1937: Of boxing great Max Baer, Jethro Bodine, Oakland and El Cerrito

The birth of a son to former heavyweight champ Max Baer was front page news in the Dec. 5, 1937 Oakland Tribune, pushed to the bottom of the page by the opening of the Broadway Low-Level (Caldecott) Tunnel.

A son was born in Oakland to former heavyweight boxing champion Max Baer 75 years ago today.
Max, who lived in Piedmont and frequented El Cerrito because he had a cousin who ran a tavern there (the club had a pair of the champ’s boxing gloves were on display), nonetheless said “Maybe people will stop calling me a playboy now.”
Dad, who once knocked out German boxer Max Schmeling, named his baby boy Max Baer Jr. and declared his son would never be a boxer.
Max Baer Jr. instead got into television, playing the role of Jethro Bodine on the 1960s sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
Max Sr.’s mansion in Piedmont was later the home of Dave Kessel, partner of El Cerrito gambling kingpin Walter “Big Bill” Pechart.
If memory serves, East Oakland Hospital later became Oakland Hospital and was on East 14th Street near Montgomery Ward.

Chris Treadway