Thursday, June 16, 2016

On This Day: Doc Snell the Peshastin Phantom Remembered

By Peter Silkov

Doc Snell (The Peshastin Phantom) was a colourful, big-hitting lightweight, with an exciting, crowd-pleasing style, which made him a big hit with the fans.  From the early 1920s, to the mid 1930s, Snell fought many of the world top fighters, from featherweight to lightweight. 

Born William A. McEachern on July 29, 1903, in Perth, Kansas, Washington, but would eventually relocate to Peshastin, Washington.  Snell was a useful amateur, boxing out of the Battery E of the Tacoma National Guard.   Snell turned professional in 1922.  In the beginning of his professional career he tended to use a boxing style of fighting, based around his useful jab.  However, after having his tonsils and a bone removed from his nose in early 1924, Snell became a far more confident and aggressive fighter, far more prone to slug it out than to try and box.  The change in style made Snell an even bigger attraction to the fans.  Snell was the kind of gutsy all- action fighter, who would win the hearts of spectators, even in his losing efforts.

Barely a year after turning professional, Snell was mixing it with rated fighters.  During his career, he fought top names such as, Billy Petrolle, Eddie Neil, Vic Foley, California Joe Lynch, Tod Morgan, Dynamite Joe Murphy, Mike Dundee, Bud Taylor, Charley Phil Rosenberg,  Jimmy Mclarnin, Leslie ’Wild Cat’ Carter, King Tut, Joe Glick, Spug Myers,  Eddie Mack, Bobby Pacho, and Ah Wing Lee.

Snell’s career was interrupted in early 1929, when he became severely ill with appendicitis, and had an emergency operation on February 2.  Snell needed several months out of the ring to recover after this illness, and although he was to resume his career, and carry on fighting with some success, he was not quite the force he had been before his illness.

In his last fight on July 25, 1933, Snell drew over 6 rounds with Frankie Monroe.  He retired from the ring with a final record of 80(27koes)-35-33.

After he retired from boxing, Snell did a number of varied jobs.  He worked as a promoter, a bouncer at ‘The Blue Moon Tavern’ in the University District of Washington, and then owned his own Tavern for a while, the ’Doc Snell Tavern’ that was located on 7th street in Seattle, Washington, at the Caledonian Hotel.  Snell would later own a chain of Rocket Gas Service Stations, and hit on the idea of buying a Hydroplane, and entering Hydroplane racing, and naming it Miss Rocket, in order to publicize his Gas Stations.  Snell raced Miss Rocket, which was later renamed Coral Reef, when Snell renamed his Gas Stations, from the mid 50s to 1962.

Doc Snell died on June 17, 1987, aged 83, and was buried at Calvary Catholic Cemetary, where former World middleweight champion Al Hostack was also buried, close to University of Washington, Seattle.  

Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to

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