Selig “Ajax” Whitman

Posted on Sunday, May 28th, 2017 by John Wood

Selig Whitman is another perfect example of an individual who is small of stature but extra large in strength. Whitman stood five feet 8-1/2 inches tall and weighed but 162 pounds… His most famous feats include lifting a 1,030 lb. dumbbell with his teeth …pushing a 27,000 freight car up an incline for 50 feet (at St. John’s Park) …tearing two packs of cards at once …and turning a forward somersault with a 25 lb. dumbbell in each hand. In the early 1890’s, Selig toured the country as “Ajax The Strongman” and actually appeared at times on the same bill as John L. Sullivan, Like many performers, Whitman eventually got tired of the traveling life and went to New York City where he joined the police force. Of course, his impressive list of strength feats only grew from there: on one particularly busy day, he arrested a drunk, but the patrol wagon was nowhere to be found, so he carried the 250-lb. man back to the station on his back…

As if that weren’t enough work for the day, a short while later a horse had fallen in front of the street carrier and neither horse nor carrier could be budged, Whitman put his shoulder to the car and as onlookers later reported “lifted it as a boy would pick up a baby.”

Whitman was the guy they sent in first whenever any “trouble” started — he once captured four would-be rioters single-handedly. In his 26 years on the force, Whitman made over 2000 arrests.

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Author: John Wood

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