Jerry Seltzer

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Jerry Seltzer (born June 3, 1932) (also known as "The Commissioner" or just "Commish") was the second and final owner of the original Roller Derby league. The league and the sport of roller derby were created in 1935 in Chicago by Leo Seltzer, Jerry's father. Jerry assumed ownership of the league in 1959 and ran it until its demise in 1973. At one time the league was broadcast on 120 television stations in the United States and Canada, and filled Madison Square Garden, the Oakland Coliseum (34,000, 1971) and Chicago White Sox Park (50,114, Sept 15, 1972).[1]

In 1959, Seltzer moved the operation to the San Francisco Bay Area and established the most fabled team in the history of the sport, the longtime champion San Francisco Bay Bombers. Stars included Charlie O'Connell, Joanie Weston, and Ann Calvello.

In 1970, Seltzer attempted to buy the struggling Oakland Seals National Hockey League (NHL) team. Although he put in a better offer and had a more detailed plan for reviving the franchise, and had investors from 4 of the major franchises in the American Football League, a majority of NHL owners (the "old establishment", not the younger owners or from newer teams) voted to sell the team to Charlie O. Finley, the flamboyant owner of Major League Baseball's Oakland A's. Finley had little luck convincing Bay Area residents that the Seals were a worthwhile attraction, and the team pulled up stakes in 1976, moving to Cleveland, Ohio and later amalgamating with the Minnesota North Stars (now the Dallas Stars).

In the 1970s, Seltzer co-founded Bay Area Seating Service (BASS) Tickets, a San Francisco Bay Area computerized ticket service. From 1983 to 1993, he was a vice president of sales and marketing for Ticketmaster. On his return to the Bay Area he joined Bonjourfleurette.com as marketing and sales director and C.O.O. He co-founded the Sonoma Valley Film Festival (now Sonoma Filmfest) and served on a number of community boards, including the Bay Area American Red Cross, and he helped produce the 30th anniversary special for Cecil Williams Glide church. He currently is employed by Brown Paper Tickets in sales.

As of mid-2010, Seltzer is currently serving as an advisor to gotdibbs.com and working as a volunteer consultant to the new amateur roller derby leagues.

Seltzer has said about roller derby that his father had always wanted it to be a legitimate sport, and to be in the Olympics, further adding that with the contemporary grassroots movement of roller derby, including the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), Modern Athletic Derby Endeavor (MADE) and USA Roller Sports (USARS), he thinks roller derby can now be an Olympic sport.[2] He is known as "The Commissioner" by the players in modern roller derby. There are currently 2000 Leagues in 49 countries encompassing over 100,000 players.

Seltzer blogs about his involvement in Roller Derby and the role his father played.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Roller Derby Staff Bios". Roller Derby: The Musical. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Letter of Support from Jerry Seltzer". August 10, 2007. 
  3. ^ "The Blog and Memoirs of Jerry Seltzer". RollerDerbyJesus. 2011-11-14. Retrieved 2011-11-19. 

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