Harry Cohen owned and operated the Ace Grill, 509 Main Street, from 1940 to 1963. [ed. Actually looks like from 1931 to 1963.]
Stuart J. Faber: We were friends with Harry Cohen who owned the ace. They were once raided for bookmaking. We ate there often. Great food.
David Gross: My grandfather was a regular there and friends with the owner. Oh don’t forget that’s where he ran book too!😎
Mark Eckblad: Wasn’t it the Ace that British journalist Malcom Muggeridge referenced in his famous 1965 Esquire article called “Down with Sex”? Muggeridge was nosing around downtown Racine and discovered a trove of hard-core porn for sale at the lunch counter where he was dining. Although he refers to the establishment as a “drugstore,” I always heard that he was talking about the Ace. Shocked to find such fare in a Midwestern small town, Muggeridge cited it as evidence of how sex-obsessed and degenerate America had become.
Racine Journal Times Sunday Bulletin October 11, 1970
Harry Cohen, 77, Dies
The final pages to a chapter of Racine’s history was written Saturday with the death of Harry M. Cohen of 4027 Erie St.
In the days when semi-pro baseball teams were luring stars away from the major leagues with promises of more money, Cohen managed the Racine Belles of the “outlaw” Midwest League.
He died Saturday in St. Mary’s Hospital at the age of 77.
Cohen’s life-long interest in sports, especially baseball, prompted him to organize the Racine Athletic Hall of Fame of which he was the first chairman.
He also was active in the Wisconsin Old Timers Baseball Association and was a member of the Racine Good Fellers since 1932.
Cohen was born in Chicago in 1893. It was there that he was introduced to baseball and became a star second baseman with several amateur and semi-professional teams. While still in his early 20s, Cohen turned from active competition to managing.
One of his first jobs as piloting the Dodger Trainings of Chicago. Later this team was merged with the Dodger Trimmings.
In 1921 Cohen moved to Racine to accept the job of managing the Racine Belles which leased Horlick Athletic Field for its games.
The club played in the Midwest League with Kenosha Simmons, Kenosha Nash, Canton Terminals, Massilong Agathons and Fairbanks-Morse of Beloit.
The National and American Leagues, hard-pressed for financing in those early days of baseball, lost many of their stars to Belles and other so-called outlaw leagues which the major leagues refused to recognize.
The salaries in the semi-pro teams were often twice the amounts paid by the major leagues.
Cohen recalled paying $900 to Bert Gallia, a pitcher who quit the St. Louis Browns in 1923 to join the Racine club.
Some of the other players that Cohen brought to Racine were Charles Robertson, who once pitched a no-hitter for the Chicago White Sox against the Detroit Tigers; Jake Pitler, who went on to become a coach for the Brooklyn Dodgers; Gob Buckeye of Cleveland; John (Lefty) Sullivan, a White Sox pitcher; Rube Lutzke, ex-Cleveland third Cohen reminisced about what Washington; Dave Black of the Boston Red Sox, and Ed Mulligan, a former Chicago White Sox shortstop.
In an interview in 1954, Cohen reminisced about what he considered one of his more disheartening moments in baseball.
Connie Mack’s world champion Philadelphia Athletics were scheduled to play the Belles in an exhibition game in Racine.
“The majors had let the bars down on some of the outlawed players,” Cohen said, “but Doug McWeeney, one of our pitchers wasn’t cleared. We were getting reservations from all over the state. People just didn’t have an opportunity to see such a club. The advance sale went up to $6,000.
“Then came the bad news when Connie called from Detroit. He explained that Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis (the late czar of baseball) had cancelled the game because we had an outlawed player on the lineup.”
In later years, Cohen owned and operated the former Ace Grill at 509 Main St. from 1940 to 1963.
In more recent years, Cohen entered the restaurant business in Racine but his interest in sports never subsided.
Tickets for virtually every sporting even in the area could be purchased at his Ace Grill, 409 Main St.
Surviving are his wife, Janet, two daughters, Mrs. Richard Francetac of Lombard, Ill., and Mrs. John Spang of Tampa, Fla., two sisters, Mrs. May Gasson of Miami Beach, Fla., and Mrs. Ruth Ovis of Chicago, and a brother, Louis, also of Chicago.
Friends may call after 4 p.m. today at the funeral home at 803 Main St.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday at the funeral home with Rabbi Sidney I. Goldstein of Kenosha officiating. Burial will be in West Lawn Memorial Park.