Public Sculpture in Grand Rapids

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Stanley Ketchel

Artist: Ann Hirsch
Medium: Bronze
Provenance: Donated by the family of Peter Secchia. Unveiled October 2, 2015. This is one of a series of 25 bronze sculptures donated to the city by the Community Legends Project funded and endowed by Peter Secchia.
Location: Near 442 Bridge St NW

Stanley Ketchel  was born September 14, 1886 and died October 15, 1910. The plaque on the base of the statue reads, in part:

“Stanley Ketchel was a proud Polish-American and a significant American sports legend. Known as “the Michigan Assassin,” Ketchel’s legacy lives on as the subject of Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “The Light of the World.”

As a professional middleweight boxer, Ketchel won 51 fights, 48 by knockout, while suffering only two defeats and one no contest.  Ketchel won the World Middelweight Title in 1907 and is regarded by boxing historians as one of the greatest middleweights in boxing history. Ketchel once fought, but lost, a heavyweight championship bout with the great Jack Johnson. Knocked to the canvas several times, Ketchel kept returning to his feet before Johnson finally won by a knockout, causing the champion to remark after the fight: “That man isn’t human.”

Ketchel’s life and promising career ended soon after his 24th birthday when he was murdered. His funeral at St. Adalbert’s Cathedral on Grand Rapids’ West Side drew an estimated 5,000 people.”

The photograph, Stanley, Back on the West Side by Don Ketchel, was shown in Bronzes of West Michigan. The juried exhibit was part of the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts, Regional Arts Exhibition in 2019. 

© 2023 Public Sculpture in Grand Rapids. Catalog database by Index Projects