British Sports Hall of Fame 1949: Raich Carter, Carl Erhardt, Patsy Hendren and Megan Taylor

My choices for the British Sports Hall of Fame for 1949 are:

 

Raich Carter (Football) – One of the best forwards in Britain of the 1930s and 1940s.  His career spanned both sides of World War Two and his international appearances between 1934 and 1947 made him the longest serving of any England international inside right.  The War restricted the number of official caps but in wartime  unofficial internationals he scored eighteen goals in seventeen appearances.  He  was a success at club level as captain of the Sunderland team that won the league in 1936 and the FA Cup in 1937.  After the War he won the FA Cup again in 1946 with Derby and in 1949 won the Third Division North as player manager of Hull City.

Carl Erhardt (Ice Hockey) – the captain of the Great Britain team that won the gold medal at the 1936 Olympics.  He was 39 years of age at the time which made him the oldest man to win an Olympic gold in Ice hockey.  He became the coach of the team at the 1948 Games.

Patsy Hendren (Cricket) – the third highest run scored in the history of first class cricket with 57,611 at an average of 50.80 between 1907 and 1938.  He played 51 tests for England between 1920 and 1935 scoring 3525 runs at 47.63.  He scored over 2000 runs in fifteen seasons and 3000 runs three times.  Perhaps his finest hour was on the tour of the West Indies in 1930 when he averaged over 115 in Tests and 135 overall.  He was also a brilliant fielder in the deep.

Megan Taylor (Figure skating) – winner of the world title in 1938 and 1939 and placed second in 1934, 1936 and 1937.  She missed the 1935 worlds and 1936 Olympics through injury.  Her international appearances began in 1932 aged eleven when she competed in the Olympics after winning the British title at her first attempt.  She is the second youngest Briton ever go to the Winter Olympics where she came seventh.  She turned professional in 1939.

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The Greatest Decathletes and Heptathletes Of All-Time

My latest look at different athletics events and their finest ever exponents turns to the multi-events.

I have listed a number of the best athletes in roughly chronological order with a table showing their achievements.

The key to the table

OG – Olympic golds
WC – World Titles
CC – Continental Titles (European/ Pan Am Games etc)
WR – Number of World Records (and how long they stood in years)
WL – years ranked world number 1 and the first year that was
Name OG WC CC WR WL Year
Harold Osborn (US) 1 3 1923
Paavo Yrjola (Fin) 1 3 (4) 3 1926
Bob Matthias (US) 2 2 (5) 3 1948
Rafer Johnson (US) 1 1 3 (7) 3 1955
Bill Toomey (US) 1 1 1 (3) 3 1966
Bruce Jenner (US) 1 1 3 (5) 3 1974
Daley Thompson (GB) 2 1 2 4 (9) 5 1980
Jurgen Hingsen (FRG) 3 (2) 1981
Dan O’Brien (US) 1 3 1 (7) 6 1991
Tomas Dvorak (CZ) 3 1 (2) 4 1997
Roman Sebrle (Cz) 1 1 2 1 (11) 3 2002
Bryan Clay (US) 1 1 3 2005
Trey Hardee (US) 2 3 2009
Ashton Eaton (US) 2 2 2 (6) 4 2012

As always the athletes from earlier years didn’t have world championships to enter so my favoured measure to compare eras is by looking at the number of years ranked first, bearing in mind that things have generally become stronger in depth since the early days of the events.

This puts Dan O’Brien first ahead of Daley Thompson and this seems to me a fairly accurate reflection of the top two ever as they both cover all the bases with their feats.  He wasn’t really pushed in the championships because he was so much better than his rivals whereas Daley was great at rising to the big occasion to beat other world record holders in championships.

The event is a hard one to dominate because the training is demanding and athletes can’t sustain their levels for years.  This makes it hard to choose between the raft of athletes at a similar level in my list.

I would put Eaton third but after that it is very hard to separate them.  With not much confidence if pushed I would go in order from fourth to tenth

Dvorak, Sebrle, Jenner, Matthias, Johnson, Yrjola, Toomeylan

The women’s equivalent event is the heptathlon and below is the table for the leading female multi eventers.

Note that the event was the pentathlon until 1980.

Name OG WC CC WR WL Year
Galina Bystrova (URS) 2 2 (2) 2 1957
Irina Press (URS) 1 6 (10) 7 1959
Heide Rosendahl (FRG) 1 2 1968
Burglinde Pollak (GDR) 3 (6) 3 1970
Nadezhda Tkachenko (URS) 1 (3) 4 1974
Ramona Neubert (GDR) 1 1 4 (3) 3 1981
Jackie Joyner-Kersee (US) 2 2 4 (33) 6 1986
Sabine Braun (Ger) 1 2 3 1991
Carolina Kluft (Swe) 1 3 2 6 2002
Jessica Ennis-Hill (GB) 1 3 1 4 2009
Nafi Thiam (Bel) 1 1 1 3 2016

For the heptathlon things are quite clear cut for one and two.  Joyner-Kersee was the dominant figure for the best part of a decade and set marks that haven’t been approached.  Kluft is the only woman in the modern era to dominate as clearly and it would have been interesting to see how high she could have scored had she stuck at the event.

After her it becomes more complicated.  Press was the number one in the world more times than anyone but that was when the event wasn’t as widely competed in as it wasn’t an Olympic discipline when Press won.  It was held at the European championships but Press never competed in those which makes things tricky to assess.  I think that the length of time she was top are enough to place third overall.

Jessica Ennis-Hill comes next but the choice for fifth is close.  Braun’s longevity and having to face JJK for much of her career puts her next.  Tkachenko was a good championship performer but did fail a drugs test which puts a slight question mark over her.  Thiam is the latsest outstanding heptathlete but as yet only ranks sixth  with me.  As a relatively recent event I will only rank the top eight and my final choice is Bystrova over Pollak who was a frequent medallist but never won gold.

 

 

 

 

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The History of Sport 1927: Babe Ruth hits sixty home runs for the all conquering Yankees, the first Ryder Cup, Greyhound Derby, Champion Hurdle and World table tennis championship, the ‘Long Count’ heavyweight title fight.

 

Some of the main events in sport in 1927

In football Cardiff City 1–0 Arsenal in the final of the FA Cup.  This victory remains the only time the competition has been won by a club outside England.

New York Yankees defeats Pittsburgh Pirates to win the 1927 World Series by 4 games to 0.  In Baseball Babe Ruth hits 60 home runs, setting a major league record.The Yankees won a then-league record 110 games  and are considered by many to be the greatest team in the history of baseball.

In one of the most famous fights in boxing history, Gene Tunney successfully defends his World Heavyweight Championship in a return bout with Jack Dempsey at Soldier Field, Chicago. Tunney wins in 10 rounds but the fight is remembered as The Battle Of The Long Count after Tunney was knocked down for 13 seconds in the 7th round, the count being delayed because Dempsey did not retire to a neutral corner.

In horse racing Bobby Lewis rides his fourth Melbourne Cup winner.
The inaugural Champion Hurdle is run and won by Blaris.

The first women’s National Cross country championships is held.

Muriel Gunn of Great Britain sets a world long jump record of 18 feet 3 1/2 inches.

Oldham appear in their fourth successive Rugby League Challenge Cup final.

A small diameter track for speedway is opened at Droylsden, Manchester.  The first meeting  in Britain is held at Camberley Heath.

The first cross Channel swim by an English woman is made by Mercedes Gleitze in fifteen hours fifteen minutes.

Johnny Weissmuller sets world swimming records.

The Harlem Globetrotters play their first basketball game.

Tom Newman wins his sixth world professional billiards title.

Britain win the world four man bobsleigh title.

Les Ames makes a record 127 dismissals as wicketkeeper in the English cricket season.

The first world cycling road race championship is won by Alfredo Binda of Italy.

The first world table tennis championships are held.  Hungary win the Swaythling Cup for the champion team.

Wentworth Gore makes his 36th appearance at Wimbledon since 1888.

Starting blocks for athletes are patented by George Bresnahan in the US.

The first BBC commentary is made by Captain Wakeham on the England v Wales rugby match at Twickenham.  He also does the first football commentary on Arsenal v Sheffield United at Highbury.

The first Mille Miglia motor race is won by Minoia and Mirandi.

Inaugural World Snooker Championship is won by Joe Davis who defeats Tom Dennis 20–11

Rugby Fives Association founded at the home of Dr.Edgar Cyriax, Welbeck Street, London.

Walter Hagen wins his fourth successive US PGA golf title and his fifth in total.

The Ryder Cup is instituted between the USA and Great Britain at golf.  USA win by 9 1/2 to 2 1/2.

The greyhound Derby is instituted.

 

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World Sports Hall of Fame 1948: Henry Armstrong, Dhyan Chand, Don Hutson and Tazio Nuvolari

My choices for the World Sports Hall of Fame for 1948 are

Henry Armstrong (USA – Boxing): – the first boxer to hold three world titles simultaneously. He won the world flyweight title in 1937 and the next year added the welterweight and lightweight crowns. He held these until 1940 when he lost the welterweight title and a rematch. He briefly retired but resumed his career and fought until 1945, eventually finishing with a record of 22 wins from his 26 world title fights and 152 wins in total.

Dhyan Chand( India – Hockey): widely regarded as the greatest hockey player of all time. He won three Olympic gold medals in the all conquering Indian team. These came in 1928, 1932 and 1936 culminating in a six goal haul in the 1936 Final which India won 8-1. He was still prolific in the post-war years but declined selection for the 1948 Games. He played as a centre forward but was more than a goal scorer with brilliant ball control and skills also creating numerous goals for the team.,

Don Hutson (USA – American Football): The first great wide receiver in the sport.  He caught  a record one hundred touchdown passes in a career that lasted from  1935 to 1945 with the Green Bay Packers.  His totals of 488 receptions for 7991 yards were also records for the NFL which all remained unsurpassed until the 1980s.  He led the league in eight years of his eleven.  His speed was a great asset in making him one of the finest players ever.

Tazio Nuvolari (Italy – Motor Racing): one of the greatest names in the sport in the years before World War Two.  There wasn’t an official championship but Grand Prix races were held and he won many throughout the 1930s.  He was a great sports car driver as well, winning Le Mans in 1933 and the Mille Miglia in 1930 and 1933.  He started as a motorcyclist in the 1920s and was Italian champion at 500cc. He continued his career after the war with a final notable performance when second in the 1947 Mille Miglia.

 

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Most Wins in the Major British and Irish National Hunt (Hurdles and Steeplechases) Horse Races

Here is a list of the most important races in the National Hunt season and the most successful horses in them. The top part lists races that are Grade One (highest standard) where weights are generally equal for all. The ‘Other Races’ are handicaps where weights are different to level the standard.

The most prestigious championship races at the Cheltenham Festival are in bold type.

The record for most consecutive wins in any national hunt races was broken by Altior who won his nineteenth successive race in April 2019.  The previous record was set by Big Buck’s in 2012.

 

GRADE ONE RACES

Race Name Racecourse Distance Most Wins Horse Name and Years
Betfair Chase Haydock 3m 1½f 4 Kauto Star 2006,07,09,11
Fighting Fifth Hurdle Newcastle 2m 3 Comedy of Errors 1972/1973/1974
3 Birds Nest 1976/77/79
Tingle Creek Chase Sandown 2m 3 Flagship Uber Alles 1999/2000/01
Long Walk Hurdle Ascot 3m 1f 4 Baracouda 2000/01/03/04
Christmas Hurdle Kempton 2m 2 7 different horses
King George VI Chase Kempton 3m 5 Kauto Star 2006-09/2011
4 Desert Orchid 1986/88/89/90
3 Wayward Lad 1982/83/85
Clarence House Chase Ascot 2m 1f 3 Un de Sceaux 2016/17/18
Champion Hurdle Cheltenham 2m ½f 3 Hatton’s Grace – 1949, 1950, 1951
Sir Ken – 1952, 1953, 1954
Persian War – 1968, 1969, 1970
See You Then – 1985, 1986, 1987
Istabraq – 1998, 1999, 200
Queen Mother Champion Chase Cheltenham 2m 3 Badsworth Boy 1983/84/85
Mares Hurdle Cheltenham 2m 4f 6 Quevega 2009-14
Ryanair Chase Cheltenham 2m 5f 2 Albertas Run 2010/11
Stayers’ Hurdle Cheltenham 3m 4 Big Buck’s 2009/10/11/12
Cheltenham Gold Cup Cheltenham 3m 2½f 5 Golden Miller 1932-1936
3 Cottage Rake 1948-1950
3 Arkle 1964-1966
3 Best Mate 2002-2004
Aintree Hurdle Aintree 2m 4f 4 Morley Street 1990-1993
Celebration Chase Sandown 2m 3 Altior – 2017, 2018,2019
OTHER NOTABLE RACES
Bet Victor Gold Cup Cheltenham 2m 4½f 2 Fortria – 1960, 1962
Gay Trip – 1969, 1971
Half Free – 1984, 1985
Bradbury Star – 1993, 1994
Cyfor Malta – 1998, 2002
Ladbrokes Trophy (Hennessy Cup) Newbury 3m 2½f 2 Mandarin – 1957, 1961
Arkle – 1964, 1965
Denman – 2007
Welsh Grand National Chepstow 3m 5½f 2 Limonali 1959/61
Bonanza Boy 1988/89
Grand National Aintree 4m 4f 3 Red Rum 1973/74/77
Scottish Grand National Ayr 4m 3 Couvrefeu II – 1911, 1912, 1913
Southern Hero – 1934, 1936, 1939
Queen’s Taste – 1953, 1954, 1956
Irish Grand National Fairyhouse 3m 5f 3 Brown Lad 1975/76/78
Bet 365 Gold Cup Sandown 3m 5½f 2 Larbawn – 1968, 1969
Diamond Edge – 1979, 1981
Topsham Bay – 1992, 1993
Ad Hoc – 2001, 2003
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The History of Sport 1926: Gertrude Ederle is the first woman to swim the Channel, the first British Grand Prix, Molla Mallory’s eighth US Open, Bobby Jones makes golf history, Huddersfield’s hat-trick of league titles.

 

 

 

Some of the notable events in sport in 1926:

Huddersfield Town are the first team to win the English Football League championship title three times in succession.

The Second Women’s World Games for athletics are held in Gothenburg. The UK wins most gold medals and set world records in the heats and final of the 4×110 yards.

British athletes Phyllis Green (high jump) and Muriel Gunn (long jump) set world records in other competitions.

In baseball Mule Suttles of the St. Louis Stars hits a Negro League record 27 home runs. His .498 batting average and 21 triples are also records.

Babe Ruth hits three home runs in the world series.

J.Earlham wins the first world amateur billiards title.

A crowd of 120,757 sees Gene Tunney defeat Jack Dempsey over 10 rounds in Philadelphia to win the World Heavyweight boxing Championship

Tiger Flowers twice defeats Harry Greb for the World Middleweight Championship but then loses it to former World Welterweight Champion Mickey Walker who holds it until 1931

The first artificial ski slope is installed at the London ski school.

India, New Zealand and West Indies are elected as Full Members of the Imperial Cricket Conference, increasing the number of nations playing Test cricket from three to six

Victoria score 1,107 against New South Wales at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in December 1926 – still the largest innings total in first-class cricket.

Bobby Jones becomes the first golfer to win the British and US Open titles in the same year.

Charlotte Leitch wins her fourth British women’s golf title.

Sandy Herd, aged 58, wins the News of the World golf championship.

The first British greyhound race behind a mechanical hare is held at Belle Vue, Manchester.

The British Marbles Board of Control is formed at the Greyhound Hotel, Crawley.

The British Grand Prix is first held (as the RAC Grand Prix) at Brooklands over 110 laps and 287 miles.

The All-England Women’s Netball Assocation is formed.

In rowing the Thames Head of the River race is first held. Jack Beresford wins his seventh successive Wingfield Sculls.

The first Middlesex Sevens rugby union tournament is won by Harlequins.

American Gertrude Ederle is the first woman to swim the English Channel, taking 14 hours 39 minutes.

The International Table Tennis Federation is founded.

Molla Mallory wins a record eighth US Open singles title in tennis, coming back from 4-0 down in the third set in the final.

The first professional tennis players are Suzanne Lenglen, Vincent Richards, Mary K.Browne and Howard Kinsey.

Kitty Godfree wins the Wimbledon singles title for the second time and adds the mixed doubles title.

The USA win their seventh successive Davis Cup.

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British Sports Hall of Fame 1948: Wally Hammond, Peter Kane, Ralph Nichols and Dorothy Round

My choices for the British Sports Hall of Fame1948 are:

Wally Hammond (Cricket) – one of the greatest batsmen of all time. He broke the record for the most total runs in Test cricket when surpassing the 5410 of Jack Hobbs. He went on to be the first man to 6000 and 7000 runs, eventually retiring in 1947 with 7249 runs in a twenty year Test career. He scored 336 of those in one innings in 1933 to set another record. He was top of the English first class averages for eight successive seasons from 1933, a feat that has never been equalled. He exceeded 2000 runs twelve times and 3000 three times. He scored 36 double centuries, the second highest number ever. A more than useful bowler , he was one of the finest slip fielders ever seen. In 1928 he caught a record 78 in the season including ten in one match.

Peter Kane (Boxing) – a devastating puncher who won 98 of his 109 fights,. losing only three. He won 23 of his first 27 contests by KO and earned a world title fight in 1937 with Benny Lynch, a fellow Scot, for the flyweight crown. and Kane lost that fight but drew a rematch in a non-title fight. He took the title the next year from  American Jackie Jurich before moving up to bantamweight for most fights. He remained flyweight champion until 1943 and European bantamweight champion from 1947 to 1948.

Ralph Nichols (Badminton) – the leading British player of the 1930s.  He won the All-Engand singles title five times, in 1932, 1934 and from 1936-8.  From 1936 to1938 he also won the doubles with his brother.   He won the mixed Doubles in 1939.  From 1930 he won a record 36 England caps.

Dorothy Round (Tennis) – the best British female player of the 1930s.  She won the Wimbledon singles title in 1934 and 1937, also taking the Mixed Doubles crown each year from 1934 to 1936.  The latter two were won with Fred Perry.  In 1935 she became the first overseas player to win the Australian open women’s singles title.  She had an excellent forehand and drop-shot.

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