently promoted from Stockton.
Meanwhile, righty Josh Bowman4 was shipped back to Stockton, where it looks like he’ll be joined in the rotation by former 1st-round draft pick James Simmons, who already made his first start for the Ports this week. And those are just some of the A’s prospects who’ve been on the move recently! You can get daily updates on all the A’s top prospects on my Athletics Farm5 blog and lots more details on the last week of A’s minor league action right here on Athletics Nation…
SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS
(Triple-A Pacific Coast League)
Record This Week: 4-2
Record This Season: 24-19
Choice leads the team in home runs and RBIs while Peterson leads the team in walks and OBP. Choice had been playing strictly in center field, but he’s recently begun getting some starts in right field as well. And one has to wonder if the A’s might be prepping him just in case right fielder Josh Reddick’s absence lingers for too long.
Jeremy Barfield filled out the outfield picture when he arrived from Midland a little over a week ago, and he’s been fitting right in, batting .310 with a pair of home runs in his first 9 games with Sacramento. Combined with his 8 home runs at Midland, Barfield now leads all A’s minor leaguers in home runs with a total of 10. Things got a little more crowded in the outfield when Michael Taylor returned to Sacramento this week and, with Barfield playing well, the A’s decided to ship Conner Crumbliss back down to Midland.
If first baseman Daric Barton7 ends up clearing waivers, the team might need to make room on the River Cats’ roster for him before long too. Meanwhile, in his first 10 games with Sacramento, shortstop Hiro Nakajima is hitting just .237. With Hideki Okajima’s recall by the A’s this week, RHP Dan Otero is the only real standout in the River Cats’ bullpen at this point, having allowed just 1 walk and 1 run over his first 15 appearances while notching 10 saves. Sonny Gray8 has been the clear standout amongst the starting staff, posting an ERA of 2.47 while allowing no home runs and striking out 38 in 43 2/3 innings of work.
OF Michael Choice (8 HR / 26 BB / 35 K / .288 AVG / .396 OBP / .484 SLG / .879 OPS)
OF Shane Peterson (3 HR / 33 BB / 34 K / .288 AVG / .426 OBP / .424 SLG / .850 OPS)
RHP Sonny Gray (43 2/3 IP / 39 H / 12 ER / 0 HR / 19 BB / 38 K / 2.47 ERA / 1.33 WHIP)
RHP Dan Otero (18 IP / 10 H / 1 ER / 0 HR / 1 BB / 14 K / 0.50 ERA / 0.61 WHIP / 10 SV)
(Double-A Texas League)
Record This Week: 3-4
Record This Season: 20-23
First baseman Anthony Aliotti14, who has been one of the most consistent hitters in the A’s sytem this year, had a career night on Saturday, collecting 3 home runs and 8 RBIs for the RockHounds. Aliotti now leads all A’s minor leaguers in hits, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. And if Daric Barton doesn’t clear waivers and end up back at Sacramento, it might finally be time for the A’s to give Aliotti a shot to show what he can do in Triple-A.
Outfielder Chad Oberacker’s been the second hottest hitter at Midland of late. He currently has 13 doubles and 5 triples, and even collected 2 of those triples in 1 game this week! In his return to Midland from Sacramento, outfielder Conner Crumbliss was back to his old self, reaching base 4 times in his first 9 plate appearances.
Since his arrival from Stockton, outfielder Josh Whitaker has had a slightly harder time of it though, hitting .176 in his first 5 games. An even more dubious distinction belongs to RockHounds’ shortstop Dusty Coleman15, who currently leads all A’s minor leaguers in errors with 14 in his first 43 games. The team’s greatest strength has been its starting rotation, which is being ably anchored by a trio of tough righties.
Murphy Smith leads all A’s minor league league starters with a 2.00 ERA, Zach Neal leads the RockHounds with 38 strikeouts, and Sean Murphy leads all A’s minor league starters with a 1.20 WHIP. Struggling starter Josh Bowman was sent down to Stockton this week, while the A’s signed 29-year-old right-hander Erik Arnesen, who spent 7 years in the Nationals‘ system and had most recently been pitching in the independent Atlantic League, and assigned him to Midland.
1B Anthony Aliotti (7 HR / 32 BB / 35 K / .373 AVG / .472 OBP / .590 SLG / 1.062 OPS)
OF Jake Goebbert (6 HR / 10 BB / 38 K / .275 AVG / .323 OBP / .443 SLG / .766 OPS)
OF Chad Oberacker (1 HR / 17 BB / 35 K / .261 AVG / .330 OBP / .418 SLG / .748 OPS)
RHP Murphy Smith (54 IP / 52 H / 12 ER / 2 HR / 15 BB / 33 K / 2.00 ERA / 1.24 WHIP)
RHP Zach Neal (53 2/3 IP / 53 H / 16 ER / 4 HR / 13 BB / 38 K / 2.68 ERA / 1.23 WHIP)
RHP Sean Murphy (29 IP / 24 H / 7 ER / 0 HR / 10 BB / 25 K / 2.17 ERA / 1.17 WHIP)
(High-A California League)
Record This Week: 3-3
Record This Season: 21-22
Top prospect Addison Russell16 was the top story at Stockton this week, as he really started showing a little pop. The shortstop hit 2 home runs, 2 doubles and a triple this week to raise his slugging percentage to a respectable .429.
He also went 8 for 25 to lift his batting average back over 200. Meanwhile, outfielder Rashun Dixon17 homered in his first game after his arrival from Beloit. And first baseman Max Muncy continues to lead all Ports’ regulars in hits, runs, walks, home runs, total bases and on-base percentage.
RHP Drew Granier has been the one reliable member of Stockton’s starting rotation, maintaining a nifty 2.28 ERA in the hitter-friendly California League while leading all A’s minor leaguers in strikeouts with 63 in 51 1/3 innings. His fellow righty, Tanner Peters, came through with an impressive performance for the Ports this week, allowing just 1 run while walking none and striking out 10 in 8 innings to earn his 3rd win. Former 1st-round draft pick James Simmons was sent down from Sacramento this week and made his first start for Stockton on Saturday, allowing just 1 hit over 4 scoreless innings.
The Ports’ pitching staff should also be getting a bit of a boost with the return of righty Josh Bowman, who was demoted from Midland. In other pitching news for the Ports this week, Seth Frankoff was put on the disabled list and Max Perlman was given his release.
1B Max Muncy (9 HR / 33 BB / 32 K / .264 AVG / .396 OBP / .472 SLG / .868 OPS)
C Ryan Delgado (4 HR / 6 BB / 18 K / .250 AVG / .321 OBP / .474 SLG / .795 OPS)
SS Addison Russell (5 HR / 22 BB / 42 K / .206 AVG / .322 OBP / .429 SLG / .751 OPS)
RHP Drew Granier (51 1/3 IP / 39 H / 13 ER / 2 HR / 27 BB / 63 K / 2.28 ERA / 1.29 WHIP)
LHP Jake Brown (32 1/3 IP / 33 H / 15 ER / 3 HR / 1 BB / 31 K / 4.18 ERA / 1.05 WHIP)
RHP Jose Macias (24 1/3 IP / 17 H / 7 ER / 1 HR / 4 BB / 20 K / 2.59 ERA / 0.86 WHIP / 2 SV)
(Class-A Midwest League)
Record This Week: 5-3
Record This Season: 24-18
The Snappers have been busy lately. In order to make up for a number of April rainouts, the team has played 14 games over the past 12 days.
They’ve been playing well though, and the Snappers’ pitching staff has been leading the way. Seven members of the staff currently boast ERA’s under 3.20 while three have ERAs under 2.00. Former top prospect Michael Ynoa18 has a miniscule ERA of just 1.44 after 25 innings, while Dakota Bacus is the team’s strikeout king with 36 in 36 innings, and Raul Alcantara leads all A’s minor leaguers in wins with 5.
Meanwhile, some of the A’s top young hitting prospects continue to provide the big bats for Beloit. First baseman Matt Olson leads the team in walks, doubles and RBIs, while third baseman Renato Nunez leads in home runs and total bases, and shortstop Daniel Robertson leads all Snappers’ regulars in batting average. But a somewhat overlooked hitter has been coming on strong lately.
Outfielder John Wooten, who was drafted by the A’s in the 37th-round last year, currently leads the team in both hits and runs and is tied with Nunez for the team lead in total bases.
3B Renato Nunez (9 HR / 10 BB / 42 K / .266 AVG / .325 OBP / .518 SLG / .842 OPS)
OF John Wooten (7 HR / 13 BB / 33 K / .287 AVG / .344 OBP / .480 SLG / .824 OPS)
1B Matt Olson (5 HR / 21 BB / 48 K / .260 AVG / .351 OBP / .460 SLG / .811 OPS)
RHP Michael Ynoa (25 IP / 20 H / 4 ER / 1 HR / 7 BB / 25 K / 1.44 ERA / 1.08 WHIP)
RHP Derek De Young (33 2/3 IP / 31 H / 9 ER / 1 HR / 16 BB / 28 K / 2.41 ERA / 1.40 WHIP)
RHP Dakota Bacus (36 IP / 38 H / 12 ER / 1 HR / 9 BB / 36 K / 3.00 ERA / 1.31 WHIP)
- ^ Jeremy Barfield (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Conner Crumbliss (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Josh Whitaker (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Josh Bowman (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Athletics Farm (athleticsfarm.com)
- ^ Shane Peterson (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Daric Barton (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Sonny Gray (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Bruce Billings (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Andrew Werner (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Justin Thomas (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Stephen Vogt (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Scott Moore (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Anthony Aliotti (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Dusty Coleman (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Addison Russell (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Rashun Dixon (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Michael Ynoa (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Athletics Farm (athleticsfarm.com)
It came down to Mike “Moose Tacos” Moustakas against Ryan Cook with runners at 2B and 3B with 2 out in the 9th, and of course the count had to go full. Moustakas bounced to 2B and the A’s were back over .500. As Shakespeare would say…To sweep, perchance to dweam!
It didn’t come easy today for the A’s or for A.J.
Griffin1, as the Royals2 put up picket fences in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th. In the 3rd, Griffin walked Chris Getz3 (on a strike, but we won’t bother to be bitter because the A’s won) and Getz came around to score (on an Alex Gordon4 hit, one of 4 he had today). In the 4th, Griffin walked Hosmer leading off, and Hosmer came around to score (on a single by Getz, who had two hits and a walk today despite generally being terrible with a bat in his hand).
2 B and 3B, one out, and that’s when Griffin channeled his inner-Milone, popping up Moustakas, and getting Jeff Francouer on a bouncer to 3B.
Oakland got to within a run, 3-2, in the 5th when Eric Sogard6 doubled and Jed Lowrie7, whose searing line drives kept finding gloves, blooped a two out single to RF. Then after Hideki Okajima8 made a successful A’s debut with a scoreless top of the 7th, the A’s tied it in the bottom half with some help not from on high, but rather from on Lough.
Leading off, Derek Norris ripped a single to CF and as David Lough9 came in and then laid back to play it on a hop, he let the ball play him and watched in horror as the ball missed his glove and scooted on by all the way to the CF wall. We call this “doing a Hamilton”.
3-3 going to the 8th, where Jerry Blevins12 tossed a scoreless inning. Neither Sean Doolittle nor Grant Balfour13 was available today, so Blevins had the 8th and Cook the 9th. Yoenis Cespedes14 made sure it would be a save situation for Cook in the 9th. He made sure by greeting Kelvim Herrera with a booming HR to left-center field, clearing the wall by at least 3 Angel Hernandez’s (a measurement of how far beyond an actual HR a HR needs to go not to be forsaken).
It also cleared by at least 2 Altuves.
That gave the A’s a 4-3 lead for Cook, and the A’s back-up closer got the first 2 outs before Billy Butler15 singled, Hosmer singled pinch runner Elliot Johnson to 3B, Hosmer stole 2B representing the go-ahead run, and that’s when the Cooked Moose was served. Moustakas was 0-for-the-series and something like 1 for 25 on the Royals’ road trip. He’s no Chris Getz.
The A’s outscored Kansas City all of 8-5 in the series, and had to come from behind each game.
On to Texas!
- ^ A.J.
- ^ Royals (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Chris Getz (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Alex Gordon (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Eric Hosmer (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Eric Sogard (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Jed Lowrie (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Hideki Okajima (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ David Lough (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Adam Rosales (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Coco Crisp (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Jerry Blevins (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Grant Balfour (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Yoenis Cespedes (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Billy Butler (www.sbnation.com)
The A’s try to win the weekend series and get back to .500 as Tommy Milone takes the mound tonight, looking to repeat the performance by Parker last night.
The A’s welcome back Chris Young as they get another piece back into the lineup.
1 Total Update since May 18, 2013
Short trip for Barton, as scarcely 8 games later, Daric is DFA’d for the second time by the A’s.
Barton played 8 games for the A’s, filling in at 1B and allowing the A’s to shift Brandon Moss to the OF.
In 23 PA Barton had a line of .143/.217/.286 and wOBA of .228 and a WAR of -0.1.