Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Slants on Sports

July 18, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Late last night your sports commenator went on his weekly binge. However, he had for company the funny man who draws the even funnier cartoons. You’ve hit it, ’twas none other than Ben Roth. Something was rotten in Nyack and he had decided to string along with us. But from the moment he smelled the cork he muttered something about a pair of elusive hips.

Sensing a good story, we tried to get him really pickled. We have heard stories about elusive hips before and we figured maybe if Ben told one he would draw diagrams too. So we drank and drank.

Finally, after a preliminary sputter, he said: “Listen feller, I want to tell you something. It’s about a pair of hips.”

“Go on,” we urged, trying to appear nonchalant. What about them?”

“I guess I’ll tell you the whole story. It’s about ‘Siggy’ Wortmann. He’s one of the greatest soccer stars in the country. What a pair of elusive hips that man possesses!”

We felt we had been sadly let down and ordered another “Angel’s Wing.”


Realizing that Roth would talk of nothing but Wortmann, we listened to his story, thinking all the time of Nyack and a pair of elusive hips.”

“Wortmann,” continued Ben, “plays for the Brookhattans. He was born in Vienna in 1907. Always a small fellow, he made up for it with his playing ability. He began playing soccer in high school and city parks. Siggy was on the same team with such kids as Schneider, Gruenwald, Hausler and Drucker.

“This team existed for two years and eventually all these soccerites found their way into the famous Hakoah organization of Vienna, Wortmann, being the youngest, stayed behind and made his name on the junior eleven. His big chance came when Gansl, the center forward, failed to show up for a game one day. Despite the fact that Siggy was playing outside left at the time, the manager placed him at center. He was then fifteen years old, but nevertheless he scored the winning goal in the last minute of play. There was no doubt in any one’s mind on what team Wortmann belonged to.


“Wortmann was with the Hakoah until 1923 and then toured Germany. Joining up with the equally famous Bar Kochba unit in Berlin he remained there eight months before going back to the Hakoah in 1924. That year he played center forward, flanked by such soccer stalwarts as Schwarz, Hausler, Eisenhoffer and Neufeld. Incidentally, the Hakoah won the championship that year.

“When the Hakoahs came to America in 1926 Wortmann was with them. As a result of his stellar play on the field he was approached by Bob Miller of the Nationals. A discolated shoulder kept the five-foot-ten-inch soccer champ away from the dotted line and he returned to Vienna to heal his shoulder.

“Wortmann, a typical Viennese gallant, met a young lady during his first stay in the country and immediately scored the winning goal. They were married soon after.


“This 172-pound streak of dynamite returned to America in 1928. This little incident will reveal his splendid ability as a player. After an eight-day ocean voyage which brought him to New York at noon time, ‘Siggy’ disembarked and played his first game that very afternoon. Despite his sea legs he scored the winning goal and his team won to the tune of three to two.”

At this point of the story your sports commentator awoke and shouted for another “side car.” We looked up and noticed that Ben had a peculiar gleam in his left eye. Knowing the chap not to be strabismic, myopic or astigmatic, we thought we might ease the situation by asking, “Where do the hips come in?”

Says Roth: “I’m getting to them. First, however, I’d like to say that Wortmann is one of the most intricate dribblers ever seen in this country. He is a good shot with both legs and a sure goal-getter. Opponents the country over and even on the Continent respect this little man whenever he gets into a game.”

“What about—” we started to ask when Ben said, “oh, yes. He is the owner of a pair of elusive hips that would be the dream of any American football player. They are responsible for making him the most agile and one of the speediest players in the country.”


Jack Dempsey, the old Manassa Mauler, will be the guest referee tomorrow night at the weekly boxing matches at this post. A card of heavyweights has been arranged for the popular ex-champ to arbitrate.

Solly Ruggierello and Yustin Sirutis meet in the main event. Frankie Edgren trades punches with George Neron in the eight-round semi-final.

Another eight brings Ralph Ficucelli into action against Tommy De Stefano. These six fighters should bring out one of the best cards scheduled for the post. Jackie Phillips, former champ of the Philippines, meets Ted Johnson. The opening number sees Nick Benson and Jackie Lynch. It’s scheduled for four rounds.


Just a gentle reminder to our readers about the contest to select “The Greatest Jewish Boxer of All Time.” The contest hasn’t much longer to run and two tickets for the Ross-McLarnin battle are not to be sneezed at. So don’t forget, just write and go to a fight.

Recommended from JTA