Topics in the News
Amateurism vs. Professionalism
Battle over Definitions.
Whether sports should be played for physical wellbeing, competition, recreation, and character building, or primarily for profit and the accumulation of victories has been a longstanding debate in this country since the middle of the nineteenth century. The definition of amateur has blurred, depending upon the governing rules of the sport or of the AAU and often upon the athlete in question. Sportswriter Paul Gallico defined an amateur as "a guy who won't take a check." But many amateur athletes could earn money in a variety of other ways, including endorsing products, padding expense accounts, or cashing in the gold and silver prizes they won. Many factors, including the Depression, forced officials to look the other way; but once in a while someone got caught: Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi was barred from the 1932 Olympics because he had made a small profit on his expense account during a trip to Germany. The Missouri Valley football conference questioned Jim Bausch's job selling insurance while he was playing fullback for the University of Kansas. Jesse Owens's amateur status was put in jeopardy because he accepted a patronage job as a page in the Ohio state legislature. The public cared little about these minor infractions and under-the-table dealings, but sportswriters like Gallico and John R. Tunis were often incensed at the hypocrisy of the amateur...
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Hitters Go Wild.
In 1930 the National League batting average was just over .300, with almost 900 home runs. Chicago's diminutive powerhouse Hack Wilson hit 56 homers and 190 RBIs. Bill Terry of the Giants became the last National Leaguer to hit over .400. Even the last-place "Futile" Phillies batted .315 as a team. The American League overall hit less well, but the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Athletics matched the older league in most respects. Some folks insisted that the ball was juiced up. Whatever the reason, fans loved it and came to the ballparks in record numbers. The following year the ball was deadened with a looser covering and higher stitching. As a result, what Ring Lardner (in a 1930 New Yorker piece) called "B'rer Rabbit Ball" came to an abrupt end. Averages and run production dropped markedly (run-scoring sacrifice flies were now counted as a time at bat, though, too) and so did attendance. Fans not only missed the great hitting but also began to feel the effects of the Depression. So did the owners, who used the national economic crisis as well as the 1931 drop in batting averages to lower salaries.
From a high of 10.1 million in 1930, attendance dropped to 8.1 million in 1932 and 6.3 million one year later. The American League lost more than $2 million in a three-year period. Major-league salaries...
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In the 1930s college basketball was the dominant form of organized basketball. The Depression had sunk the professional American Basketball League (ABL), which had been formed in the 1920s, but it actually revived the college game, which was played mostly in gymnasiums and armories. Those lean years inspired new promotions, one of which was the college doubleheader, such as the games played at Madison Square Garden, the brainchild of sportswriter Ned Irish, who later founded the New York Knickerbockers. Irish brought in big-name universities, mostly from eastern cities. The first intersectional games on 29 December 1934 brought 16,188 fans into the Garden. The games introduced young talent, helped spread the popularity of basketball, and made lots of money. Other cities followed suit in their hometown arenas. On the West Coast, at Stanford, Hank Luisetti was revolutionizing the game with his one-handed jump shot and other innovations. Play became faster with the elimination of the center jump after every basket. Even a reformulated ABL in 1933 could not compete with collegiate basketball. The Depression added another twist in the absence of a well-organized professional league. While there was not enough money to support players full-time, semipro leagues prospered. When college stars graduated they could still play ball on company-run clubs, such as Henry Clothiers...
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America's Queen of Bowling
Never Too Late.
America's greatest woman bowler in the 1930s was thirty-five before she even bowled her first game in 1923—but Colorado's Floretta Doty McCutcheon kept getting better and better at it. By 1927 she was beginning to secure her reputation with a series of high-scoring games and exhibitions, and on 18 December she defeated world champion Jimmy Smith in a challenge match, making sports headlines across the country. When she went on tour for the Brunswick Corporation a year later, she was already something of a legend. She told women that they could begin bowling at almost any age and in any physical shape.
Throughout the 1930s she continued to bowl professionally; she also gave free lessons at bowling alleys across the country and through the Mrs. McCutcheon School of Bowling, sponsored by local newspapers. She toured from 1930 until her retirement in 1938, organizing leagues and teaching classes for high school and college students. She saw bowling as one sport in which men and women could compete equally.
McCutcheon bowled ten 300 games and 75 games between 279—299. In 1930 she bowled 245 or better for twelve consecutive games. In 1932 she bowled 260 or better for five consecutive games and 248 or better for twelve consecutive games....
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The Next Most Popular Sport.
Boxing was Americas second most popular sport, next to baseball, in the 1930s, though much of the attraction had a lot to do with the heavy gambling that accompanied the bouts. But if a fight were going to be a sensational one—even in the lean years of the Depression—fans tried to scrape up good money to see it. The Depression did hurt gate receipts, but radio also cut into profits as more and more Americans tuned in to ringside coverage. The career of Joe Louis paralleled the rise of boxing on the wireless and contributed significantly to the popularity of other sports reported over the new medium.
With the retirement of Gene Tunney the heavyweight title remained vacant from August 1928 to June 1930, while a series of elimination bouts to determine the new champion were fought. Max Schmeling won the championship when Jack Sharkey was disqualified for a foul in the finals of the elimination tournament. In the next seven years the title changed hands four times: Jack Sharkey beat Schmeling in 1932; Primo Camera beat Sharkey in 1933; Max Baer beat Carnera in 1934; and James J. Braddock beat Baer in 1935. Joe Louis took the title from Braddock in June 1937 and retained the championship until he retired in 1949,
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Reformers in the 1930s hoped to deemphasize intercollegiate football. They wanted fewer games, and they wanted coaches to be educators and counselors rather than taskmasters. After the death of a Yale player in 1931, reformers were alarmed that the number of fatalities had almost tripled from 1930 to 1931. But the public was indifferent. A 1931 report of the Carnegie Foundation called for reforms in college football, just as it had done ten years earlier. The report lamented what the foundation felt were corrupting influences (alumni dollars, massive press coverage) that were turning football into a quasi-professional sport rather than a purely collegiate one. At the same time the report cited positive growth in such programs as Notre Dame's and hesitated making any clear-cut recommendations. The report expressed hope that the Depression would do the job of retrenching athletic programs, which, it suggested, students had begun to tire of anyway in favor of intramurals.
Chicago Drops Football.
University of Chicago president Robert M. Hutchins (founder of the Great Books program) became convinced that America needed more brains than brawn. He "retired" legendary coach Amos Alonzo Stagg after the 1932 season and began deemphasizing the football program, first by refusing to recruit new players. Once a national powerhouse...
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The Depression caused many country clubs to close, but New Deal programs such as the WPA saw to the building of nearly two hundred public golf courses. Enthusiasm for the sport dwindled a little, as smaller crowds came out to see the major tournaments. Still, golfing got better. Equipment—both golf clubs and golf balls—improved. The move from hickory shafts to steel ones provided longer drives. Golfer Gene Sarazen invented the sand wedge in his Florida garage in 1930. More-meticulous attention was paid to groundskeeping and landscaping. Built for Bobby Jones, the Augusta National, one of the most challenging golf courses in the world, opened in Augusta, Georgia, in 1934 and became the home of the Masters Tournament. The new event would be limited to sixty-five or so of the very best golfers in the world. The miniature-golf craze would die out by the end of the decade, but in 1930 the first national open miniature-golf tournament was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Searching for Bobby Jones.
From the day Bobby Jones retired (after winning the Grand Slam in 1930), people kept hoping another golfer with skill and charisma might come along who could assume the mantle of his greatness. No one, however, was able to fill his golf shoes. Twenty-year-old Gene Sarazen thrilled golf fans by coming from behind to win...
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For many years it was a toss-up in America whether horse racing or boxing was America's second most favorite spectator sport. Horse racing's popularity steadily grew as boxing became more crooked and baseball more predictable. Bigger payouts helped increase interest too, though the track was also a good place to get one's pocket picked. Fans who bet on Head Play in the 1933 Kentucky Derby might have thought they were robbed by Broker's Tip jockey Don Meade, who allegedly fouled the favorite's jockey, Herb Fisher. Both riders fought through the stretch and in the jockey room afterward, but the foul was disallowed. Man O' War's day had come and gone, but his scions—Battleship and War Admiral—would step into winner's circles in the 1930s.
Gallant Fox, a three-year-old ridden by jockey Earl Sande, burst out of the starting gate at the beginning of the decade and looked as though he would never stop. He won the Triple Crown in 1930, including a tough race in the Belmont Stakes against his chief competitor, Whichone. Gallant Fox also won the Dwyer and the Arlington Classic, and by the time he had won the Lawrence Realization Stakes in September he was the top-winning racehorse. He was, however, finally defeated by an obscure thoroughbred named Jim Dandy at Saratoga Springs in August in the mud....
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Getting More American.
Nine out often hockey players were Canadians in the 1930s, but National Hockey League (NHL) teams in Boston first and New York, Chicago, and Detroit later were helping to increase the sport's popularity and give universal recognition to the organized league. The New York Rangers had become the first American Division team to win the Stanley Cup in 1928, They came in first place in 1930, only to be eliminated in four games by the Montreal Maroons. The Chicago Black Hawks won the Stanley Cup in 1934 behind the goaltending of an ailing Charlie Gardiner (who died two months later) and the playmaking of Mush March. In 1938, with the veteran Marsh and American-born players such as Alex Levinsky, Carl Voss, and goalie Mike Karakas (who played the final game with a broken toe), the Black Hawks, who had the sixth-best—or third-worst—record in league play, captured their second Stanley Cup.
For too long hockey had been a defensive game. There was call for a much more open style of play. A big rule change came in 1930 when forward passing was finally permitted in all zones. Scoring got another big boost during the 1933—1934 season when the league mandated that only three players (including the goalie) could occupy the defensive zone. The penalty shot was introduced and modified over the next couple of...
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Germany Shows the World. Fascism had swept through Germany, Italy, and into Spain by 1936. Jews had been stripped of their citizenship and civil rights under the Nuremberg Laws. It was clear, even to the uninitiated, that Germany was preparing for war. Yet the predominant feeling in the United States was one of noninvolvement in European affairs. A few voices urged boycott of the games, but their efforts were repelled by an Olympic committee willing to overlook anything but the most overt kinds of anti-Semitism on the condition that Germany abide by Olympic guidelines and practices. Germany, to whom the games had been promised in 1931 before the rise of Hitler, would take the opportunity to show the world its sweeping accomplishments and display its Aryan ethic, which promised superior athletic demonstrations as expressions of German vitality and will.
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The Depression was, in part, a result of lack of confidence in the American system. The popular song "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" was written to protest the attack by fellow American troops on World War I veterans camped in Washington, D.C. The Olympics Games, scheduled to take place in the United States in 1932, actually helped stimulate the economy as well as revive the national spirit.
1932 Winter Games.
The 1932 Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York, were the first games broadcast on radio and the first Winter Games in which the United States captured more medals than any other nation: six gold, three silver, two bronze. Seventeen countries participated. Canada won the ice hockey tournament for the fourth game running. Speed skating was a big American event, with Jack Shea winning the 1500-meter race and Irving Jaffee taking the 5000-meter, The United States also commanded the bobsled races with its speed-enhancing, iron V-shaped runners, which were barred from international competition following the Olympics. Karl Schafer of Austria and Sonja Henie of Norway, who continued to dominate figure skating through the decade, won their first and second Olympic gold medals, respectively.
1932 Summer Games.
In the 1932 Summer Games in Los Angeles, California,...
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An Immigrant Game.
As the decade began, few Americans had any interest in soccer. Professional and amateur teams vied for the National Challenge Cup. Ethnic and regional leagues, such as the German American Football Association and Fall River Football Club, were the most vital sources for soccer in the 1930s, and U.S. teams were composed largely of immigrants from Scotland and England. As these newcomers sought to become more assimilated into the culture, however, they opted to play baseball and American football.
World Cup Play.
The 1936 Olympics helped make U.S. soccer more competitive, but it did little to change the image of the game in American eyes. When the first World Cup took place in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1930, it received scant notice in the sports pages, although the United States defeated Belgium and Paraguay and advanced to the semifinals. It faced a true world-class Argentine team in the next round and suffered several heartbreaking injuries (including one to their goalkeeper) before losing 7-1.
The College Game.
Intercollegiate soccer broadened sharply and geographically. The Middle Atlantic League was created in 1932 with Ivy League schools among its members. Swarthmore College was the dominant team. More teams joined the league for the 1933—1934 season, and a...
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Sportswriting in the Post-Golden Age
The Age of Reason and Skepticism.
The golden age of sports had been something of a golden age of sportswriters also: Ring Lardner, Grantland Rice, Damon Runyon, W. O. McGeehan, Paul Gallico, and Heywood Broun were colorful scribes, many of whom went on to other fields of literary endeavor. These writers, who still considered themselves reporters first, had been given a great deal of leeway and freedom in terms of style and content. An "Aw Nuts" group wrote cynical, witty prose, while a "Gee Whiz" group was more romantic and celebratory. They came to dominate sports journalism in the 1930s. A few writers, however, began to look at heroes as ordinary human beings and at sports more critically. While writers were still treated well by the clubs they were covering, the journalists did not feel they were obliged to report only good news. As a result sportswriting grew more objective and analytical.
A New Style of Writing.
Sportswriting developed into a journalistic craft that needed to be fit into nine-inch columns of space. Writers had to be aware of certain reader expectations, possess a necessary technical knowledge of games (and language), and have an understanding of the growing science of statistics. The Depression also forced writers to acquire expertise in all sports, since many newspapers could no longer afford the luxury of hiring a...
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In the 1920s both Bill Tilden and the French tennis star Suzanne Lenglen were largely responsible for the upsurge in popularity of lawn tennis in America and Europe in the following decade. It became increasingly clear, also, in the 1930s that this resurgence of interest and the financial benefits (in the form of "expenses") that accompanied it made it more and more difficult to distinguish between pure amateurs and professional players, who were mainly supposed to be involved in coaching. There were many disputes and irregularities regarding the issue, and by 1939 three other American Wimbledon champions (Ellsworth Vines, Don Budge, and Bobby Riggs) followed Tilden's lead and turned pro after winning a big event—a trend that would be almost routine after the war.
Tennis for Everyone.
Tennis was still not a sport for the everyman in the 1930s. The Italian Championships, won first by Tilden, began in 1930, and two Swedish indoor tennis events begun in 1936 reflected the game's growing international and often aristocratic flavor. Still, the United...
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Track and Field
No one could match the Finnish miler Paavo Nurmi in the 1920s, but in the 1930s attention turned to U.S. athletes in track. George Venzke burst onto the scene in 1932, breaking Nurmi's mile record of 4:12 (shared with Joie Ray) in the Milrose Games. Venzke bettered his own record of 4:11.2 a little more than a week later, coming in at 4:10. By 1934, though, Venzke was regularly coming in second to the great Kansas runner Glenn Cunningham and third when Princeton's Bill Bonthron participated in the races. In the Princeton Invitation Meet, Cunningham put on one of his greatest shows ever, outdistancing Bonthron and Venzke and clocking 4:06.7 in the mile. Two weeks later at the AAU National Championships in Milwaukee it was Bonthron's turn, though this race, like most of the later Cunningham-Bonthron matches, would be neck and neck. Future races between the two stars would draw record crowds. Bonthron retired early, and rising stars, such as Archie San Romani and Wisconsin's Chuck Fenske, eventually got the better of Cunningham near the end of the decade; but because of these great contests of the 1930s—-and "Galloping Glenn" in particular—track grew enormously in popularity nationwide.
Integration for the Sake of Sport.
Of all athletic contests in the decade, track and field accomplished more in the way of...
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Didrikson, Mildred "Babe" 1911-1956
TRACK & FIELD STAR
Greatest Woman Athlete.
Most observers generally agree that Babe Didrikson Zaharias was the finest woman athlete of all time, which was exactly what she always wanted to be. There was nothing she could not do short of winning the Kentucky Derby (as one sportswriter said)—and the 1930s were only the beginning of her extraordinary, though tragically short, career. Born in Port Arthur, Texas, she earned the nickname "Babe" because as a schoolgirl she could hit home runs like Babe Ruth. She played on every sports team in high school and became a high-school basketball star. She played for an AAU-sanctioned insurance-company team in Dallas—the Golden Cyclones—and led the team to a national championship in 1931, while reaching the finals in 1930 and 1932 as well. She made all-American three times. Since few sportswriters followed women's sports, not many people knew about Babe at first.
Didrikson competed for her company (she was a clerk-typist) in AAU track-and-field meets in Dallas and Jersey City. Her second-place finish in the 1930 broad jump beat a world record, and the next year she threw a baseball 296 feet. In 1932, at the AAU Nationals/Olympic tryouts in Evanston, Illinois, in about two and a half hours Babe won five events (shot put, javelin, long jump, baseball...
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Gehrig, Lou 19O3-1941
The only surviving child of German immigrants, young Lou Gehrig was an outstanding all-around athlete at the High School of Commerce in New York City. He continued his athletic prowess at Columbia University and became a baseball star there as a pitcher and right fielder. Since he played in the minors at Hartford (under an alias) he lost one year of eligibility at Columbia. In 1923 Yankee scout Paul Krichell signed him to a contract, and Gehrig spent two years in the minors (though he played a few games each year with the parent club), honing his skills as a first baseman.
Gehrig batted .295 and .313 in his first two major-league seasons, and by 1927 he had developed into one of the best players in the game, outhitting Babe Ruth in most categories. His 47 home runs were second to Ruth's 60 that year. Gehrig won the most valuable player (MVP) and led the Yankees to a sweep of the Pirates in the World Series. By the 1930s he was on his way to achieving recognition as the finest first baseman ever to play baseball, a remarkable feat in that he was...
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Luisetti, Hank 1916-
Born bow-legged, young Angelo Joseph "Hank" Luisetti of San Francisco had to wear leg braces. It did not stop him from playing schoolyard basketball. Shorter than most other kids, Luisetti compensated by learning to shoot with one hand from farther out. He played high-school basketball and earned a scholarship to Stanford.
The Modern Game.
Basketball began rather primitively at the turn of the century as a passing game. By the beginning of the 1930s national individual scoring leaders averaged about 10 points a game, and most players still used a two-hand set shot, The game was still evolving into its modern form. Luisetti helped. He had many natural abilities: he could pass behind his back; he moved well around the court; and he carved out defensive as well as offensive strategies as he played. Though he was recognized as an offensive star because of the national attention his unorthodox shooting style attracted, Luisetti was very much an all-around player.
Luisetti led Stanford to three Pacific Coast Conference championships between 1936 and 1938. He could shoot from nearly every position on the court and run and shoot. He was named all-American three years in a row, and twice he was Collegiate Player of...
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Moody, Helen Wills 1905-
Golden Age Carryover.
Even when she was not playing tennis or playing hurt, Helen Wills Moody was America's greatest female tennis player in the 1920s and 1930s. Between 1923 and 1938 she won eight Wimbledon titles (a record until 1990), seven U.S. National titles, and four French titles. Though an aggressive baseline player, she won numerous doubles and mixed-doubles matches. Many of her great victories came in the 1920s, but she also suffered her toughest defeat in 1926, losing to Suzanne Lenglen in Cannes. It is still a hotly debated issue as to who was the better player of the era—Lenglen or Moody. Between 1927 and 1933 she won 180 consecutive singles matches, without having lost a set in any of them. She had, after all, vowed after her loss to Lenglen never to lose again.
Little Miss Poker Face.
Wills played with cold, hard determination. Bill Tilden found her an emotionless, ruthless, self-centered champion. The press generally...
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Nagurski, Bronko 1908-
Man and Myth.
Few athletes in the 1930s possessed as many golden age qualities as Chicago Bears running back Bronk o Nagurski. Son of Ukrainian immigrants, Nagurski moved to northern Minnesota as a young boy and played on a winless high-school team that often had to travel one hundred miles away to play a game. He was unheralded when he entered the University of Minnesota in 1926, but by the end of his college career he was on most all-American teams as either a fullback or a tackle, or both. He was possessed of extraordinary strength. He blocked punts, led interference, and ran over defensive backs, dragging players with him into the end zone. In a game against a superior Wisconsin team, he forced a fumble and then scored the game's only touchdown. He became a folk hero, and tales soon arose about his knocking down walls, pulling fenders off cars, or pointing with a plow to give directions.
Teaming Up with Grange.
In 1930 Nagurski joined George Halas's Chicago Bears, a team that featured such greats as Bill Hewitt and Red Grange. Nagurski continued to play fullback and tackle and was an occasional quick passer. One coach said that to stop Nagurski you had to shoot him before he left the locker room. In the 1932 championship game against Portsmouth, he threw a jump pass to Red Grange more than five...
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Owens, Jesse 1913-198O
TRACK & FIELD/OLYMPIC HERO
Personal difficulties, racial discrimination, and challenges to his status as an athlete plagued James Cleveland Owens throughout his career, but on the track and field he put them aside to perform unequaled feats of athletic prowess. In the early 1930s he was the nation's most promising high school star. At Cleveland East Technical High School in 1932, when he was nineteen, he ran the 100-yard dash in 9.4 seconds, tying the world record; long jumped 24 feet, 11.25 inches; and ran 220 yards in 20.7 seconds. He broke the world indoor broad-jump record in 1933. Yet no colleges were interested in him. He enrolled at Ohio State (known then for its discriminatory practices against blacks). To earn his scholarship he operated a freight elevator in the State Office Building after attending classes and working out with the track team.
In a single day in 1935—in the space of forty-five minutes—racing against other amateurs at the AAU nationals in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Owens broke five world records and tied one. Three of those records were still standing almost twenty years later. He matched his own 9.4 seconds in the 100-yard dash; he set world records in the 220-yard dash (20.3 seconds), the 220-yard low hurdles (22.6 seconds), and the long jump (26 feet,...
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Paige, Satchel 19O6-1982
Born Thirty Years Too Early.
LeRoy Robert "Satchel" Paige was the greatest pitcher of the 1930s. White and black players of the era alike attested to that fact. No player since Babe Ruth was a bigger box-office draw, and Paige was every bit a showman, a man who would clear the field and pitch to batters with no one behind him. Yet, because of the racist policy of baseball, Paige had to wait until he was forty-two years old, in 1948, to become the first African American to pitch in the big leagues, though he frequently played with and against white players in off-season barnstorming tours, including such admirers as Joe DiMaggio and Dizzy Dean.
Paige was known widely not only for his durability and blazing, buzzing "Bee Ball" but also because he pitched wherever he could draw an audience throughout the year. He began his career in 1929 in semipro ball with the Mobile Tigers and played for Chattanooga, Birmingham, Baltimore, Nashville, and Cleveland before hooking up in 1932 with the Pittsburgh Crawfords, the greatest black team of the...
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People in the News
Henry Armstrong won the world lightweight champion-ship on 17 August 1938 to add to his welterweight and featherweight titles; he was thus the first man to hold championships in three different weight divisions at once.
James "Cool Papa" Bell of the Pittsburgh Crawfords in the Negro Leagues from 1933-1937, called the fastest base runner in the history of baseball, stole 175 bases in 1933.
Middle-distance runner Bill Bonthron, one of the great milers of the 1930s, won the title Amateur Athlete of the Year in 1934, the same year he set a world record in the 1500-meter.
In 1935 Frank Boucher, center for the New York Rangers hockey team, won his seventh Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in eight years as the league's most gentlemanly player.
On 13 June 1935 James J. Braddock, a 10—1 underdog, defeated Max Baer for the heavyweight title in a fifteen-round decision before 35,000 fans at the Long Island City Bowl.
In 1937 and 1938 Don Budge won the U.S. Open and Wimbledon tennis championships; he led America to two Davis Cups those same years.
In 1933 and 1935-1938 Glenn Cunningham won the United States Championship in the mile run, repeatedly breaking the world record.
From 1933 to 1936 Dizzy Dean (baseball) won...
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Major League Baseball World Series—Philadelphia Athletics (AL), 4 vs. Saint Louis Cardinals (NL), 2
National Football League Championship—Green Bay Packers (best record)
Rose Bowl, Collegiate Football—Southern California, 47 vs. Pittsburgh, 14
National Hockey League Stanley Cup—Montreal Canadiens, 2 vs. Boston Bruins, O
Kentucky Derby, Horse Racing—Gallant Fox (Earl Sande, jockey)
U.S. Open Golf Tournament—Bobby Jones
U.S. National Tennis Tournament-—John Doeg; Betty Nuthall
James E. Sullivan Memorial Trophy (inaugural year), Amateur Athlete of the Year—-Bobby Jones (Golf)
Major League Baseball World Series—Saint Louis Cardinals (NL),.4 vs. Philadelphia Athletics (AL), 3
National Football League Championship—Green Bay Packers (best record)
Rose Bowl, Collegiate Football—Alabama, 24 vs. Washington State, 0
National Hockey League Stanley Cup—Montreal Canadiens, 3 vs. Chicago Black Hawks, 2
Kentucky Derby, Horse Racing—Twenty Grand (Charles Kurtsinger,...
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Heywood Broun, 51, sportswriter and noted critic and columnist. Spent most-fruitful years covering sports for the New York Herald Tribune, 1911-1921, 18 December 1939.
Dennis "Dan" Brouthers, 74, great Hall of Fame first baseman of the 1880s, 2 August 1932.
Joe Carr, 58, National Football League president since its inception, 20 May 1939.
Frank Cavanaugh, 57, "The Iron Major," football player and coach, most prominently at Fordham, 29 August 1933.
Jack Chesboro, 57, Hall of Fame pitcher, won forty-one games in 1904, 6 November 1931.
Charles Comiskey, 72, the "Old Roman," onetime ballplayer and first owner of the Chicago White Sox, 28 November 1939.
James J. Corbett, 67, "Gentleman Jim," the first man to win the heavyweight crown under the Marquis of Queensberry rules; he beat John L. Sullivan in a famous fight in 1892, 18 February 1933.
Edward H. "Ted" Coy, 47, all-American Yale fullback, who was one of the early power runners and an all-around player, 8 September 1935.
Charles Dryden, 74, one of the most famous and influential sportswriters of the twentieth century; his stories ran on the front page of such newspapers as the Philadelphia North American and...
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Donald Budge, Budge on Tennis (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1939);
Mickey Cochrane, Baseball: The Fan's Game (New York: Funk &Wagnalls, 1939);
Allison Danzig, The Racquet Game (New York: Macmillan, 1930);
Elmer Dawson (Edward Stratemeyer), The Buck and Larry Series (New York: Grosset & Dunlap); Buck's Home Run Drive (1931); Buck's Winning Hit (1930); Larry's Fadeaway (1930); Larry's Speedball (1932); The Pickup Nine (1930);
Eddie Egan, Fighting for Fun: The Scrapbook of Eddie Egan (New York: Macmillan, 1932);
Paul Gallico, A Farewell to Sport (New York: Knopf, 1938);
Reed Harris, King Football (New York: Vanguard, 1932);
William Inglis, Champions Off Guard (New York: Vanguard, 1932);
Helen Hull Jacobs, Beyond the Game: An Autobiography (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1936);
John Kieran, The Story of the Olympic Games: 776 B.C.-1936 AD. (New York: Stokes, 1936);
Ring Lardner, Lose With a Smile (New York: Scribners, 1933);
Lou Little and Robert Harron, How to Watch Football (New York: Whittlesey House/McGraw-Hill, 1935);
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Important Events in Sports, 1930–1939
- The first James E. Sullivan Memorial Trophy, awarded to the country's top amateur athlete, goes to golfer Bobby Jones. Jim Bausch, Glenn Cunningham, Lawson Little, and Don Budge are other winners during the decade.
- On March 18, Montreal Canadian center Howie Morenz, called the "Babe Ruth of Hockey," scores five goals in one game against the New York Americans.
- On May 17, Gallant Fox, ridden by jockey Earl Sande, wins the Kentucky Derby. The three-year-old completes the Triple Crown with wins at the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.
- On May 31, Bobby Jones wins the British Amateur, the only title he had never won.
- On June 20, Jones wins the British Open, shooting 291 for seventy-two holes, ten strokes lower than Walter Hagen's record-breaking score in 1924.
- On July 12, Jones wins the U.S. Open, his fourth Open victory and twelfth golf title.
- In September, Hack Wilson of the Chicago Cubs ends the season with 190 runs batted in (RBIs), and Bill Terry of the New York Giants hits for a .401 average. Baseball is America's national pastime, as attendance climbs to more than ten million, a figure that will not be reached again until after World War II.
- On September 18, the racing yacht Enterprise defeats Sir Thomas Lipton's...
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