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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

    • Rocky Colavito: Super Slugger
      March 30, 2020 | 7:24 pm
      Rocky Colavito

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was just the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to have 11 straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, yet could not sustain that greatness long enough to earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      In some sense, the legend of Rocco “Rocky” Colavito Jr. began long before he ever started pounding home runs at the major league level.

      Born and raised as a New York Yankees fan in The Bronx, Colavito was playing semipro baseball before he was a teenager and dropped out of high school at 16 after his sophomore year to pursue a professional career. The major league rule at the time said a player could not sign with a pro team until his high school class graduated, but after sitting out for one year, Colavito was allowed to sign at age 17.

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