sports history

September 25, 1949

In front of a cheering Municipal Stadium crowd of 33,977 attending the Indians’ final home game of the season, Charley Lupica, after spending 117 days in the air waiting for the Tribe to take first place or be eliminated from the pennant race, climbs down from his flagpole perch, which was recently shifted five miles from his confectionery store to the ball park on a hydraulic lift. The wobbly loyal fan kisses home plate and is rewarded with a new automobile from team owner Bill Veeck, in addition to receiving a 50-foot flagpole as a souvenir.

Using aluminum which had been earmarked for the production of Japanese war planes, Japanese ski manufacturers have been allocated the material to turn out sporting articles, skis and parts riding the slopes instead of the clouds. Looking over the first shipment in Tokyo on Dec. 3, 1947, to go on sale are T/5 Mickey Brownlee, Portland, Oregon, and Miss Kazuko Yamamoto, one of Japan’s leading skiers. Her home is Sakalin in the Kueriles. (AP Photo/Charles Gorry)

Borrowed from here.

Today we reflect on the legacy of Muhammad Ali. Known as “The Greatest,” he gained fame for his boxing skills, charisma, and the controversy he generated outside the ring.

In 1976 the Smithsonian acquired Ali’s boxing gloves and robe, shown here. At the donation ceremony, before a crowd of reporters and cheering spectators, Ali predicted that his Everlast gloves would become “the most famous thing in this building.”

The gloves are currently on display in our  Museum of American History’s “American Stories” exhibition.
The Fastest Girl in the World Is a Badass 17-Year-Old
Candace Hill ran 100 meters last year in 10.98 seconds.

“When Candace Hill ran 100 meters last year in a record-breaking 10.98 seconds, the then 16-year-old high school junior officially became the fastest girl in the world. Now, she’s also the youngest track athlete to ever go pro, and she’s hoping to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team this year.

“I’m still in shock about that label,” Candace says in the March issue of Seventeen, on newsstands now. “The boys are too scared to run against me … They’ll take longer to get ready or ‘forget’ something in the locker room when they know I’ll be at practice with them.”

Read the full piece here

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Mo'Ne Davis Makes Little League World Series History In Three-Hit Shutout

The 13-year-old became the first girl to toss a complete game shutout in a Little League World Series-clinching contest Sunday thanks to a three-hit, six-strikeout effort for the Taney (Pa.) Dragons in an 8-0 victory over Newark (Del.)  At 70 mph, Davis’ pitching arm bested every boy and girl in the opposition. 

Source: Yahoo News

September 8, 1957: Althea Gibson wins U.S. Nationals (U.S Open)

How much tennis history can you take today? The day Serena Williams and Venus Williams square off at the U.S. Open is the day in history that Althea Gibson won the first of her back-to-back U.S. National Championships (the precursor to U.S. Open). Gibson won the title on September 8, 1957.

Althea Gibson (1927-2003), a truant from the rough streets of Harlem and emerged as the unlikely queen of the highly segregated tennis world in the 1950s. She was the first African American to play and win at Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals (precursor of the U.S. Open) — a decade before Arthur Ashe. 

Watch online: Althea from American Masters

January 31, 1919: Jackie Robinson Is Born

On this day in 1919, baseball great and civil rights icon Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia. Robinson smashed records and knocked down major social barriers on his way to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.  

Test your knowledge of Jackie Robinson and his contributions off the field with PBS Black Culture Connection’s Jackie Robinson quiz.

Photo Credit: National Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Cooperstown, NY.