The History of Sport 1919 – Most Sport Resumes After World War I. The Chicago Black Sox Baseball Scandal, Jack Dempsey Wins The World Heavyweight Title

Sports events started to resume in the year following the end of World War I although some usually held towards the start of the year weren’t contested.

Competitive football resumes after the end of World War I in the 1919–20 season
The First Division is expanded from 20 to 22 teams; Chelsea are spared relegation, while Arsenal win promotion from the Second Division, despite only finishing fifth in 1915.

The mechanical hare used for greyhound racing is perfected by Owen Smith at Emeryville, California.

Gertrude Ederle (USA) breaks the world 880 yards freestyle record in swimming aged 12 years and 298 days to become the youngest world record breaker in any sport.

In baseball Cincinnati Reds defeats Chicago White Sox to win the 1919 World Series by 5 games to 3.  Even before game one of this World Series, there are rumours that some White Sox players have agreed to throw the series to the Reds for payment from gamblers. This will explode a year later in the Black Sox Scandal.

Babe Ruth hits 29 home runs for the Boston Red Sox, breaking the single season record of 27 set in 1884.

Jack Dempsey becomes World Heavyweight Champion by knocking out Jess Willard, the defending champion, in four rounds.

Jack Britton wins the world welterweight boxing title for the third time.

George Baker wins his fourth successive ABA featherweight title, adding to his three pre-war titles.

The American Professional Football Association is formed.

The first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight is made by Allcock and Brown in a Vickers-Vimy taking 16.5 hours.

Sir Barton is the first horse to win the United States Triple Crown.

Poethlyn wins his second successive Grand National steeplechase.

Elaine Burton is the first woman to wear shorts for athletics which she does at the Northern Counties Ladies Athletics Championships.

The women’s RAF team set a World Best for the 4×110 yards relay at Stamford Bridge.

Melbourne Inman wins his fourth successive world professional billiards championship having won the three preceding the War.

Montreal Canadiens and Seattle Metropolitans win two games each in the 1919 Stanley Cup Finals before the series, held at Seattle, is cancelled after all of the Montreal players contract Spanish flu.

The Australian Men’s Singles Championship is won by Algernon Kingscote (GB) who defeats Eric Pockley (Australia).

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British Sports Hall of Fame 1945: Alf Ellaby, Hughie Gallagher, Peggy Scriven and Hedley Verity

As there was very little sport in the World War II years of 1939 to 1945 I am resuming my Hall of Fame lists for Britain and the World from 1945.

Here are my choices for the British Hall of Fame list for 1945.

Alf Ellaby (Rugby League) – one of the best wingers in the history of British rugby league. He was very fast and a great finisher of tries. Most of his club career from 1923 to 1939 was for St.Helens for whom he scored 31 hat-tricks and topped the league try scoring list three times (in 1927,28 and 30). He played for Wigan for two years. He played for Great Britain thirteen times from 1928 to 1933 including two tours of Australia where he scored 41 tries in 28 games. His total of 446 tries in his playing career remained a world record until 1954.

Hughie Gallagher (Football) – the greatest centre-forward of his era and one of Scotland’s best ever. He scored 387 goals in 545 matches in his club career from 1921 to 1939. In internationals he scored 22 goals in 20 matches including five in one game against Northern Ireland. He was a great header of the ball although he was quite short and also had great ball control. He won the Scottish Cup with Airdrie and the English league with Newcastle in 1927. He was also in the Scottish team who beat England 5-1 in 1928 at Wembley,

Peggy Scriven (Tennis) – winner of the French Open tennis championship twice, in 1933 and 1934.  She was the first British woman to win that tournament and is still the last British woman to have retained a grand Slam singles title.  She was also the first left-handed woman to win a Grand Slam title.  In 1935 she won the women’s doubles at the French Open.  She was more successful there than at Wimbledon where she reached the quarter-finals four times.  She was British covered-court singles champion four times.

Hedley Verity (Cricket) – an outstanding left-arm spinner of the 1930s who took 150 wickets in every county season from 1931 to 1939.  His worst bowling average in any season was 17.63 and his career average of 14.90 (1956 wickets) was the best of any major bowler of the 20th century.  In 1932 he took 10 wickets for 10 runs in a match for Yorkshire against Notts and this is the best innings analysis in the history of first class cricket.  In 1934 at Lord’s for England against Australia he took fourteen wickets in one day, the most in the history of Test cricket.  He played forty times for England taking 144 wickets.

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The Greatest Cross-Country Skiers of All-Time: Bjorn Dæhlie and Marit Bjørgen

Here are some of the relevant statistics showing the records of the leading competitors in cross-country skiing in the major events.

The table is organised mainly by the number of wins in major races such as the world cup which is the first column. This is followed by the number of season-long World Cup titles in Distance World Cup, Sprint World Cup and Overall World Cup titles. Next come the championships with columns for World Championships (WCH) and Olympic Games (OG). This table only shows individual event titles as the numbers are distorted if you include team and relays in favour of those from strong nations. It should also be remembered that the World Cup was only started in 1979 and Sprint and Distance World Cup titles were only awarded from 1997 onwards which gives more titles to modern skiers. I have included in the tables the outstanding skiers from before the world cup showing their titles. There are also more events in the programme in modern times. The sport is more competitive than it used to be which offsets things to some extent. Taking these factors into account means that for me the most important columns in deciding the greatest cross-country skiers are the last three.


Skier Career World Cup       Champs  
    Wins Dist Spr Ov WCH OG
Bjørn Dæhlie 1989-1999 46   2 6 5 6
Petter Northug 2005-active 38 1   2 8 1
Gunde Svan 1983-1991 30     5 5 2
Vladimir Smirnov 1982-1999 30     2 4 1
Martin Johnsrud Sundby 2005-active 30 3   3    
Dario Cologna 2007-active 26 4   4 1 4
Lukáš Bauer 1997-active 18 1   2    
Emil Jönsson 2003-2018 16   3      
Johannes Høsflot Klæbo 2016-active 14   2 1   1
Sixten Jernberg 1952-1964         2 3
Veikko Hakulinen 1952-1963         2 2

Dæhlie is a fairly clear number one with the next two in the table second and third in my eyes though possibly with Svan in second. Fourth and fifth are Smirnov and Cologna with the bottom two names on the list,the champions from the 1950s and 1960s, next in my rankings.



Skier Career World Cup       Champs  
    Wins Dist Spr Ov WCH OG
Marit Bjørgen 1999-active 114 3 5 4 12 5
Justyna Kowalczyk 2001-active 50 4 1 4 2 2
Yelena Välbe 1987-1998 45 1   5 10  
Bente Skari 1992-2003 42   5 4 5 1
Therese Johaug 2007-active 42 3   3 4  
Virpi Kuitunen 1997-2010 27 2 1 2 1  
Petra Majdič 1999-2011 24 3        
Stefania Belmondo 1989-2002 23   1   4 2
Larisa Lazutina 1984-2002 21 2   2 5 2
Kateřina Neumannová 1992-2007 19       2 1
Marjo Matikainen 1984-1989 8     3 2 1
Alevtina Kolchina 1958-1968         5  
Raisa Smetanina 1974-1992       1 1 2
Lyubov Yegorova 1984-2003 13     1 1 4
Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi 1982-1994 11     2 3 1
Galina Kulakova 1968-1980       1 3 2
Manuela Di Centa 1982-1998 15     2   2

Marit Bjørgen is easily the greatest female cross-country skier of all-time with Valbe second even though she didn’t win an Olympic gold. Kowalczyk, Skari and Lazutina are closely matched for third with the skiers from earlier years Kolchina, Matikainen, Kirvesniemi and Kulakova.

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The History of Sport 1915 – 1918: Sport shuts down in many countries during World War I but Huddersfield’s outstanding rugby team sweeps all before them. Ted “Kid” Lewis and Jack Britton’s epic series of boxing title fights. The NHL is founded.

For most years of the Twentieth Century I will post about the events of a single year. However, during the two World Wars most sports had few competitions and so I have combined the main war years into one post.

This one deals with the notable sporting events of the First World War years.

Because of World War I, there is no first-class cricket in South Africa in the 1914–15 season, nor in England in 1915. Australia goes ahead with the 1914–15 Sheffield Shield competition but then suspends first-class cricket until 1919

the World Welterweight Championship changes hands three times in less than three months between June and August. Finally, it comes to Ted “Kid” Lewis, who defeats Jack Britton twice to win and then retain the title, which will interchange between these two over the next four years.

Packey McFarland has his 97th unbeaten fight since 1905 (five were draws).

Jess Willard, the latest “Great White Hope”, defeats Jack Johnson with a 26th-round knockout to win the world Heavyweight title.

Pommern wins the English colts Triple Crown in 1915 to be followed by Gay Crusader in 1917 and by Gainsborough in 1918.

Gordon Lowe of Britain wins the Australian Open singles tennis title.

In English rugby league over 1914-15 Huddersfield becomes the second team to win all four cups in a season. Huddersfield at this time is known as the “Team of all the Talents”.  In the Challenge Cup final they defeat St.Helens 37-3, a record score margin for the final.  The league title is their fourth in a row.
The continuance of World War I after the 1914–15 season causes the suspension of top-class rugby league until 1919.


The inaugural USPGA Championship is held as a matchplay tournament.  England’s Jim Barnes wins.

G Covey regains the world Real Tennis title.

Britain ‘s Lucy Morton sets World Records at swimming at breaststroke and backstroke.

The first snooker championships are held.

Georgia Tech Engineers defeats the Cumberland College Bulldogs by a score of 222–0, the most one-sided game in college American football history.

Jimmy Wilde wins the world flyweight title and holds it for two years.


The NHL is inaugurated and its first season starts.

The first open women’s athletics meeting is held.  It is organised by Femina Sport at the Stade de la Porte Brancion, Paris.

The Federation Sportive Feminine de France is founded (the world’s first women’s national athletics governing body)


Orienteering is invented as a sport by Major Ernst Killander in Sweden.  It is based on military exercises.

Vincent Richards wins the US Open tennis doubles titles aged 15 years and 139 days.

The first women’s national athletics championships are held in Vienna, Austria.

The first women’s athletics in Britain occurs when a WRAF relay team compete in the RAF sports at Stamford Bridge.

The first British judo club, the Westminster Budokwai, is founded by Gunji Zoizumu.

Ted “Kid” Lewis draws with Jack Britton over twenty rounds in another of their world welterweight title fights.  They fought twenty times against each other in their boxing careers.

604 people are killed when stands at the Hong Kong Jockey Club racecourse collapse and catch fire.  This is the worst disaster at a sporting event of modern times.

Joe Malone scores 44 goals in 20 games in the NHL ice-hockey season. This goals average of 2.2 per game remains the highest ever in one season.



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World Sports Hall of Fame 1939: Ivar Ballangrud, Jose Capablanca, Rudolf Caracciola and Jimmy McClarnin

My choices for the World Sports Hall of Fame for 1939 are:

Ivar Ballangrud (Norway – Speed Skating) – winner of four Olympic gold medals and a total of seven medals in total at the Games between 1928 and 1936. He took gold at 5000m in 1928 but peaked in 1936 when winning three golds at distances ranging from the sprint of 500m to the long distances of 5000m and 10000m. He competed at the world championships between 1924 and 1939 and took the overall title four times between 1926 and 1938. He won the world 5000m title seven times and the 1500m and 10000m four times each. He set four world records at 5000m and others at 3000m and 10000m.

Jose Capablanca (Cuba – Chess) – one of the greatest chess players of all-time. He was world champion from 1921 to 1927. In a thirty year career as an adult from 1909 to 1939 he only lost 34 games, the fewest by any world chess champion. After losing the world title in 1927 he wasn’t allowed a rematch to regain the title. He was hugely influential on the development of the game, especially in the tactics of openings.

Rudolf Caracciola (Germany – Motor Racing) – one of the great names in the early years of Grand Prix motor racing.  He won the German Grand Prix a record six times between 1928 and 1939 with five of those wins at the Nurburgring circuit.   He won the European drivers championship, the precursor to the World Championship, three times, in 1935,1937 and 1938. He also set seventeen world speed records and won twenty three other top international races.

Jimmy McClarnin  (Canada – Boxing) – a great boxer who moved up through the weights from flyweight to welterweight over a long career with fifty-four winning fights out of sixty-eight.  He fought for the world lightweight title in 1928 unsuccessfully but won the world welterweight crown in 1933.  He lost that title a year later to Barney Ross but regained it in a rematch before losing the third fight between the two.  By some experts he is regarded as one of the finest welterweights ever.


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The Sports History Chronicle World Sportsman of the Year 2017 is Brent Lakatos – @BrentLak

Some of the most notable performers in 2017 who I considered to be the Sportsman of the Year.

Adam Peaty won two world titles and set two world records at the world swimming championships where Caeleb Dressel the American swimmer won seven golds, three in individual events.

In Para-athletics Britain’s Aled Jones won two golds at the world championships and set an amazing world record in the shot put, adding a metre to the old mark.  Two male athletes won four golds at those championships Walid Ktila of Tunisia and Brent Lakatos of Canada.


Naohisa Takato of Japan had an undefeated year in Judo including the world championships and three other top level events.  Teddy Riner won his tenth world judo title when winning the heavyweight gold at the world champs.

Iran’s Sohrab Moradi who set world records at clean and jerk and overall in winning gold at the world weightlifting championships is also considered.

I have decided to choose a top four of:

Nino Schurter won all nine races he competed in at mountain biking cross-country. This included all six world cup races and the world championships. I believe that the Swiss rider is the first man to achieve this unbeaten record in a year at the top level.

Tomoyuki Matsuda of Japan won three of the four world cup shooting competitions in the 10m air pistol. He set world records at two of those events.

Lasha Talakhadze of Georgia won the world and European weightlifting titles in snatch, clean and jerk, and overall. In both competitions he set world records at snatch and at the worlds set a new total record by 4kg, a large margin.

All three had exceptional years but are runners-up.

My choice as the Sportsman of the Year for 2017 is Brent Lakatos of Canada who had a fantastic season in Para athletics.  Lakatos not only won four gold medals at the world Para Athletics championships but also set world records at 100m, 200m, 800m and 1500m earlier in the year.   This included five records in ten days in Switzerland  in one golden spell of competition.  These records swing it for me and make him my Sportsman of the Year.

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Previous Winners

2016 Martin Fourcade (France – Biathlon) Runners-Up: Ihar Boki (Belarus -Para Swimming), Michael Jung, (Germany – Three Day Event), Wayde Van Niekerk (South Africa -Athletics), Peter Prevc (Slovenia – Ski-Jumping)
2015 Novak Djokovic (Serbia – Tennis): Runners-up Ma Long (China – Table Tennis) , Ihar Boki (Belarus – Para Swimming)
2014 Renaud Lavillenie (France – Athletics): Runners-up Sebastian Brendel (Germany – Canoeing), Giles Scott (England – Sailing)
2013 – Teddy Riner (France-Judo) won a 6th world title and unbeaten since 2010:Runners-Up: Peyton Manning (USA – American Football), Sun Yang (China – Swimming)
2012 – Lionel Messi (Argentina -Football) – 91 goals in the year: Runners up: David Rudisha (Kenya – Athletics), Ilya Ilyin (Kazakhstan – Weightlifting) , Sun Yang (China – Swimming), Sergei Martynov (Belarus – Shooting)

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Sports History Chronicle World Team of the Year 2017 is Zenit Kazan Volleyball Club

My shortlist for the World Team of the Year includes these notable performances.

Rachel Homan skipped her Canadian team to victory in the world curling championships and became the first team to win the title without losing a match in the tournament.  They also won the World Cup.

Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship, losing just one match out of seventeen in the play-offs and fifteen out of 82 in the regular season.

Aidan O’Brien and his stable at Ballydoyle in Ireland set a new world record for the most winners in one season in Group One flat races.

Twin sisters Dina and Arina Averina were the winners of each of the five individual gold medals at the world rhythmic gymnastics championships.  Their Russian team won seven out of the eight golds on offer.

The USA women’s 4×100 m medley relay swimming team took half a second off the world record at the world championships.

My top three teams are:

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir – the Canadian couple won their third world ice dance championships title, set a world record score and were unbeaten during the 2016-17 season.

The Netherlands women’s hockey team came back from the disappointment of defeat in the Olympic final to have a great 2017.  The took gold at the European Championship winning every game.  In the World League semi-finals they won all seven matches, with one going to a shoot-out, conceding only one goal and at the Final won all six of their games scoring eighteen goals and not conceding one.

Zenit Kazan, the Russian volleyball team, had an almost perfect season in 2016-17.  In the Russian Super League they won all 30 matches they played.  In the European Champions League they won twelve matches out of twelve, dropping just two sets, to win their third successive title.  They then went on to win the World Club Championship by winning five matches without losing a set.  The only match they lost was in the group stage of the Russian Cup but they still went on to win the trophy.  This near perfect season makes them my team of the year.

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Zenit Kazan


Previous Winners

2016 The USA Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Runners-Up: China table tennis team, Mercedes F1 team, Olympique Lyonnais Women’s Football Team
2015 Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (New Zealand – 49er Sailing), Runners-up: Mercedes (Formula One), Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina (Russia – Synchronised Swimming)
2014 Italy’s Women Foil Fencing Team: Runners Up Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (NZ – Rowing), Jennifer Jones’s Canadian Curling Team
2013 Vakıfbank İstanbul Women’s Volleyball Team (Turkey)
Runners-Up: Mat Belcher & Will Ryan (Australia – Sailing), Bayern Munich (Germany- Football)
2012 Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (New Zealand – Rowing) – unbeaten for four years and set world best by six seconds
Runners-Up: USA Women’s 4x100m relay team (athletics), THW Kiel (Germany -Handball)

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