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Sports Then and Now



Remembering Women’s Tennis Legend Pauline Betz Addie 10

Posted on June 11, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Pauline Betz Addie's amateur career ended abruptly in 1947.

Considering how blurred the lines are today between amateur and professional sports, it is difficult to imagine a time when the rules were so strict that athletes were actually banned from competing in amateur competition simply for considering the idea of becoming a professional. Such was the case for tennis legend Pauline Betz Addie, who recently passed away at the age of 91.

As women’s sports rose in prominence and stature during World War II, Betz Addie was the most dominant women’s tennis player in the country.

After having reached the finals the previous year, she won the U.S. National Championship (now the U.S. Open) for the first time in 1942 while still an undergraduate student at Rollins College in Florida.  She went on to appear in the finals every year between 1941 and 1946 and claimed the championship four times.

In 1946 she appeared at Wimbledon for the only time in her career and easily won the title without dropping a set. Later that year, she won the U.S. Nationals for the fourth time and appeared on the cover of Time magazine, which pronounced her the “first lady of tennis.”

However, that would be the last year in which she would be able to compete for the most prestigious titles in tennis.

Until 1968, the four major tennis championships – U.S. National, French, Australian and Wimbledon – were all amateur events with no prize money and professionals were barred from competing. Read the rest of this entry →

Rollins College Women’s Tennis: Small School With A Big Tradition 12

Posted on August 25, 2009 by Dean Hybl
A four-time championat the U.S. Nationals, Pauline Betz-Addie claimed the 1942 title while still attending Rollins College.

A four-time champion at the U.S. Nationals, Pauline Betz-Addie claimed the 1942 title while still attending Rollins College.

Teenage girls patrolling the courts at Grand Slam tennis tournaments is nothing new for the sport of women’s tennis. However, unlike the players of today, some of the stars from the past didn’t just juggle tennis schedules, they also often juggled their college course schedules.

Greats of the game including Doris Hart, Helen Wills Moody, Althea Gibson, Billie Jean King and Helen Hull Jacobs all competed in Grand Slam tournaments while also balancing their academic calendar.

Surprisingly, the college with the grandest tradition as home to women’s tennis greats of the past is a tiny school located just outside of Orlando, Florida.

With less than 2,000 students, Rollins College is a small liberal arts college popular with students from the northeast and known for producing champion water skiers, golfers, tennis players and occasionally even a movie star (most notably Buddy Ebsen and Anthony Perkins).

Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

      Read more »

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