Boxing &Wrestling Magazine February, 1954

"Harry Greb -or- Harry Berg"


We ran a story about Harry Greb in this magazine not long ago and since then have been bombarded with letters by irate fans demanding to know why we never mentioned that Greb's correct name was Harry Berg.

The answer is simple-His straight name was Harry Greb.

Ever since the Pittsburgh Windmill zoomed into prominence back in the early twenties, imaginative writers and cartoonists publicized the idea that the name Greb was created by spelling Berg backwards.

The editors of Boxing and Wrestling magazine decided to clear up this complex confusion once and for all and with the aid of Tommy Farmer, influential california boxing figure and George Engel, the man who managed Greb, we offer the following facts in this exclusive article:

Here is George Engel's account of the episode:

"First, I'd like to explain how i became Greb's manager. My brother August worked in the massive East Pittsburgh Westinghouse plant, where I myself worked years before, along side George Westinghouse himself.

"August had a young kid who worked for him as a runner--his name was Harry Greb.

"August wrote me about him, I was in New York at the time with Frank Klaus, then middleweight champion of the world.

"Young Greb liked the fight business and hung around the gyms just to be near the pugs. He boxed whenever he could and August watched him a couple of times and was greatly impressed.

"My brother took a liking to Harry and finally lent him enough money to go see me in New York.

"It was tough getting fights then, but I worked Greb into some good spots and he stood up beautifully. I managed him through 30 fights and never had a contract.

"Eventually no one wanted to fight him and the inactivity together with his longing for Pittsburgh split us up.

"In 1921, he came back to me. This time we both signed a two year contract. That contract ran out just after Harry whipped Gene Tunney.

"Now getting back to his business of Greb's name which is supposed to be Berg. That's a lot of nonsense. And printed on this page is a certified true copy of his birth certifiacte to prove it.

"Harry was born to be a fighter--as shown on the birth certificate. Can you name any other leather pusher in ring history who was born in a corner? That's where Harry Greb was born--In a car on the corner of Fitch and Dauphlin Streets in Pittsburgh.