Topics in the News
Automobile Racing: Indianapolis
Wilbur Shaw was the top name in Indianapolis-type car racing in 1940 and 1941. In 1940 Shaw, driving a Maserati, won his third Indianapolis 500 and became the first driver to win the race two years in a row. He was a favorite to repeat in 1941, and with sixty-two laps to go he pulled in for a pit stop more than two minutes ahead of the second-place car. As he exited the pit, the race began to slip away. During his stop, he had damaged the spokes on his right rear wheel, and the tire began to tear loose. Before he could return to the pit, he lost control of the car, bounced off the wall, and came to rest against a concrete barrier, with a fuel-tank brace wedged against his spine. His career as a race driver was over. The race was won by the man who inherited Shaw's mantle as the track's premier driver—Mauri Rose, driving in relief for Floyd Davis.
Indianapolis was idle from 1942 to 1945, and it seemed, briefly, that it might be shut down. The legendary track needed repair, an infusion of capital, and expert management if it was to survive. Racing fan Tony Hulman, a businessman from Terre Haute, Indiana, had the resources to revive the track and the Indianapolis 500, held annually on Memorial Day, He bought the track in 1945 and hired Wilbur Shaw as general manager. Shaw did his job admirably. In 1946 he staged...
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Automobile Racing: Stock Cars
A competitive Indianapolis-type racer cost about $30,000 after the war. That was too much for a band of southerners who liked to build and drive race cars. They knew how to buy a heap at a junkyard and turn it into a race car for about $2,500. Their racers were called stock cars because they looked like passenger vehicles, and their competitions were originally called pasture races, because in the early days the drivers would gather in a farmer's pasture on Sunday afternoons to race. Most of the stock car tracks of the late 1940s were made of compacted clay, and many of the drivers had served their apprenticeship running moonshine liquor, 120 gallons at a time, from the stills where it was illegally made, to thirsty customers. Outrunning the law became a mark of honor among the moonshine drivers, and their outlaw attitude shaped stock car racing. The moonshiners were so prominent among drivers in the early stock car races that Atlanta passed a local ordinance prohibiting moonshiners from participating in automobile racing. One of the sport's treasured anecdotes was the story of moonshiner/driver Bob Flock, who was waiting to start a race in Atlanta in the late 1940s when he was spotted by a police captain who knew he hauled liquor. The captain ordered two motorcycle patrolmen to come at Flock from different directions on the track to trap him. Realizing his predicament,...
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The 1940s rank as one of the most spectacular decades in baseball history, despite the disruption of war. At the beginning of the 1940s, games were played in the daytime by white players and watched by fans who normally lived fairly close to the park. When the decade ended, night games were an accepted and crucial part of professional baseball; black players were not only participating, they were reshaping the game; and radio, television, and modern-style marketing promotions were captivating fans in every part of the county.
The Two-Team Monopoly.
During most of the decade the Saint Louis Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers turned the National League into an exclusive, two-team monopoly. From 1941 through 1949, the Cardinals and Dodgers won seven pennants. Only the Chicago Cubs, in 1945, and Boston Red Sox, in 1948, disrupted the two-team battle for supremacy. In 1941 and 1942 the Dodgers and Cardinals went to the final day of the season before the National League champion was determined. In 1946 they were tied at season's end, forcing the first National League playoff in modern times. The teams also shared something other than success—a general manager. Branch Rickey, who had established the farm system that eventually provided the Cardinals with nine pennants, went to Brooklyn in 1942, and within a short time the "Bums...
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Baseball, Women's Style
In 1943 with half of the players on the sixteen major league baseball teams in the armed forces, the All-American Girls Baseball League (AAGBL) was formed. The AAGBL was the idea of Philip Wrigley, owner of the Chicago Cubs, and Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Wrigley, who was based in Chicago, chose midwestern home cities for the four teams in the league. There were the Racine (Wisconsin) Belles; the Kenosha (Wisconsin) Comets; the South Bend (Indiana) Blue Sox; and the Rockford (Illinois) Peaches. City leaders paid $22,500 for each franchise in support of the belief that women's professional baseball was a patriotic effort to provide diversion for wartime workers laboring under extraordinary pressure. The league recruited players and assigned them to one of the four teams on the basis of ability, with a view toward forming a competitive league. Recruits came from amateur softball leagues nationwide, and the chosen players were rewarded well, though their salaries were not comparable to those of major league men. At a time when women in the workplace made perhaps $10 or $20 a week, AAGBL players made between $45 and $85 per week during the four-month regular season. They played
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Before the War.
A revolutionary rule change in 1938 unshackled college basketball from the cumbersome, mandatory jump ball at the center of the court after every basket. The decision brought speed and nonstop action to the game and opened up new styles of play, including the jump shot. Washington State coach Jack Friel said, "Ironically, I didn't believe in the shot at first. I simply couldn't conceive of a kid jumping off the floor and shooting accurately from the distance they do. I was soon converted, however, and the jump shot is the big weapon now. I think the present teams score more by accident, with their excellent jump shooters, than our old teams did by design."
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament was in its infancy as the decade opened. The first NCAA tournament, staged in 1939, was won by Oregon in a small gym on the campus of Northwestern University in Evans ton, Illinois. Critics insisted, though, that the older National Invitational Tournament (NIT), played at Madison Square Garden, attracted better teams and determined the real national champion. The Indiana Hoosiers swept the second NCAA tournament 60-42 over the University of Kansas. At the beginning of the 1940s, coaches were experimenting with substitutions. During the 1941 NCAA tournament final, Washington State employed a...
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The Heyday of Boxing.
The 1940s were the heyday of American boxing. Champions included featherweight Willie Pep, who won sixty-two fights in a row before he was beaten by lightweight Sammy Angott and then seventy-one more (with one draw) before Sandy Saddler took his title on 28 October 1948. When the decade closed, Pep was champion again, having defeated Saddler in the rematch. Among the lightweights, there was Beau Jack, the popular "Georgia Shoe Shine Boy," who fought a series of championship fights with another southerner, Bob Montgomery. After the war Ike Williams won the championship and ruled the division for the rest of the decade. Among the welterweights, there were Henry Armstrong, who had moved up in weight, Fritzie Zivic, Red Cochrane, and Marty Servo. All except Cochrane were beaten by the best fighter in the division, Sugar Ray Robinson. Jake La Motta had similar problems in the middleweight division, which included champions Tony Zale and Rocky Graziano, who knocked Zale out in the sixth round on 16 July 1947 to win the title in all states but New York, which had suspended Graziano's license to box. Impressive Frenchman Marcel Cerdan held the championship for one fight before he lost to La Motta on 16 June 1949 and then had his career cut short by a plane crash. Billy Conn was the best of the light heavyweights before the war, but he gave up his title to fight for bigger...
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College football began its modern period in the 1940s, when the game took on basic qualities that it retains fifty years later. College football was revolutionized by one major rule change—the free-substitution rule—and one major tactical innovation—the refinement of the T-formation to exploit the passing game that stimulated a flood of lesser rule changes.
The free-substitution rule, which went into effect in 1941, had repercussions far beyond those intended. Before the war eleven men on a football team played the entire game, offense and defense. Only injury was grounds for substituting. The new rule allowed players to substitute for one another at any time, except during the last two minutes of the first half. During the war free substitution was the salvation of college football, allowing weakened teams to continue playing. When the war was over and veteran players returned to college football, coaches used the rule for strategic purposes. They introduced the platoon system, in which players specialized in a single aspect of the game—short-yardage offense, passing offense, corresponding defenses, and special teams.
The first attempt at platooning came on 13 October 1945 when the University of Michigan met Army. Underdog...
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Taking the Title.
The 1940 title game between the Chicago Bears (8-3) and the Washington Redskins (9-2) was billed as a game between equally great passing teams, featuring two of the game's premier quarterbacks: Sid Luckman of the Bears and Sammy Baugh of the Redskins. The two teams had met in the final game of the season, a low-scoring affair won by the Redskins, 7—3, and fans were prepared for a close game. Few were prepared for the 73-0 blowout of Washington by the Bears. It did not happen by accident. In preparing for the championship game, Bear coaches refined the T-formation the team had been using and introduced some new concepts, including a series of counter plays to take advantage of the Redskins' propensity to shift their defensive line toward the motion of the backfield. It was a coach's win.
Creating heroes was essential to the commercial success of the National Football League (NFL), and Sammy Baugh of the Washington Redskins was the preeminent pro football hero of the day. Baugh, who joined the Redskins in 1937, posed little threat as a runner, but his pinpoint passing changed the game. Working the tailback position in the single-wing formation, Baugh could throw the football from a variety of angles and for long, short, and medium gains. Professional rules permitted passing from anywhere behind the...
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The Golfers' Sacrifice.
Americans enjoyed their golf throughout the war, although in a limited fashion. Three-quarters of the clubs in the United States remained open without interruption. Only a few took the suggestion of the United States Golf Association (USGA) and plowed their roughs into victory gardens for club members. Yet thousands joined in the recycling craze to find quality golf equipment without affecting war supplies. The Black Rock Club in Atlanta, like many courses, drained its lake and rescued sixteen thousand balls for reprocessing. For the first time members caddied for themselves when bag-toting caddies joined the military; members also pitched in to maintain their courses when the army of groundskeepers who kept the fairways and greens in playable shape went to war. Power mowers were at a premium; when they broke, parts were unavailable to fix them. Quality golf balls, of the type most duffers had grown accustomed to, were unavailable.
The Pros at War.
From 1942 to 1945 all major USGA events—including the Open, the Amateur, the Women's Amateur,...
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The International Olympic Committee faced awesome difficulties planning the 1940 Olymiad. The games were first scheduled to be held in Japan, but in 1938 the Japanese were preoccupied by their conflict with the Chinese and withdrew as the host country. The IOC then awarded the games to Helsinki, Finland, whose plans were interrupted when the Russians invaded in 1939. By that time it was clear that world events were too chaotic to allow for the Olympics. The war forced cancellation of the 1940 and 1944 games, and many believed that the depth of international hatred aroused by the war would end the Olympics altogether. But in 1945 the International Olympic Committee met in bomb-scarred London to plan the 1948 games for that city. The German blitz had devastated much of London;
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USLTA versus PLTA.
There was an uneasy alliance between amateurs and professionals in American tennis during the 1940s. The conservative, upper-class traditions of the sport were protected by the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA), a member of the International Lawn Tennis Association (ILTA), which provided standardized rules throughout the world and declared itself an organization of amateurs only. Professional tennis coaches began to appear in the 1920s, and they had formed an alliance called the Professional Lawn Tennis Association (PLTA) to declare their adherence to USLTA standards, even though they charged to teach tennis. In 1928 the Palm Beach Tennis Club staged the first exhibition by professional tennis players, many of whom were PLTA members, but the event did not stimulate much enthusiasm. By the 1940s there were touring professionals who played for small audiences—the Bill Tilden tour was the most successful—and the USLTA had modified its charter to allow one annual open tournament a year in which amateurs and professionals played each other. For the most part, though, the tennis purists paid only passing interest to those who would stoop to accept pay for their games, despite the credibility lent to the professional circuit when popular champions Fred Perry of Great Britain and Ellsworth Vines of the United States joined the Bill Tilden tour in 1937 and grossed...
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The War and Sports
World War II affected every aspect of American life in the early 1940s, including sports. For the first time directors of athletic events had to consider the impact of using "war-necessary materials"—which included able-bodied athletes—and the possibility of invasion—which resulted in the relocation of the Rose Bowl from the West Coast to the East. As the war progressed so did its impact on sports.
In 1941 Minnesota running back Bruce Smith, winner of the Heisman Trophy as the best player in college football, was the 119th player taken in the professional football draft; Smith was 1-A (the draft board designation for men eligible for immediate induction into the military), and professional teams were unwilling to take the risk of drafting a player who might not return from the war. The spirit of patriotism that swept the nation left little room for the special privileges athletes were accustomed to. As the best physical specimens in the nation, they were expected to do their part to defend their country, and they responded admirably. Every member of the New Mexico State Teachers College football and basketball teams, for example, quit to enter military service in 1941, and other college athletes responded similarly.
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Arcaro, Eddie 1916-
Eddie Arcaro quit school at age fourteen to ride racehorses, and he became one of the most successful jockeys in the history of the sport, the only rider ever to win two Triple Crowns. Five feet, two inches tall and weighing 114 pounds, Arcaro developed powerful hands and the ability to use the whip with either hand early in his career. With experience he gained the knowledge to judge pace to become the finest "money boy" in the game. During his twenty-six-year career his mounts won over $24 million.
Arcaro learned to ride almost by instinct, he once said, and rarely credited himself with a great ride, preferring to praise the horses. "You seldom hear of a jockey getting into a slump riding good horses," he explained. He rode in his first race in May 1931 and had not ridden a winner for forty-five races when he brought Eagle Bird to the wire in first place at Agua Caliente in January 1932. After Arcaro sustained two fractured ribs and a punctured lung in 1934, stable owner Clarence Davison, who had given Arcaro his first chance to ride, paying him $20 per week, sold his contract for $5,000 to Calumet Farms. There he had access to the best horses in racing and made his reputation, beginning with a winning ride on Larwin in the 1938 Kentucky Derby, the first of a record five Kentucky...
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Patricia "Patty" Berg 1918-
One of the leading woman golfers from the 1940s through the 1960s, Patty Berg developed professional women's golfín the United States. Berg grew up in Minneapolis and was athletic as a young girl, playing sandlot baseball and quarterback for a boys' football team. She placed third in a national "midget" ice skating race while in high school and was a track star at her high school. Berg began playing golf in 1932 and excelled under her father's teaching. Within a year she qualified to compete in the state championship tournament. In 1935 she won the first of three Minnesota state championships and reached the finals in the U.S. Women's National Amateur Tournament. At age seventeen Berg attracted national attention when she lost 3 and 2 that same year to the well-known Glenna Collet Vare. In 1937 Berg made it to the finals again, but lost 6 and 5 to Estelle Lawson Page.
Patty Berg rose in the amateur golf world by playing tournaments as a student at the University of Minnesota. In 1938 she won the U.S. Women's Amateur Tournament, the Women's Western, the Trans-Mississippi, and the Women's Western Derby events. Berg won a total of forty amateur tournaments and played on two Curtis Cup teams before she signed as a professional with Wilson Sporting Goods Company of Chicago in 1940....
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Felix "Doc" Blanchard 1924-
Felix "Doc" Blanchard was one of Army's "Touchdown Twins," along with Glenn Davis. They dominated college football in the mid 1940s, earning the nicknames of Mr. Inside (Blanchard) and Mr. Outside (Davis). From 1944 to 1946 the one-two punch of Blanchard and Davis led Army to twenty-seven victories, one tie, and no losses, even though cadets were forced to complete a four-year curriculum in three years to meet the country's need for military officers. Moreover, Blanchard's size, strength, and versatility made him a formidable player during the last days when men played the entire game, both offense and defense. The combination of Blanchard's strength and Davis's speed molded new concepts about how a highly explosive football offense would be formed, dramatically lifting fan interest.
Originally enrolled at North Carolina to be near his ailing father, Blanchard was recruited to West Point after he was drafted following his freshman year. Because of the war, athletes who had lettered at other universities could receive appointments to the United States Military Academy, where three more seasons of eligibility awaited. As a result, Army was awesome during those years, when many college teams were forced to terminate their programs for lack of players or compete with a...
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Didrikson, Mildred "Babe" 1911-1956
OLYMPIC MEDALIST, GOLFER
As a young girl, Mildred Didrikson was such a powerful home run hitter on the baseball field that her friends nicknamed her "Babe," after Babe Ruth. The name stuck. Didrikson grew up near Port Arthur, Texas, and showed her athletic talent early. A high-school all-American basketball star, Didrikson went on to play in an industrial athletic league, leading her team to two finals and a national championship. She once scored 106 points in a basketball game. Didrikson then turned to track and qualified for the United States team at the 1932 Olympics. Described variously in the press as Whatta-Gal Didrikson, the Texas Tornado, and the Terrific Tomboy, she won gold medals in the javelin, with a world-record throw, and the 80-meter hurdles, in which she set a U.S. outdoor record time. She tied the winner in the high jump but was given a second-place silver medal because of her unconventional style. At the 1932 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) championships, she entered eight of ten events and won five.
In the 1930s there was no competitive setting in which a woman athlete could earn a living. Didrikson was suspended from the AAU in 1932 for allegedly appearing in a Chrysler Corporation advertisement, and she decided to turn professional. She toured with a mixed-gender...
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Dimaggio, Joe 1914-
One of the most popular and fabled players to compete in Yankee Stadium, Joe DiMaggio was winner of three Most Valuable Player awards. His 1941 hitting streak of 56 games was one of the most closely watched achievements in baseball history, and he was so beloved by his fans that Japanese attempting to insult American soldiers on World War II battlefields called out insults to DiMaggio. His career batting average was .325, and he hammered 361 home runs. In 1949 he became the American League's first $100,000 player.
Before the Yankees.
Son of Italian immigrant parents, Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio Jr. grew up in the San Francisco area with his four brothers and four sisters. At seventeen DiMaggio elected to play minor league baseball with the San Francisco Seals, the team on which his brother was making his professional debut near the end of the 1932 season. With a salary of $250 a month, 6-foot-2-inch DiMaggio became a Bay Area celebrity in 1933, hitting safely in 61 consecutive games, an all-time record for professional baseball, while hitting .340 and driving in 169 runs. A year later DiMaggio hit .341 and was purchased by the New York Yankees for $25,000 and five minor league players. An impressive .398 batting average earned him a Yankee tryout in 1936, where he was billed as the next Babe...
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Louis, Joe 1914-1981
Joe Louis Barrow was born in a sharecropper's shack in Lexington, Alabama, the seventh of eight children. Two years after his birth his father was committed to Searcy State Hospital for the Colored Insane, where he died twenty years later. Mrs. Barrow remarried a man who had five children of his own, and moved her family in with his. The children slept three to a bed. In 1926, when Joe Louis was twelve, his stepfather moved the family to Detroit and went to work at the Ford plant. Louis was already behind in school, and the transition to a new setting only complicated his education. It seemed clear to teachers that he was not a candidate for graduation, so they referred him to Bronson Trade School, where he stayed until age seventeen, to learn cabinet making. In an attempt to keep her son off the streets, Louis's mother saved up to buy him a violin and pay for music lessons. He took the money and used it to rent a locker at the Brewster Recreation Center, where he could box. He took the ring name Joe Louis when he filled out his application for amateur competition. The space for his name was small, and Louis wrote big, so only his first two names would fit. Amateur boxers were paid in merchandise certificates for as much as $25, which they could redeem for goods at local stores. In 1933 Louis helped support his family by fighting more than once a...
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MacPhail, Larry 1890-1975
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL OWNER
Often-fired Brooklyn Dodger manager Leo Durocher said of his boss, team owner Larry MacPhail, "There is a thin line between genius and insanity, and in Larry's case it was sometimes so thin you could see him drifting back and forth." Volatile, egotistical, and driven, Larry MacPhail pioneered the movement among major league baseball owners to approach the game as a business that provides sports entertainment. Like any good businessman engaged in selling to the public, MacPhail believed in promotion. To him a baseball team owner's job was to attract ticket-buying fans to the stadium and give them a good show.
MacPhail was a student athlete at the University of Michigan and earned his law degree at the age of twenty from Georgetown University. After a successful military career in World War I, during which he just missed in an attempt to kidnap Kaiser Wilhelm II, he returned to civilian life as an entrepreneur. In 1934 his friend Branch Rickey recommended him to the owner of the Cincinnati Reds, who was looking for someone to revive his floundering team. As vice-president of the Reds from 1934 to 1937, MacPhail turned the team into a money-making winner. He painted the park orange to create excitement; he introduced usherettes in the stadium and night...
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Robinson, Jackie 1919-1972
FIRST BLACK IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Jackie Robinson was born in Georgia, the youngest of five children of Mallie and Jerry Robinson. His father deserted the family when Jackie was six months old, and his mother moved the family to Pasadena, California, in search of opportunity. Mallie Robinson, a domestic, purchased a home in a white Pasadena neighborhood with the help of a welfare agency. The neighbors petitioned unsuccessfully to have the Robinsons removed and then offered to buy the family out. Mrs. Robinson refused. Jackie Robinson remembered that "Pasadena regarded us as intruders. My brothers and I were in many a fight that started with a racial slur on the very street we lived on. We saw movies from segregated balconies, swam in the municipal pool only on Tuesdays, and were permitted in the YMCA only one night a week."
Athletics became a passion for the two Robinson boys, Jackie and his older brother Mack, who won a silver...
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People in the News
At age thirty Eddie Arcaro joined an elite horse-racing circle in 1945, winning his third Kentucky Derby, riding Hoop Jr. His previous victories had been on Lawrin in 1938 and Whirlaway in 1941.
When Citation won the eightieth running of the Belmont Stakes in 1948 (worth $77,700 to the winner), he became the eighth horse to win the Triple Crown since 1919. It was the second Triple Crown for both jockey Eddie Arcaro and Calumet Farms, who won with Whirlaway in 1941.
In 1941 Ken Bartholomew captured the North American speed-skating championship.
In 1942 Saint Louis Cardinal pitcher Johnny Beazley won 21 games, including two in the World Series, to attain the best rookie record since Peter Alexander won 28 in 1911.
In 20 August 1945 seventeen-year-old Brooklyn Dodgers shortstop Tommy Brown hit a home run off Preacher Roe of the Pittsburgh Pirates to become the youngest person to hit a major league home run.
In 1941 the AAU selected swimmer Gloria Callen as the outstanding woman athlete of 1940.
Gerald Cote won the sixth annual Yonkers Marathon in 1940 to win the national AAU championship. He finished in 2:34:06.2.
In 1943 Gerald Cote won the forty-seventh Boston Marathon, running the 26-mile course in...
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Major League Baseball World Series—Cincinnati Reds (National League), 4 vs. Detroit Tigers (American League), 3
National Football League Championship—Chicago Bears, 73 vs. Washington Redskins, 0
Collegiate Football National Champion—University of Minnesota
Heisman Trophy, Collegiate Football—Tom Harmon (University of Michigan)
Cotton Bowl—Clemson University, 6 vs. Boston College, 3
Orange Bowl—Georgia Tech, 21 vs. University of Missouri, 7
Rose Bowl—University of Southern California, 14 vs. University of Tennessee, 0
Sugar Bowl—Texas A&M, 14 vs. Tulane University, 13
National Collegiate Athletic Association Basketball—Indiana University, 60 vs. University of Kansas, 42
National Hockey League Stanley Cup—New York Rangers
Kentucky Derby, Horse Racing—Gallahadion (Carroll Bierman, jockey)
Preakness, Horse Racing—Bimelech (F. A. Smith, jockey)
Belmont Stakes, Horse Racing—Bimelech (F. A. Smith, jockey)
Masters Golf Tournament—Jimmy Demaret...
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Sam Baroudi, 21, boxer, 26 February 1948.
Charles Behan, professional football player, killed in war, 1944.
Charles W. Bidwell, 51, owner of the Chicago Cardinals football team, in Chicago, Illinois, 19 April 1947.
Jack "Chappie" Blackburn, 58, trainer of heavyweight champion Joe Louis and lightweight boxer from 1900 to 1923, Chicago, Illinois, 23 April 1943.
Al Blozis, New York Giant tackle, killed in war, 1945.
Ernest Edward "Tiny" Bonham, 36, baseball pitcher, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15 September 1949.
Caleb S. Bragg, 56, automobile racer, 24 October 1943.
William Gibbons Bramham, 72, president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues from 1932 to 1946, in Durham, North Carolina, 8 July 1947.
Sam Breadon, 72, owner of the Saint Louis Cardinals baseball club, in Saint Louis, Missouri, 10 May 1949.
Roger Bresnahan, 64, baseball player, 4 December 1944.
Jack Burke, boxer who fought the longest (110 rounds) gloved boxing match in history in 1893, in Plainfield, New Jersey, 14 February 1942.
Christian K. "Red" Cagle, 37, all-American halfback at Army,...
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Louis Henry Baker, Do You Know Your Football? (New York: Barnes, 1946);
Baker, Football Facts and Figures (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1945);
Gordon Arnold Campbell, Ninth Series of Famous American Athletes of Today (Boston: Page, 1946);
Allison Danzig and Peter Brandwein, eds., Sports' Golden Age, A Close-up of the Fabulous Twenties (New York Harper, 1948);
Joe DiMaggio and Red Barber, Baseball for Everyone: A Treasury of Baseball Lore and Instruction for Fans and Players (New York: Whittelsey House, 1948);
Ray Oscar Duncan, Six Man Football (New York: Barnes, 1940);
Nat Fleischer, The Heavyweight Championship: an Informal History of Heavyweight Boxing from 1719 to the Present Day (New York: Putnam, 1949);
Stanley Bernard Frank, ed., Sports Extra; Classics of Sports Reporting (New York: Barnes, 1944);
Arnold Gingrich, ed., Esquire's Second Sports Reader (New York: Barnes, 1946);
Herbert Butler Graffis, ed., Esquire's First Sports Reader (New York: Barnes, 1945);
Frank Graham, The Brooklyn Dodgers (New York: Putnam, 1945);
Harry Grayson, They Played the Game, the Story of...
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Important Events in Sports, 1940–1949
- On January 12, the University of Chicago announces the elimination of its football program, saying the sport is a handicap to education.
- On April 3, the Finnish education minister says Finland cannot host the Olympic Games in 1940; the games are canceled because of war and do not resume until 1948.
- On May 27, New York Yankee outfielder Joe DiMaggio receives the Golden Laurel as the outstanding U.S. athlete of 1939.
- On July 10, golfer Patty Berg signs a six-year pro contract.
- On July 13, the American Professional Football League forms with six teams.
- On September 8, the Baltimore Elite Giants defeat the New York Cubans 3-0 to win the Ruppert Memorial Cup, the highest achievement in Negro baseball.
- On October 8, the Cincinnati Reds defeat the Detroit Tigers 2-1, in the seventh game of the World Series.
- On November 5, baseball writers choose Hank Greenberg of Detroit as the American League player of the year.
- On January 1, Morris Brown College of Atlanta defeats Wilberforce University, 19-3, in the first annual Steel Bowl (also called the Vulcan Bowl) at Birmingham, Alabama, before eight thousand fans to determine the national Negro college football title....
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