Fred Beell


Real Name - Fred Beell
Lifespan - 1/17/1876-8/5/1933
5'6" 165 lbs. - Marshfield, WI
Aliases - none
Athletic background - n/a
Peak Years - 1900s-1910s

Place in History - According to many, Fred Beell was the best wrestler in his weight class in his day. But it was his win over Frank Gotch in 1908 that made him a famous professional wrestler. Beell immigrated to Wisconsin with his Prussian parents and grew up working in the mill. After serving the US Army, including involvement in the Spanish American War, Beell began focusing on his civilian life. He was a gifted hooker and began testing himself on the local market. While he was achieving much success on the exhibition circuit, Beell was too small to really take off. Then in 1906, Beell met World Champion Frank Gotch in New Orleans. He was approximately forty pounds lighter and gave up a couple inches to the best wrestler in the land. Beell caught Gotch and made himself a nationally known wrestler in an instant. Although Gotch crushed him in a 1908 rematch, Beell was forever remembered for that night. He retired in the soon after, but returned to Chicago with a win over “Strangler” Lewis (who was on his way up) in 1914. He retired again and spent his final years working as a police officer in his hometown. Although Beell should have been remembered for the victory over Gotch, he is recognized annually in Marshfield for dying in the line of duty. During a 1933 robbery, Beell was shot and killed. It was a tragic end for a man who shocked the world when he upset the champion.