Al Pratt gets a costume in his second appearance, and though he's just a short boxer, the comic decided that was enough to give him improbable strength, as the above panel can attest! I wouldn't want to meet THIS guy in the ring!
Hey, maybe it's symbolic. He's not quite so insanely powerful one the narrator's done retelling his legend.
Speaking of legends... An anonymous tip on the last One Panel post sent me looking for Al Pratt's likely inspiration, famous strongman Joe Greenstein (1893-1977).
Further parallels with the Golden Age Atom include the story of his seeing a "No dogs and Jews allowed" sign on a building, and having fled Poland exactly because of this kind of bullshit, went to get his baseball bat, and proceeded to knock it off. 20 Nazis rushed out and jumped him. They didn't fare well, several ending up in the hospital. He also taught the NYPD jujutsu.
And it runs in the family. Just a couple years ago, Greenstein's 93-year-old son appeared on American's Got Talent pulling a 3500-pound car with his teeth!
So wait, how many Justice Society members were real people?!