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Sports Then and Now



Queens of the Court: The Brief, But Dominant Career of Little Mo 4

Posted on November 04, 2009 by JA Allen
Maureen Connolly won nine of the 11 Grand Slam tournaments in which she competed.

Maureen Connolly won nine of the 11 Grand Slam tournaments in which she competed.

“There is nothing like competition. It teaches you early in life to win and lose, and, when you lose, to put your chin out instead of dropping it.”

Maureen Connolly

Although her career spanned just a little over four years, Maureen Connolly’s reign at the top of women’s tennis was one of the game’s most dominant.

Like many little girls growing up in America, Maureen Catherine (“Little Mo”) Connolly loved horses. She wanted a horse of her own and she wanted to learn how to ride. But family circumstances prevented Mo’s mother from being able to afford to give her little girl riding lessons.

Instead, her mother bought her the tennis racket she desired and enrolled her in lessons. Because of that, Maureen Connolly became a tennis player—perhaps the greatest tennis player her sport has ever known.

Growing up in California aided her development, as, in San Diego, weather was hardly ever an issue. At the tender age of 10, she learned to play on the municipal courts of the City of San Diego, where her first coach, Wilbur Folsom, encouraged the young Connolly to switch from a left-handed grip to a right. Connolly was a natural left-hander.

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Helen Wills Moody 3

Posted on August 23, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Helen Wills Moody

Helen Wills Moody

Few women’s tennis players have enjoyed greater success in Grand Slam championships than this week’s Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Week.

Between 1923 and 1938, Helen Wills Moody was victorious in 19 of the 24 major tournaments in which she participated. Except for two defaults due to an appendectomy in 1926, she reached the finals of every Grand Slam tournament in which she participated.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Al Bumbry: From Bronze Star to AL Rookie of the Year
      May 31, 2021 | 2:21 pm

      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.

      Read more »

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