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Sports Then and Now


Archive for the ‘Vintage Athletes’


Evonne Goolagong Cawley: Tennis Mom 0

Posted on July 11, 2021 by Dean Hybl
Evonne Goolagong Cawley

Fifty years before Ashleigh Barty claimed her first Wimbledon Championship, another Australian woman claimed the Wimbledon Women’s Singles title on her way to a Hall of Fame career.

The path to tennis greatness was a unique one for Evonne Goolagong Cawley. The daughter of an itinerant sheep shearer, Goolagong Cawley was the third of eight children in an Australian Aboriginal family. Though Aboriginal people faced significant discrimination during that era, Goolagong Cawley was able to play tennis from a young age due to the generosity and support of numerous people within Australia.

She emerged on the international tennis stage as a 19-year-old in 1971 as she reached the finals of the Australian Open and then won the French Open and Wimbledon titles. She remains the only person to win the French Open women’s title in her first time playing in the tournament.

In 1972, she reached the finals of the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, but did not claim any of the titles. She also played the U.S. Open for the first time in 1972 and reached the third round.

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Al Bumbry: From Bronze Star to AL Rookie of the Year 0

Posted on May 31, 2021 by Dean Hybl

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month won a Bronze Star in Vietnam before going on to win American League Rookie of the Year honors and playing 14 seasons in the Major Leagues.

Though only 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, Al Bumbry was a four-year basketball player at Virginia State College (now University). The school restarted its baseball program during his career and Bumbry hit .578 during his senior season to earn notice from the Baltimore Orioles, who picked him in the 11th round of the MLB Draft.

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Luis “El Tiante” Tiant 1

Posted on April 06, 2021 by Dean Hybl
Luis Tiant

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the ace of the Boston Red Sox staff when they reached the 1975 World Series and is considered by many to be someone worthy of induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Luis Tiant, known as “El Tiante”, spent 19 years in the majors between 1964 and 1982.

Though he was 75-64 with a 2.84 ERA in six seasons with the Cleveland Indians and then helped the Minnesota Twins reach the playoffs in 1970, it appeared that Tiant’s career might be over following the 1970 season.

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Stan Mikita: Scooter Line Center 0

Posted on February 07, 2021 by Dean Hybl
Stan Mikita

As the 2021 hockey season heats up, we recognize as the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month one of the all-time greats in Chicago Black Hawks history.

Spending his entire 22-year career with the Chicago Black Hawks, Stan Mikita was one of the best centers of his generation.

Mikita joined the Black Hawks for the 1959-60 season and by the following season was a key player on a squad destined to win the Stanley Cup. He scored a team-high six goals during the playoffs as Chicago won their most recent cup championship.

He became a star as center of the famed “Scooter Line“, (with right wing Ken Wharram and left wingers Ab McDonald and Doug Mohns).

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Matt Snell: Super Bowl Hero 0

Posted on December 24, 2020 by Dean Hybl
Matt Snell

The Vintage Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month was the key weapon behind the most important upset in pro football history.

While Joe Namath was the face of the 1968 New York Jets and Super Bowl III, Matt Snell was the backbone of the New York offense and primary weapon during the shocking victory.

In many ways, the foundation for the 1968 championship squad started to be built in the 1964 AFL Draft when the Jets selected Snell, a star at Ohio State, with the third pick in the first round. Occurring at the height of the AFL-NFL player war, Snell was also drafted by the New York Giants in the 4th round of the NFL Draft (49th overall pick).

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Stan Jones – Weight Training Trailblazer 0

Posted on October 11, 2020 by Dean Hybl
Stan Jones

The Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month was one of the great linemen of his era and is considered a trailblazer for using weight training and conditioning to develop his skills.

After a standout career at the University of Maryland, Stan Jones spent nine seasons as an offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, making seven Pro Bowl appearances and earning first team All-Pro three times.

In 1962, assistant coach George Allen suggested Jones move to defense to help solidify that unit for the Bears. He played both ways in 1962 and then in 1963 moved permanently to the defense.

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