Joe DiMaggio and "Pee Wee" Reese in Uniform; "Bob Feller Taking Military Oath"; "Nile Clarke Kinnick Jr. Holding Trophy"
Date: December 6, 1939; December 11, 1941; July 8, 1944
Source: Joe DiMaggio and Harold "Pee Wee" Reese in uniform before a Central Pacific Service Championship game. July 8, 1944. AP/Wide World Photos. Available online at http://www.apwideworld.com (accessed March 19, 2003); "Bob Feller Taking Military Oath." December 11, 1941. Corbis. Image no. BE049915. Available online at http://pro.corbis.com (accessed March 19, 2003); "Clarke Kinnick Jr. Holding Trophy." December 6, 1939. Corbis. Image no. U894609INP. Available online at http://pro.corbis.com (accessed March 19, 2003).
Joe Louis in Uniform
By: Office for Emergency Management
Source: "Joe Louis in Uniform." Office for Emergency Management, Office of War Information, Domestic Operations Branch, Bureau of Special Services. "Pvt. Joe Louis Says.…" 1943. National Archives, College Park, Md. Records of the Office of Government Reports. Record Group 44....
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Season of 1941: DiMaggio and Williams
My Turn at Bat: The Story of My Life
By: Ted Williams, with John Underwood
Source: Williams, Ted, with John Underwood. My Turn at Bat: The Story of My Life. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1969, 81, 83, 85, 86.
About the Author: Ted Williams (1918–2002) was born in San Diego, California. Williams played his entire career with the Red Sox (1939–1960), hit 521 home runs, compiled a. 344 career batting average, won two Triple Crowns, two MVP awards, and was selected to seventeen All-Star games. His brilliant career was interrupted for military service in World War II and Korea. Williams managed the Washington Senators and Texas Rangers after his playing career. Williams was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1966.
Joe DiMaggio Hitting in His 56th Consecutive Game
Date: July 16, 1941
Source: "Joe DiMaggio and Al Milnar During Cleveland Game." July 16, 1941. Corbis. Image no. U613188ACME. Available online at http://pro.corbis.com (accessed March 19, 2003).
In 1941, Americans were worried...
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"73 to 0"
By: George Halas
Date: December 6, 1941
Source: Halas, George. "73 to 0." Saturday Evening Post 214, December 6, 1941.
About the Author: George Halas (1895–1983) was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of immigrant parents. After graduating from the University of Illinois, Halas played semi-pro football, and baseball for the New York Yankees in 1919. In 1920 Halas was part of a group that met in Canton, Ohio, to establish what would become the National Football League (NFL). Halas represented the Decatur (Illinois) Staleys, sponsored by a corn products manufacturer. The Staleys became the Chicago Bears in 1922, and Halas would play for the Bears, coach them until 1967—winning more than three hundred games and eight NFL championships—and serve as the Bears' owner until his death. Halas was elected as a charter member of football's Hall of Fame in 1963.
The Chicago Bears, known as "The Monsters of the Midway," were professional football's dominant team during the NFL's early years. Halas not only played for the Bears in the 1920s, but also coached the team and became its owner in 1921. As owner, Halas had a keen eye for talent and promotion. This led him to sign star players, including Harold "Red"...
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Letter to Kenesaw M. Landis
By: Franklin D. Roosevelt
Date: January 15, 1942
Source: Roosevelt, Franklin D. Letter to Kenesaw M. Landis, January 15, 1942. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Reproduced online at http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/education/primary%5Fsourc... ; website home page: http://www.baseballhalloffame.org (accessed March 19, 2003).
About the Author: Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945) was born at Hyde Park, New York. Educated at Harvard, Roosevelt was elected to the New York Senate in 1910, and served as assistant secretary of the navy from 1913 to 1920. After losing a bid for vice president in 1920, Roosevelt contracted polio, leaving his legs permanently paralyzed. Returning to politics, Roosevelt was elected governor of New York in 1928, and he defeated Herbert Hoover for the presidency in 1932. Roosevelt was reelected in 1936, 1940, and 1944. The only president to serve more than two terms, Roosevelt led the nation through the Great Depression and during World War II.
The U.S. entry into World War II on December 8, 1941, guaranteed that the nation would never be...
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Basketball's Big Men
By: Ray Meyer, with Ray Sons
Source: Meyer, Ray, with Ray Sons. Coach. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1987, 41–42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 56.
About the Author: Ray Meyer (1913–) was born in Chicago, Illinois. Meyer attended the University of Notre Dame, where he was captain of the basketball team his last two seasons. After graduation, Meyer played Amateur Athletic Association (AAU) basketball and became the assistant coach at Notre Dame. In 1942, Meyer returned to Chicago to become the head coach at DePaul University. In forty-two seasons at DePaul, Meyer won 724 games, had thirty-seven winning seasons, and made thirteen National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament and seven National Invitation Tournament (NIT) appearances. After retirement, Meyer has worked as a broadcaster for DePaul basketball games. Meyer was inducted into basketball's Hall of Fame in 1979.
By: Bruce Drake, as told to Harold Keith
Date: February 19, 1944
Source: Drake, Bruce, as told to Harold Keith. "Seven-Foot Trouble." Saturday Evening...
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Army vs. Notre Dame
"Army and Irish Players Unhappy After Their Tie"
By: Hugh Fullerton Jr. and Whitney Martin
Date: November 10, 1946
Source: Fullerton, Hugh, Jr., and Whitney Martin. "Army and Irish Players Unhappy After Their Tie." Baltimore Sun, November 10, 1946.
"Echoes From the Yankee Stadium"
By: Arthur Daley
Date: November 10, 1946
Source: Daley, Arthur. "Echoes From the Yankee Stadium." New York Times, November 10, 1946.
About the Author: Arthur J. Daley (1904–1974) was born in New York City. A baseball player at Fordham University, Daley turned to writing and became sports editor of the college newspaper. After graduation, he joined The New York Times in 1926. Recognized early on as an outstanding sportswriter, Daley took over the "Sports of the Times " column in 1942 "until further notice." He wrote the column for nearly thirty years until his death. Covering all sports, including five Olympics, Daley was a well-prepared interviewer who predicted the rise of professional basketball and football as major spectator sports. He won the Pulitzer Prize in...
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"Jackie Robinson With Ben Chapman"
Date: May 9, 1947
Source: "Jackie Robinson With Ben Chapman." May 9, 1947. Corbis. Image no. U834662ACME. Available online at http://pro.corbis.com (accessed April 16, 2003).
About the Athlete: Jackie Robinson (1919–1972) was born in Cairo, Georgia, grew up in Pasadena, California, and attended UCLA, lettering in baseball, basketball, football, and track. After serving in the army as a second lieutenant during World War II and a season in the Negro Leagues, Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He played the 1946 season with Montreal, Brooklyn's top minor league team. In 1947, Robinson joined the Dodgers and played ten seasons with the team. After his playing career, Robinson remained active in business, politics, and a champion of civil rights causes until his death.
During World War II, African Americans had fought under the "Double V"—"victory over our enemies at home and our enemies on the battlefield abroad." Most sports in America, including baseball, remained for whites only at the end of the war. Barred from playing in the major and minor leagues, the only option for African Americans were the Negro Leagues. A major roadblock to entry for African Americans was baseball's commissioner, Judge...
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"Babe Didrikson Takes Off Her Mask"
By: Pete Martin
Date: September 20, 1947
Source: Martin, Pete. "Babe Didrikson Takes Off Her Mask." Saturday Evening Post 220, September 20, 1947, 27.
Prior to the 1930s, little attention was paid to women's athletics in the United States. Olympic competition was open to women, but female athletes in most sports either labored in obscurity, or were criticized for their lack of femininity. Babe Didrikson's emergence onto the national sports stage in the 1930s was the result of both her incredible natural athletic skills and her talent for self-promotion.
Mildred Didrikson was born in 1911 in Port Arthur, Texas. Nicknamed "Babe" after Babe Ruth because of her childhood athletic prowess, she possessed an unlimited ambition to compete in sports. As Didrikson said in her autobiography, "Before I was in my teens, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. My goal was to be the greatest athlete who ever lived." In the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Didrikson won gold medals in the javelin and 80-meter high hurdles.
Although Didrikson's Olympic performance was widely reported and praised, she had few money-making options. Since she needed to compete professionally for financial...
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Sports and Television
"Fifty Mile Bleachers"
By: Edward P. Morgan
Date: September 27, 1947
Source: Morgan, Edward P. "Fifty Mile Bleachers: Television is Becoming Big Business at the Corner Bar and Grill." Colliers 120, September 27, 1947.
"Inside Sports: Things to Come"
By: Bill Fay
Date: February 19, 1949
Source: Fay, Bill. "Inside Sports: Things to Come." Colliers 123, February 19, 1949.
In the late afternoon of May 17, 1939, an event took place in New York City that would change the world of sport forever. With the flip of a switch at the RCA Building, a visual image appeared on a little silver screen. W2XBS broadcasted a Columbia-Princeton baseball game, marking the first sporting event shown on the new visual medium. Veteran radio announcer, Bill Stern, donned a toupee for the occasion. In 1939, during the months that followed, W2XBS broadcast several more sporting firsts: June 1, the first televised boxing match, between Max Baer and Lou Nova; August 9, the first tennis match; August 26, the first major league baseball game, between the...
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Fort Wayne Daisies: 1947 Yearbook
By: Fort Wayne Daisies
Source: Fort Wayne Daisies: 1947 Yearbook. Fort Wayne, Ind.: Sherman, White, 1947. Excerpts reprinted in Johnson-Noga, Aleene. "All-American Girls' Baseball League—Its History in Brief—1943 to 1946." All-American Girls Professional Baseball League 1943–1954. Available online at ; website home page: http://www.aagpbl.org (accessed April 20, 2003).
About the Organization: The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) sponsored women's baseball from 1943 to 1954. Some of the best records of the league are found in the yearbooks of the individual teams. After its demise, the league was repeatedly honored for its contribution to American sports and women's athletics. In 1992, interest in the league was renewed when Penny Marshall directed a popular film based on the AAGPBL, A League of Their Own, starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Madonna.
World War II (1939–1945) brought many challenges besides that of military strategy. On the civilian home front, those who worked to support the troops and wartime economy needed more than news updates about the fighting overseas: they needed escape. Entertainment was harder...
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Citation Wins the Belmont
Date: June 12, 1948
Source: "Belmont Stakes." June 12, 1948. Corbis. Image no. IH136407. Available online at http://pro.corbis.com (accessed March 25, 2003).
Despite World War II, the 1940s were a golden age for thoroughbred horse racing. The decade saw four horses win racing's Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes); Whirlaway in 1941, Count Fleet in 1943, Assault in 1946, and, perhaps the greatest of the group, Citation in 1948.
Citation was born in April 1945. Bred at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, "Big Cy," as he was nicknamed, won eight of nine races as a two-year-old in 1947. As a result, Citation was voted the two-year-old colt of the year, earning $155,680 in prize money. Citation's only defeat as a two-year-old was to his stable mate, Bewitch. As a three-year-old, Citation had what many considered to be the greatest year ever by a thoroughbred. He won nineteen of twenty races, including sixteen in a row and the Triple Crown, and earned $709,470 in prize money. After winning the first two races of the season, Citation's jockey, Albert Snider, disappeared with two companions on a fishing trip in the Florida Keys. Snider's replacement was Eddie Arcaro, considered by many the greatest...
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Bob Mathias Hurls the Discus in the Decathlon
By: Associated Press
Date: August 6, 1948
Source: Associated Press. Bob Mathias Hurls the Discus in the Decathlon. August 6, 1948. AP/Wide World Photos. Available online at http://www.apwideworld.com (accessed March 25, 2003).
The Summer Olympics resumed in 1948 in London, after being canceled in 1940 and 1944 because of World War II. The focal point of the Olympics was the track and field events, and no event held as much attention and fascination as the decathlon. The decathlon consists of ten events contested over two days: 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400-meter run, 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and 1,500-meter run. In the competition, the athlete's performance is rated against a total score of 10,000 points. The decathlon winner was considered the "world's greatest athlete," given the need for both skill and versatility in excelling in the event.
Bob Mathias was born in 1930 in Tulare, California. At age eleven, Bob developed anemia, a shortage of red blood cells, and was treated by his physician father. In high school, Bob developed into an outstanding athlete, winning all-state honors in basketball, football, and track. In the spring of...
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Veeck—As in Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck
By: Bill Veeck, with Ed Linn
Source: Veeck, Bill, with Ed Linn. Veeck—As in Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1962, 173–175, 178, 179, 180.
About the Author: Bill Veeck (1914–1986) was born in Chicago, Illinois, and, as a young man, worked for the Chicago Cubs. In the early 1940s, Veeck bought the Milwaukee Brewers, then a minor league baseball team. Veeck served in the Marines in World War II, sustaining an injury requiring the amputation of his right leg. Veeck bought the Cleveland Indians in 1946, signed the American League's first African American player the next year, and won the World Series in 1948. After selling the Indians, Veeck bought the St. Louis Browns in 1951, and he sold them two years later. Later, Veeck owned the Chicago White Sox twice—in the late 1950s, winning a pennant, and again in the mid-1970s. He left baseball after selling the White Sox in 1980.
Most baseball owners wore coats and ties, were frugal with a dollar, paid little attention to fans, and treated their employees—specifically the players—in a high-handed fashion. Even so, they jealously protected the "traditions" of the game, and they disliked "mavericks" that...
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Robinson and LaMotta
"In This Corner… !"
By: Peter Heller
Source: Heller, Peter. "In This Corner… !" Forty World Champions Tell Their Stories. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973, 278, 297.
About the Author: Peter Heller (1947–) published In This Corner… Forty World Champions Tell Their Stories, in 1973. His first book, it contained interviews with past boxing champions. Heller's 1989 biography, Bad Intentions: The Mike Tyson Story, was an early profile of the controversial heavyweight champion. A producer for ABC Sports, Heller lives in Putnam County, New York, and Boca Raton, Florida.
Sugar Ray: The Sugar Ray Robinson Story
By: Sugar Ray Robinson, with Dave Anderson
Source: Robinson, Sugar Ray, with Dave Anderson. Sugar Ray: The Sugar Ray Robinson Story. New York: Viking, 1970, 101, 102, 108, 109.
About the Author: Sugar Ray Robinson (1921–1989) was born Walker Smith Jr. in Detroit, Michigan, and he moved to New York City, at twelve, with his mother. Smith won ninety fights as an amateur boxer...
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