On Second Thought: Millionaires Life Sure is Wonderful, Daily Racing Form, 1955-06-09


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* On Second Thought Millionaires Life Sure Is Wonderful By BARNEY NAGLER NEW YORK, N. Y., June 8.— When Jim Norris was on the stand during Julie Hel-fands recent inquisition, he was sorely aires mind, the poor big rich man is being further enthralled. He is the new president of the Madison Square Garden Corporation, succeeding John Reed kilpatrick. Now hell be forced to sweat out a new catechism. Hows he 11. ~ -f /-ir i._ going to rememDer me names ui dens board, when hes" bored recalling the slate of the IBCs organization? Norris reluctance to make his memory stand up when hes paying others to do so is not a matter of sham. He prefers the free and easy way to the life of an executive. Give Jim a day at the races and hes happy. Ask him to sit in on a meeting of the board and hes ready to take a powder. The life of a millionaire is wonderful, he believes, but hed rather play "at it than work at it. He values a buck, but he doesnt put too much value on the complex industry required to keep millions of the same safe and sound. Above all, he is distressed by the formality of commerce. Perhaps this, more than anything: else, explains his predilection for the rough business of boxing: rather than for trading: in the grain market, where his holdings are lush indeed. As president of the Garden, Norris doubtless will put his partner and preceptor, Arthur Wirtz, to work. This is not a departure. Wirtz is the workhorse of the Norris empire, a big, slow-speaking, quick-thinking, sagacious man out of Chicago. He is Norris partner in many enterprises, including the Garden and the Chicago Stadium. Wirtz does the work; Norris is the personality kid. Ever since the passing of his father, James Norris, Jims wealth has been rated as 00,000,000, based on holdings in wheat, sugar, horses, railroads, sports arenas and friendship. For a time he went along with the gag, but one day he bolted when a soul searcher from a national sports weekly asked him about his wealth. "Geez, I wish they wouldnt keep saying Im worth two hundred million," he said bitterly. "It just isnt -true, not by many millions." Norris New York boxing man, Harry Markson, said, "Aw, Jim, why say that? Let the people think youre worth all that money. Its more romantic and the people prefer it that way." "It just aint true," said Norris. "Why give a false impression?" This is recalled not to embellish Norris reputation for veracity. It is remembered by way of delineating the personality of the man who, by becoming president of the Garden, extends his empire in sports to encompass the most important arena in the country. As president of the Garden, Norris is faced with one matter of monopoly. He holds the same position with the Chicago Stadium, which owns the Black Hawks. The Garden owns the Rangers. Norris is skating on thin hockey ice. Obviously, it would not sit well for him to be running both clubs. For the sake of- ending all arguments, Norris will disavow any connection with the Rangers. Kilpatrick, who moves up to chairman of the Garden board, apparently will devote his attention to the Rangers operation. Not that this simple subterfuge will- fool anybody; it wont. However, itll look better in print. As for the Garden itself, there will be some changes ma*de. Norris and Wirtz method of operation at the Chicago Stadium is different from that employed in the Garden. They play it close to the vest. Now that theyre entrenched in the East, things are going to be different. How this will affect boxing in the Garden is anybodys guess. Until now the IBC has been criticized for taking too "many bouts away from New York. Norris new office in the Garden may change this. Then again, it may not. It all depends on just how much time Norris gives his new job in the old arena.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1950s/drf1955060901/drf1955060901_2_7
Local Identifier: drf1955060901_2_7
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800