Dodgers was an abbreviation for trolley dodgers. The term developed during the early to mid-twentieth century, when trolley cars were common sights in urban areas such as Brooklyn. To be a trolley dodger meant that you were able to slip through traffic. The players on the field needed the same kind of agility.
The football conference that became the Big Ten, or the Western Conference, was formed in 1896 by the Universities of Chicago, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, along with Northwestern and Purdue universities. Iowa and Indiana joined in 1899 and Ohio State in 1912. The University of Chicago dropped out in 1946 after terminating its football … Read more
Bobby Jones has achieved the feat of winning the grand slam. He did so as an amateur, before the present-day tournament requirements were instituted. He won the British Amateur tournament in Scotland on May 31, 1930. Next, on June 20, 1930, he won the British Open in Holyoke, England, with a four-round total of 291. … Read more
You need two teams with four players each and horses for all of them in a polo game. The aim is to drive a wooden ball down a grass field and between two goalposts.
The first modern Olympics, held in Athens, Greece, in April 1896, featured the following sports: cycling, fencing, gymnastics, shooting, swimming (including diving, synchronized swimming, water polo), track and field, weight lifting, and wrestling.
The Brooklyn Dodgers left Ebbets Field and moved to Los Angeles after the 1957 baseball season.
John L. Sullivan knocked out Jake Kilrain in the 75th round of the U.S. heavyweight championship at Rich-burg, Mississippi, on July 8, 1889. This was the last legal bare-knuckle fight. He claimed to have won the world’s championship with that victory, since Kilrain had previously fought a draw with the English champion. After that fight, … Read more
Sonja Henie (1912-1969) of Norway, who won the gold medal in 1928, 1932, and 1936, won the most number of Olympic gold medals. Between 1927 and 1936, she also won 10 world figure-skating championships.
The fastest downhill speed for skiing to date for a man is 139.03 miles per hour by Michael Pruffer of France. The fastest woman on skis is Tara Mulari of Finland, clocked at 133.234 miles per hour. Both records were set at Les Arcs, France, in 1988.
The game on December 25, 1971, between the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs lasted 82 minutes and 40 seconds. It went into a second period of sudden death before Garo Yepremian kicked a field goal and won the game for the Dolphins, 27-24.
The highest-scoring pro basketball game was a 1983 game in which the Detroit Pistons beat the Denver Nuggets, 186-183.
The National Football League was founded in 1920 in Canton, Ohio. Originally called the American Professional Football Association, it adopted its name in 1922. Athlete Jim Thorpe was its first president. The NFL and the American Football League merged in 1970 to create the new 26-team NFL.
The first Superbowl was held in 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers won, 35-10.
A regulation basketball hoop is 10 feet above the floor.
An official baseball weighs between 5 and 5.25 ounces.
The first pro football player was William (“Pudge”) Heffelfinger. He made his professional debut for the Allegheny Athletic Association on November 12, 1892. He was paid $500 for his performance against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club, in which he led his team to victory, 4-0.
According to 1894 baseball rules, the 4-by-12-inch pitching rubber embedded in the pitcher’s mound lies 60 feet, 6 inches from the front edge of home plate. The pitcher is supposed to place both feet on the rubber at the start of his delivery. Previously, the distance of the mound from home plate had been 50 … Read more
Jack Broughton of Great Britain invented the boxing glove. The English bare-knuckle fighting champion for many years (beginning in 1734), Broughton also wrote the first set of boxing rules.
This phrase texas leaguer for a weak hit falling just over the heads of the infielders may first have been used to describe the hits of Arthur Sunday, a player from Texas. Another version is that the term was coined in Syracuse, New York, in 1886 by a pitcher who lost a game because of … Read more
Usually made of vulcanized rubber, an ice hockey puck is 3 inches in diameter, 1 inch thick, and weighs 5.5 to 6 ounces.
Los Angeles Dodger Al Downing was the pitcher who watched as the ball flew over the left-field fence of Atlanta Stadium on April 8, 1974. Atlanta Brave Henry Louis Aaron had broken the long-standing record for career home runs set by Babe Ruth in the 1930s.
Martina Navratilova was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, on October 18, 1956, as Martina Subertova. When her mother later divorced and remarried, Martina took the name of her stepfather, Miroslav Navratil, adding the traditional feminine ending ova. She moved to the United States in September 1975 during the U.S. Open.
The practice, which takes place before the home team comes to bat, became popular in 1860 because the number seven is considered lucky.
It was not Yogi Berra who said, “The opera ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings”. Former Washington Bullets coach Dick Mona popularized the saying during the 1978 NBA playoffs. However, it was Dan Cook, a television sports announcer and writer for the San Antonio Express-News, who invented it.
The term, the Baltimore chop came into vogue in 1890. It refers to a batted ball that bounces so high that it cannot be fielded successfully before the batter reaches first base. It is said to have been named for two Baltimore players, John McGraw and Willie (“Wee Willie”) Keeler, who often reached base this … Read more
The first group, inducted in the 1936 Baseball Hall of Fame, consisted of Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner. Tyrus Raymond Cobb (1886-1961), “the Georgia Peach,” had played for the Detroit Tigers. Walter Perry Johnson (1887-1946) had pitched for the Washington Senators. Christopher Mathewson (1880-1925) had been a pitcher for … Read more
Neat is a now obsolete term for cattle. Neat’s-foot oil is the oil extracted from the hooves and slim bones of oxen or cattle. In olden days, the oil was also used as medicine and as shoe polish.
There are six ways a batter can reach first base without hitting the ball. A walk; being hit by a pitch; a dropped third strike; catcher’s interference; a pitched or thrown ball intended to catch a runner that “goes into a stand or a bench, or over or through a field fence or backstop” (rule … Read more
The Boston Red Sox beat the Pittsburgh Pirates five games to three in what was then a best-of-nine series, October 1 to 13, 1903. This was the first win of the World Series in baseball.
Muhammad Ali defended the heavyweight boxing title 19 times-5 times in 1966 alone, 4 in 1976. But Ali doesn’t hold a candle to Joe Louis, who defended his title 25 times, with 7 fights in 1941.
The first world heavyweight boxing championship using gloves and the Queensberry rules took place in New Orleans. It was held on September 7, 1892, between James J. Corbett and John L. Sullivan. Corbett knocked out Sullivan in the 21st round.
Jack Johnson was the first black man to become heavyweight champion on December 26, 1908. He remained the champion until April 5, 1915, when Jess Willard defeated him in Havana, Cuba.
Ty Cobb stole home 46 times during his 22-year career with the Detroit Tigers and holds the record for stealing home.
Jack Nicklaus’s first major golf tournament win was the 1962 U.S. Open, where he beat the popular champion Arnold Palmer. It was Nicklaus’s second year as a pro. He went on to win 71 tour victories and 20 major championships over the next two decades.
Chris Evert popularized the two-fisted backhand, which she began using out of necessity when she was six years old. Beginning her professional career in 1972, Evert has won close to 150 women’s singles titles and more than 1,000 career matches.
A baseball game running eight hours and six minutes was played by the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers on May 9, 1984. It was the longest baseball game recorded. The White Sox won, 7-6.
The New York Giants moved to San Francisco for the start of the 1958 season. The final game of the New York Giants at New York’s Polo Grounds was played against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
A golf hole is 4.25 inches in diameter and at least 4 inches deep.
The official PGA record for the longest golf drive is 406 yards by Jack L. Hamm on July 12, 1986.
Jack Dempsey was punched through the ropes by a first-round right from Luis Firpo on September 4, 1923, at the Polo Grounds in New York City. The punch did not end the fight: Dempsey came back to win by a knockout in the second round.
Although Wilt Chamberlain was not the first seven-foot-tall basketball player, he was the first to dispel the then common notion that big, tall men were awkward players. At 7 feet, 1 inch and 275 pounds, he signed with the Philadelphia Warriors on May 30, 1959. He scored 43 points and got 28 rebounds in his … Read more
Secretariat the horse raced for only 16 months in 1972 and 1973. In that time the chestnut stallion became the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown, set record times in the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, and won 16 of his 31 races. He was retired to stud in November … Read more
From 1925 to 1939, the Yankee first baseman appeared in 2,130 consecutive baseball games, an unmatched record.
The first man to win the tennis grand slam in the same calendar year was J. Donald (Don) Budge (b. 1915) in 1938.
Dave Forbes of the Boston Bruins hockey team was indicted for a crime committed during a match. He was alleged to have used aggressive force on an opponent. On July 18, 1975, his trial for criminal assault ended in a hung jury.
The first woman to cross the English Channel, Gertrude Ederle, clocked in at 14 hours, 39 minutes on August 5, 1926. In doing so, she broke the existing men’s record.
The first baseball game was on June 19, 1846, at Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey, the New York Club beat the Knickerbockers, 23-1. On that date, another baseball tradition began: The New York Club pitcher, James Whyte Davis, was fined 6 cents for swearing at the umpire.
More lethal than any soccer riot was the collapse of the grandstands of the Hong Kong Jockey Club on February 26, 1916. In all, 606 racetrack spectators died; hundreds more were injured, making it the worst sports disaster in history.
The first All-Star baseball game was played on July 6, 1933, in Comiskey Park, Chicago, home of the White Sox. The American League won, 4-2.
The first known gladiatorial contest took place in Rome in 264 B.C. It featured three pairs of armed fighters. Later contests featured hundreds or even thousands of pairs of duelists.
It isn’t certain. Constantine abolished the gladiator shows in A.D. 325, but they persisted. Honorius abolished them again in the fifth century, but even then they may have continued.
Eddie (“Banana Nose”) Arcaro won the Triple Crown twice, in 1941 on Whirlaway and in 1948 on Citation.
The 500-mile race in Indianapolis was first held on May 30, 1911, when Ray Harroun won in 6 hours, 42 minutes, 8 seconds. His average speed was 74.59 miles per hour.
Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings, who scored 801 goals in his 25-year career, from 1946 to 1971 has the lifetime record for scoring goals.
The Navy won the first Army–Navy football game, 24-0. The game was played at West Point, New York, on November 29, 1890.
The first baseball game played at night was at Crosley Field in Cincinnati on May 24, 1935. It was a game between the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies. The Reds beat the Phillies, 2-1.
The frontier sport of gouging, imported from England, flourished in the Ohio River Valley around 1800. The object was to gouge out the opponent’s eye with a thumbnail. To compete effectively, you would have needed to let your thumbnail grow extra-long.
The first publicly televised sporting event was a Japanese baseball game, broadcast on September 27, 1931. The Ushigome and Awazi Shichiku Higher Elementary Schools battled it out on the Tozuka Baseball Ground, watched by viewers on 8-by-5-inch screens.
It took David Kunst a little over four years, from June 10, 1970, to October 5, 1974, to walk around the world. One other man, George Schilling, claimed in an unconfirmed report to have accomplished the feat between June 1897 and June 1904.