Doc Snell

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Name: Doc Snell
Alias: Peshastin Phantom
Birth Name: William A. McEachern
Born: 1903-07-29
Birthplace: Perth, Kansas, USA
Died: 1987-06-17 (Age:83)
Hometown: Peshastin, Washington, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5′ 5″   /   165cm
Boxing Record: click

Managers: Al Hoffman, Joe Waterman, Frank Churchill, Dave Miller (circa 1932)
Photo #2, Christmas Card

Amateur Career

The earliest documented mention of Doc Snell (William McEachern) was the Feb. 15, 1922 Tacoma News Tribune (TNT) newspaper: "McEachern looks like one of the best amateurs turned out at the Armory." He was with Battery E of the Tacoma National Guard. On Feb. 17 he defeated a boxer named Parkhurst after four rounds (an extra round was added to determine a winner.) Per the May 9, 1922 TNT, on Saturday May 6, the Armory Athletic Association, at an annual service banquet, awarded boxing championship medals--including the Jr. Lightweight Medal to McEachern of Battery E. His last known reported amateur bout can be found in the July 15 TNT, which reported that the day before, at nearby Camp Lewis, Wm. McEachern knocked out Bert Allen of Battery C in the second round in the featherweight division.

Professional Career

Snell began his professional boxing career in Wenatchee, Washington, USA, two weeks later, on July 28, 1922. He got the nickname "Doc" because he reportedly was a druggist by trade. Contemporary newspaper accounts also described him once or twice as being merely a "soda jerk." At least during his first year of fighting, he worked at a Peshastin drugstore. He was also known as "The Peshastin Phantom." (How and why he took on the last name of "Snell" is unknown.)

Frank Churchill bought Snell's managerial contract from Joe Waterman in December 1925. Churchill was buying up all the best-looking and available boxing talent on the West Coast at the time. Churchill previously was the manager of former Flyweight World Champion Pancho Villa.

Doc Snell

In January 1929, Snell had been training for a bout with Leslie (Wildcat) Carter when he took a turn for the worst on February 2. He planned to retire after that bout (although, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper, he had retired a number of times before, only to return). Snell had been complaining of not feeling well for the previous three months, was diagnosed with acute appendicitis, and immediately operated on February 2. He spent two weeks in the hospital before being allowed to go home. (You can see the scar in the first photo above.) He had planned to recuperate for three months, but promised not to retire. The paper also mentioned that Snell had had 150 bouts up until the time of his surgery, and had started his professional career in 1922.

(Scheduled bout, but result not located: Snell vs. Buddy Bitoni for three rounds, Dec. 30, 1932, at the Seattle Park Department's Benefit, 212 Occidental Avenue. Arranged by Ely Caston, who was also the scheduled referee.)

He also began promoting boxing shows September 1930 in the Wenatchee, WA, area.

Post-Boxing Career Highlights

Snell also worked as a bouncer at the Blue Moon Tavern in the University District of Seattle, Washington, soon after Prohibition ended.

At some point during his life he also owned (or at least had his name attached to) the Doc Snell Tavern at the Caledonia Hotel, 1324 - 7th Street, Seattle, Washington, USA. According to the Everett Daily Herald, July 27, 1938, he became a janitor at the Seattle County-City Building. The July 28 Tacoma News Tribune reported that he "today accepted a job as janitor in the County-City building. Snell operated a tavern in Seattle until December when he sold out to open a milk shake stand." He was also the former owner of the Miss Rocket/Coral Reef hydroplane, one of only two unlimiteds ever to list Tacoma as its home port. Excerpts from the Tacoma News Tribune, August 7, 1998:

  • The story of the Miss Rocket began in 1956 when Snell, owner of the Rocket Gas Service Stations in Tacoma, decided to buy a boat and get into hydroplane racing.
  • At the time, the annual Seafair race ranked as the biggest sporting event of the summer, and right below Washington Huskies football in terms of overall importance in the days before major league sports came to town.
  • Snell wanted to be a part of it, and also help promote his stations, which sold gas for 14 cents a gallon at the time.
  • The crew members would spend what spare time they could readying the boat, with breaks coming when Snell would spring for lunch at the Poodle Dog in Fife.
  • The boat's racing career got off to an inauspicious start when it blew a drive shaft during its first race at Lake Chelan in 1957 - when it was known as the Miss Rocket. At another early race on Lake Coeur d'Alene, the crew forgot the boat's supercharger and Woods had to drive back to Tacoma to get it.
  • But then came the 1958 Seafair race, which the boat entered under the name Coral Reef--Snell changed the name of his company and thus the name of his boat. The Coral Reef kept racing until 1962, although none of the crew could remember any highlights of those seasons.
  • Snell, who has since died, then decided to retire and sold the boat - again, no one's real sure what became of it - and the crew broke up.

William McEachern died June 17, 1987 (King County Death Certificate #026058), and was survived by his wife Mary Ann, two daughters and two sons, and grandchildren. Funeral services were at the Snoqualmie Funeral Chapel, North Bend, Washington, on June 20, 1987.

Snell's Fight Record was researched by, and is courtesy of, Ric Kilmer (researching the Everett Daily Herald, Wenatchee and other Washington state newspapers); Tracy Callis & Mike DeLisa of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO) & CyberBoxingZone.