The 1910s Sports: Topics in the News
The 1910s Sports: Topics in the NewsAUTO RACING: THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
BASEBALL'S TUMULTUOUS DECADE
WORLD SERIES THRILLS
BASKETBALL ENDURES GROWING PAINS
BOXING'S CONTROVERSIAL CHAMP
THE BRUTAL GAME OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL
THE UNSTABLE GAME OF PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL
GOLF'S GROWING POPULARITY
THE GLORIOUS OLYMPIC GAMES
AUTO RACING: THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
The first Indianapolis 500 auto race was held on Memorial Day, 1911, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Back then, the race was known as the International Sweepstakes; as today, it consisted of 200 laps around the speedway's two-and-one-half-mile, oval-shaped track.
That first year, Ray Harroun (1879–1968) was the victor. His car, a yellow and black six-cylinder Marmon, averaged what then was an incredible speed: 74.602 miles per hour. For his victory, Harroun won a $10,000 prize. (By the 1990s, drivers regularly topped more than 200 miles per hour and emerged with million-dollar purses.) His car reportedly was the initial single-seat racecar, and the first to be equipped with a rearview mirror.
Early on, the Indy 500 featured thrilling finishes. A typical one occurred in 1915. For much of the race, Ralph DePalma (1883–1956) and Dario Resta (1882 or 1884–1924) jockeyed for the lead. DePalma's Mercedes gave way on lap 197, but he was able to crawl around the track on the car's three remaining operable cylinders and still finish less than four minutes ahead of Resta. (Three years earlier, DePalma was not as fortunate. He led from lap 3 to 198, at which point his Mercedes sputtered and died. He and his mechanic pushed the car over a mile to the pits, but by then the race was over.)
The 1916 race was shortened to 300 miles because of the war in Europe. It had the smallest field of contestants and the fewest spectators of any Indy 500. This time, Resta dominated and won. After a two-year hiatus caused by the war, the race resumed in 1919. For the first time, qualifying speeds broke 100 miles per hour. The winner, Howard "Howdy" Wilcox (c. 1889–1923), cruised to victory, averaging just over 88 miles per hour. However, most of the cars in the race either crashed or broke down. The race also saw its first fatalities, as three were killed and two were seriously injured.
Although he won just once at Indianapolis during the 1910s, Ralph DePalma was considered the era's top driver. In the seven Indy 500s in which he competed, he led for 613 out of 1,400 laps. At the end of the decade, he held the world land-speed record of 149 miles per hour.
BASEBALL'S TUMULTUOUS DECADE
In baseball, the 1910s was a decade of milestones and classic major league contests, a challenge from an upstart league, and a dark, looming scandal. The year 1910 itself was full of milestones: William Howard Taft (1857–1930) became the first U.S. president to throw out the first ball at an opening-day game. Pitcher Cy Young (1867–1955) earned his five-hundredth major league victory. In one memorable early August contest, Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox pitchers Jack Coombs (1882–1957) and Ed Walsh (1881–1959) battled each other for sixteen innings, with the game ending in a 0 to 0 tie. Several days later, a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Brooklyn Superbas (Dodgers) featured the most unusual box score in major league history. Each team had eight runs and thirteen hits in thirty-eight at-bats, three walks, five strike-outs, one hit-batsman, one passed ball, thirteen assists, and two errors. (One other regular-season game that rivaled these two came in May 1917, when Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds hurlers Hippo Vaughn [1888–1966] and Fred Toney [1888–1953] each pitched nine-inning no-hitters!) Finally, Ty Cobb (1886–1961) nipped Napoleon Lajoie (1874–1959) for the American League batting championship; their averages were .3850687 and .3840947.
Indianapolis 500 Winners
|1919||Howard "Howdy" Wilcox|
The American and National Leagues were firmly entrenched as the nation's leading baseball organizations. However, in 1913, the Federal League was formed. It was well funded and organized, and it commenced play in May. The league also began raiding the majors for players. That November, St. Louis Browns player-manager George Stovall (1878–1951) became the first major leaguer to jump to the Federal League. Many established players were offered contracts, and a few even signed with the upstart league. After two years of friction and lawsuits, however, the Federal League folded.
Not all threats to the game were external. In May 1912, fiery Ty Cobb (1886–1961) charged into the stands and attacked a heckler. A fight between fans and Cobb's Detroit teammates followed, and American League President Ban Johnson (1864–1931) suspended Cobb indefinitely. In response, the players went on strike. In order to avoid a $5,000 fine for failing to field a team, Tigers owner Frank Navin (1871–1935) recruited local amateurs for the team's next game, which the Tigers lost to the Philadelphia Athletics, 24 to 2. Two days later, the real Tigers resumed play.
World Series Champions
|Year||Winning Team (League)||Losing Team (League)|
|1910||Philadelphia Athletics (AL) 4||Chicago Cubs (NL) 1|
|1911||Philadelphia Athletics (AL) 4||New York Giants (NL) 2|
|1912||Boston Red Sox (AL) 4||New York Giants (NL) 3|
|1913||Philadelphia Athletics (AL) 4||New York Giants (NL) 1|
|1914||Boston Braves (NL) 4||Philadelphia Athletics (AL) 0|
|1915||Boston Red Sox (AL) 4||Philadelphia Phillies (NL) 1|
|1916||Boston Red Sox (AL) 4||Brooklyn Dodgers (NL) 1|
|1917||Chicago White Sox (AL) 4||New York Giants (NL) 2|
|1918||Boston Red Sox (AL) 4||Chicago Cubs (NL) 2|
|1919||Cincinnati Reds (NL) 5||Chicago White Sox (AL) 3|
The decade ended with one of the game's darkest incidents. The Chicago White Sox, the World Series winners in 1917, were favored to beat their opponents, the Cincinnati Reds, in the 1919 fall classic. However, the Reds won and, during the last month of the 1920 season, it was learned that certain members of the Sox accepted, or had knowledge of, bribes from gamblers to throw the series. Eventually, eight players were banned from baseball for life: outfielders Happy Felsch and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson; third-baseman Buck Weaver; shortstop Swede Risberg; first-baseman Chick Gandil; pitchers Eddie Cicotte and Claude Williams; and utility infielder Fred McMullen.
WORLD SERIES THRILLS
During the 1910s, two ball clubs dominated major league baseball. The Philadelphia Athletics won the World Series three times, in 1910, 1911, and 1913. The team, which in 1954 moved to Kansas City and fourteen years later became the Oakland A's, was owned and managed by Connie Mack (1862–1956). When Mack retired in 1950, at age eighty-seven, he had managed the team for a half-century, which was a record for longevity that likely never will be broken. Among the team's stars during the 1910s were pitchers Jack Coombs, Chief Bender, and Eddie Plank, second-baseman Eddie Collins, and third baseman Frank "Home Run" Baker. Collins, Baker, shortstop Jack Barry, and first baseman Stuffy McInnis came to be known as Mack's "$100,000 infield." After losing the 1914 World Series to the Boston Braves, Mack began dismantling his team. He released some of his players and sold others to other ball clubs. Reportedly, Mack did so to raise needed funds; however, his decision to release some of his players suggests that he believed they might have thrown the Series.
The Boston Red Sox were World Series champs four times, in 1912, 1915, 1916, and 1918. Among the baseball greats who played on one or more Red Sox teams were pitchers "Smokey" Joe Wood, Dutch Leonard, Ernie Shore, and Babe Ruth; shortstop Honus Wagner; and outfielders Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper, and Duffy Lewis. The 1912 World Series, in which the Sox bested the New York Giants four games to three, was particularly exciting. Four games were decided by one run; a fifth ended in an eleven-inning tie. Spectacular catches warded off near-defeat. In the climactic game, the Sox scored twice in the bottom of the tenth inning to take the Series.
The 1915 series was noted for the first postseason appearance by a legend-to-be: Babe Ruth (1895–1948), who briefly played for the Sox during the previous season and now was in the majors to stay. He appeared in one game, as an unsuccessful pinch hitter. Before becoming a home-run-hitting legend for the New York Yankees in the 1920s, Ruth enjoyed a solid, Hall-of-Fame caliber career as a Red Sox pitcher. In the 1916 and 1918 World Series, Ruth pitched twenty-nine and two-thirds consecutive scoreless innings. However, just after Christmas 1919, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee (1881–1929) sold the ballplayer to the New York Yankees for $100,000 and a $300,000 loan. While Ruth went on to become the "Sultan of Swat" and lead the Yankees to glory, the Red Sox never won another World Series during the twentieth century.
In 1914, another Boston team won the World Series: the Boston Braves (who moved to Milwaukee in the 1950s and became the Atlanta Braves in the 1960s). As late as July 19, the Braves were languishing in the National League cellar. However, a late-season drive allowed the Braves to creep up in the standings and move into first place. Then, in the World Series, the "Miracle Braves" beat the Athletics in four straight games. It was the first World Series sweep in major league history.
BASKETBALL ENDURES GROWING PAINS
During the 1910s, basketball primarily was a college sport. It became so after James Naismith (1861–1939), a Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) Training School instructor, invented the game in 1891. By 1910, regional conferences had been established, consisting of area schools. The powerhouse teams included those from Indiana's Wabash College, which between 1908 and 1911 compiled a 66 and 3 record, and Wisconsin, which won or shared the Western Conference title from 1912 to 1914 and again in 1916 and 1918.
During the early twentieth century, attempts to establish professional basketball leagues met with failure. They were poorly organized; often during the same season, players switched teams and leagues. The era's most successful noncollegiate teams were those that remained outside of any league and instead traveled about, or barnstormed, taking on all challengers. One such team was the Buffalo Germans, which started out as a YMCA club. After demonstrating basketball techniques at the 1904 Olympics, the team turned professional. Between 1895 and 1925, the Germans compiled a 792 and 86 record. The era's other notable teams included the New York Whirlwinds, arguably the top squad during the first part of the decade, and the Philadelphia SPHAs (named for the
South Philadelphia Hebrew Association), an all-Jewish team that began play in 1918.
The decade also saw the emergence of the major pioneering professional team: the original Celtics (not to be confused with the present-day Boston Celtics), which were organized in New York in 1918. The Celtics most often played amateur and local teams, and won more than 90 percent of its games. Their roster included such early century legends as Nat Holman, Joe Lapchick, Swede Grimstead, Johnny Beckman, Chris Leonard, and Henry "Dutch" Dehnert. All were signed to the first individual contracts in basketball history and were paid by the season rather than by the game. This not only ended the practice of players haphazardly switching teams or leagues but resulted in the evolution of team strategies. The Celtics constantly experimented both individually and as a team and developed such tactics as the pivot play, switching defense, and give-and-go offense.
The Great White Hope
Jack Johnson's career in and out of the ring was recounted loosely decades later in The Great White Hope, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play written by Howard Sackler (1929–1982). While his name was changed to "Jack Jefferson," the major events of his life were portrayed. Sackler's depiction of the prevailing racial attitudes of the 1910s resonated with 1960s audiences, who were grappling with the consequences of the Civil Rights movement.
The Great White Hope premiered at Washington D.C.'s Arena Stage in 1967. The following year it came to Broadway's Alvin Theatre, where it ran for 556 performances. Then in 1970, it was made into a motion picture. James Earl Jones (1931– ) played Jefferson in all three productions.
BOXING'S CONTROVERSIAL CHAMP
The 1910s began with one of the twentieth century's most memorable heavyweight championship bouts. Since 1908, Jack Johnson (1878–1946) had been champ. Johnson was unpopular with the masses not only because he was an African American, but also because he openly delighted in his celebrity and refused to act humbly, as was expected of those of his race. Because Johnson was pounding all challengers, James J. Jeffries (1875–1953), a beloved former champ, was coaxed out of retirement to face him. Even though Jeffries was out of shape, it was expected that he easily would emerge victorious. This did not happen, though. The two met in July 1910, in Reno, Nevada, with Johnson dominating the fifteen-round match and retaining the title. In response, race riots broke out in cities across the country. Groups of whites attacked and beat innocent black Americans, reminding them that even though a black man had just pummeled a white man in an athletic competition, many whites were willing to use force to make sure that blacks knew they still were considered second-class citizens.
Eventually, the government accomplished what no boxer could. In 1912, Johnson was convicted of violating the Mann Act, a federal law that forbade individuals from transporting women across state lines for "immoral purposes," such as prostitution. Before he could be jailed, Johnson left the country. He did not return until 1920.
Johnson still retained his title, which he lost three years later in another fabled championship bout. Jess Willard (1881–1968), a six-foot-seven-inch Kansan, knocked out a rusty, out-of-shape Johnson in the twenty-sixth round of a match staged in Havana, Cuba. Johnson eventually alleged that he threw the fight for $50,000 and an exemption from his prison sentence. The decade ended with the rise of another all-time-great heavyweight: Jack Dempsey (1895–1983). By the third round of their 1919 encounter, Dempsey had so battered Willard that the champ did not come out for the fourth round. Dempsey remained heavyweight champion until 1926.
Because of its violent nature, even by the late 1910s boxing had gained only a limited measure of popularity and respectability in the United States. In fact, boxing matches remained barred in many states. However, the sport became more reputable with the rise of such popular champs as Dempsey. Additionally, during World War I (1914–18), the military employed the sport to train recruits. Afterward, states began repealing antiboxing legislation.
THE BRUTAL GAME OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL
In the 1910s, football was wildly popular on university campuses. Students strongly related to their school's teams and each fall, thousands viewed games amid much celebration. However, during the previous decade, football had been a violent sport, so much so that eighteen college players were killed in games played during the 1905 season. It was hoped that the addition of new regulations would ease the brutality. A neutral zone was created between the offensive and defensive lines; the forward pass was legalized; and the yardage required for a first-down was increased from five to ten yards. However, between 1905 and 1910, 113 players still died while competing in the sport. Further changes were instituted in 1910: seven men now were required on the line of scrimmage; games were divided into four quarters, each lasting fifteen minutes; and such practices as the flying tackle, the interlocking of arms while running interference, and the pulling and pushing of the ball carrier to advance the pigskin were deemed illegal. Two years later, an end zone was created behind each goal post, the score of a touchdown was increased from five to six points, and teams were allowed four downs to attain a first down. As the decade progressed, improvements in such protective equipment as pads and helmets were introduced. All these changes altered the character of the game. While football still was no gentle pastime, the number of deaths and injuries markedly decreased.
During the decade, the powerhouse college football teams were found in the Ivy League, among such schools as Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. In fact, the 1910s was the final decade in which the Ivy League dominated the sport. Between 1908 and 1916, Harvard ran up a record of 71 and 7, with five ties. In 1912, the Crimson wrecked bids by Yale and Princeton for undefeated seasons.
Concurrently, other colleges began dominating the sport. In 1911 and 1912, Notre Dame, destined to field some of the century's top college football squads, completed undefeated seasons. In 1913, the team masterfully employed the forward pass. In a celebrated 35 to 13 victory against Army, Notre Dame quarterback Gus Dorais (1891–1954) completed thirteen of seventeen passes for 243 yards. Quite a few were caught by Knute Rockne (1888–1931), who before the decade ended was named the team's coach. Rockne was destined to become one of the century's college coaching legends.
Other powers also emerged. In the Midwest, Illinois, coached by the legendary Robert Zuppke (1879–1957), enjoyed an undefeated season in 1914, scoring 224 points while holding its opponents to just 22. Another undefeated season followed in 1915. Minnesota, Ohio State, and the University of Pittsburgh also had strong teams. In the South, Georgia Tech emerged as the region's top football program. In 1915, the school began a thirty-two-game winning streak that lasted for more than five seasons. In one of the most lopsided scores in college football history, Georgia Tech defeated Cumberland College, 222 to 0, in 1916. The team was coached by John Heisman (1869–1936), for whom the Heisman Trophy (awarded each year to the nation's top college football player) is named. In the West, the University of Washington dominated. The Huskies did not lose a game between 1908 and 1916.
THE UNSTABLE GAME OF PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL
Before 1910, professional football mainly was a haphazard enterprise. There were no important professional leagues; many teams refused to form or enter leagues and regularly raided talent from college teams. During a season, players often jumped from team to team, most of which were clustered in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and in the Chicago, Illinois, area. Competition was uneven and gambling scandals were frequent.
However, a bit of stability did come to professional football during the 1910s. The main professional league was centered in Ohio, with the Canton Bulldogs, Columbus Panhandlers, Youngstown Patricians, and Dayton Triangles among the league's more colorfully named teams. The decade's one great professional football star was Jim Thorpe (1888–1953), who in 1912 scored 25 touchdowns and 190 points for his Carlyle Indian School football team. Thorpe signed with the Canton Bulldogs in 1915. His starting salary was $250 per game, an enormous sum for the era. During the 1916 season, Thorpe led his team to ten straight victories. The Bulldogs claimed the then-unofficial title of world champions that year, and did so again in 1917 and 1919.
Collegiate Football National Champions
|1916||University of Pittsburgh|
|1918||University of Pittsburgh|
GOLF'S GROWING POPULARITY
During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the popularity of golf rapidly increased. However, at the time, the sport primarily was restricted to the upper classes. Golf was played on country club courses, by those of the "privileged" class. Unlike boxing, where champions often were uneducated street boys, golfers usually had well-to-do backgrounds. Golf was not so much a competitive sport as a "gentleman's game," played as a hobby.
U.S. Golf Association Open Champions
|1911||John J. McDermott|
|1912||John J. McDermott|
|1915||Jerome D. Travers|
However, during the 1910s, two outstanding golfers earned their first acclaim and broke down the game's social barriers. Walter Hagen (1892–1969), a professional who was to enjoy a long and successful career, won his first U.S. Open title in 1914. Back then, professional golfers were considered to be socially inferior to those players who did not accept financial compensation for competing in matches. Professionals received little money for their efforts; during open tournaments, they even were barred from clubhouses. However, Hagen, with his affable, confident personality, challenged this social discrimination by simply ignoring the rules. Pretending to be unaware of regulations barring professionals, he entered clubhouses and locker rooms during open competitions. Eventually, country clubs ceased enforcing such rules. Hagen's actions helped to transform golf into a respectable occupation. Before the decade ended, the Professional Golfer's Association (PGA) was established to foster interest in the game and increase the standard of living for professional golfers. In 1916, the first national PGA tournament was held at the Siwanoy Golf Course in Bronxville, New York.
Aside from Hagen, Francis Ouimet (1893–1967) was the era's most influential golfer. Ouimet was only twenty when he won the 1913 U.S. Open title in a three-way playoff. It was an upset victory, crammed with drama. Ouimet came from behind to tie two leading British-born professionals, Harry Vardon (1870–1937) and Edward "Ted" Ray (b. 1878). Then
he smothered them in a playoff, topping them by five and six strokes. What made Ouimet's accomplishment even more noteworthy was his working-class background. He had grown up in Brookline, Massachusetts, where his French-Canadian immigrant father toiled as a gardener. Ouimet and his brother became caddies at the upscale Brookline Country Club. Although caddies were not allowed to play on the club's course, the Ouimet boys often sneaked in practice strokes. Determined to enter the tournaments held at the club, Ouimet earned additional money by working in a drygoods store. In 1909, while attending Brookline High School, he won Boston's interscholastic golf competition. Even though he failed to qualify for the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1910, 1911, and 1912, he lasted into the final rounds of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship in 1912. The following year, he won the title and qualified for the U.S. Open.
Ouimet was the first amateur to win the Open. Even more importantly, his background was highly publicized, and his victory helped transform golf into a popular recreational activity to be enjoyed by people of all social classes. The following year, he became U.S. Amateur champion and won the French Amateur title.
Kentucky Derby Winners
The 1910s saw the Kentucky Derby attain its status as the world's most celebrated horse race. The Derby had been running since 1875. However, from 1899 through 1914, the major northeastern stables sidestepped the race, choosing instead to enter the American Derby in Chicago. The Kentucky race then became a low-profile, regional event. In 1915, Harry Payne Whitney (1872–1930), a famed horse breeder-financier, chose to participate. He entered Regret, a filly (a young female horse). Dispelling the notion that a three-year-old filly would be unable to beat a colt in a mile-and-a-quarter race, Regret led throughout and won. The subsequent publicity earned the Derby the stature it enjoys to this day.
Other important races during the period included the Saratoga Cup, the Belmont Stakes, the Alabama, the Champagne, the Preakness, and the Withers. If a horse went on to victory in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes, each of which was held in the spring, it won the Triple Crown, the most desirable and elusive prize in American thoroughbred horseracing. The decade saw one horse, Sir Barton, win the first-ever Triple Crown.
Meanwhile, during the decade, all of horse racing was threatened by a national reform movement to discourage gambling and betting. In New York, the sport was shut down for two years beginning in 1910, when bookmaking and gaming devices were prohibited under a new law, the Director's Liability Act. Such setbacks proved only temporary, however.
THE GLORIOUS OLYMPIC GAMES
The decade's first, and only, Olympic Games were held in 1912 in Stockholm, Sweden. It was here that one of the most unfortunate and infamous incidents in modern-era Olympic history began unfolding. It started as a glorious feat: the victory, by Jim Thorpe (1881–1953), in both the decathlon and pentathlon. Furthermore, Thorpe's 8,412 decathlon points were a world's record. Upon presenting him with his gold medals, Sweden's King Gustav V (1858–1950) exclaimed, "Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world." However, Thorpe's triumph was short-lived. A month after returning to the United States, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) charged him with professionalism when it was learned that he had briefly played semiprofessional baseball. The following year, he was stripped of his medals by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Otherwise, the 1912 games were the largest since the Olympics were revived in 1896. Close to twenty-five hundred athletes participated, representing twenty-eight nations. Sweden, the host country, garnered the most medals: twenty-four gold, twenty-four silver, and seventeen bronze, for a total of sixty-five. The United States earned sixty-one: twenty-three gold, nineteen silver, and nineteen bronze.
In addition to Thorpe, Americans triumphed in other track-and-field events. Ralph Craig (1889–1972), of the University of Michigan, won the 1200-meter and 200-meter races. Syracuse University's Charles Reidpath (1889–1975) captured the gold in the 400 meters, in an Olympic-record 48.2 seconds. James "Ted" Meredith (c.1895–1957), a Pennsylvania schoolboy, won the 800 meters in a world-record 1:51.9. Americans swept the medals in the pole vault, shot-put, and 110-meter high hurdles. (Throughout the decade, American track-and-field athletes consistently broke records and revolutionized their events. Among them were Howard P. Drew, an African American who was hailed as the "world's fastest human"; runners John Paul Jones, Abel Kiviat, and Norman Taber; high-jumper George Horine; pole-vaulter Marc Wright; and shot-putter Patrick J. McDonald.) Another noteworthy 1912 Olympian was Hawaii's Duke Kahanamoku (1890–1968), who won the 100-meter freestyle, the first of his five swimming medals spread over four Olympics.
U.S. Lawn Tennis Association Singles Champions
|Year||Male Winner||Female Winner|
|1910||William A. Larned||Hazel V. Hotchkiss|
|1911||William A. Larned||Hazel V. Hotchkiss|
|1912||Maurice E. McLoughlin||Mary K. Browne|
|1913||Maurice E. McLoughlin||Mary K. Browne|
|1914||Richard Norris Williams II||Mary K. Browne|
|1915||William M. Johnston||Molla Bjurstedt|
|1916||Richard Norris Williams||Molla Bjurstedt|
|1917||Robert L. Murray||Molla Bjurstedt|
|1918||Robert L. Murray||Molla Bjurstedt|
|1919||William M. Johnston||Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman|
That year the International Olympic Committee (IOC) expanded women's events, adding swimming and diving. Many opposed this change; in fact, James E. Sullivan (1862–1914), head of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), was against all women's sports. He refused to allow American women divers and swimmers to compete in the Olympics.
Since 1896, Germany had vigorously campaigned to host the Olympics. Upon learning that Berlin would be the likely site for the 1916 games, the Germans commenced construction of a thirty-four-thousand-seat stadium. However, the start of World War I effectively canceled the games.
During the early part of the twentieth century, tennis, like golf, primarily was played by the well-to-do. While tennis courts mostly were found in private clubs, during the 1910s middle-class people began adopting the game. Additionally, tennis was one sport in which women competed as actively as men.
Early in the decade, Hazel V. Hotchkiss (1886–1974), who later became Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, dominated the courts. She won several U.S. Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) singles, doubles, and mixed
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doubles championships. Her forceful forecourt play added an innovative dimension to women's tennis. From 1901 through 1911, William A. Larned (1872–1926) earned seven men's singles titles. Then Mary K. Browne (1891–1971) and Maurice E. McLoughlin (1890–1957), otherwise known as the "California Comet," each won several titles. McLoughlin in particular electrified the sport with his power serves, rushes to the net, deliberate volleying, and daring shots down the line. In mid-decade, William M. Johnston (1894–1946) succeeded McLoughlin as the game's top male player. He too played a power game, but his style was even more balanced and strategic. Through the end of the decade, Johnston won several singles and doubles titles.
In 1915, Norway's Molla Bjurstedt (1884–1959), a bronze-medal winner at the 1912 Olympics, became the initial foreigner to win the women's USLTA singles championship. It was the first of four straight titles. Her attempt at a fifth ended in defeat, when she lost to Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman in 1919.