Shorts at Wimbledon

Here’s a picture from the March 23 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring a woman wearing shorts at Wimbledon.


A Google search for Miss G. E. Tomblin didn’t turn up much. There’s a stock photo of her at the Chiswick Hard Court Club in London, in which she is obviously wearing the same shorts. And Tennis Forum has a short biography of her (search for her name to find it).

Apparently, she tried to qualify for Wimbledon every year from 1925 to 1937; she made it into the main draw in 1929, only to be blown away 6-0, 6-0 by Helen Wills, the eventual winner.


A pretty tough customer

Here’s another photo from the March 23 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


I couldn’t find very much on Del Smith, as he has the same name as a well-known aviator. He doesn’t appear in the registry of American 1932 Olympic Games athletes.

A boxing records site shows him as having turned pro in 1932. He fought in 33 bouts, winning 18, before ending his professional career in February 1934.


Training sprint

Here’s another picture from the photo page of the March 11 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Leo Lermond (1906-1986) competed in the 5000 metre run at the 1928 Olympics, but failed to qualify for the 1932 games.

Clarice Kennedy (1910-1998) was remarkably accomplished. Besides sprinting, she competed in swimming, hockey, tennis, and basketball, among other sports. At the age of 59, she went to university, eventually earning a Ph.D. In 1930, she also saved the life of a drowning boy.


One on the chin

Here’s a photo from the February 18 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Jackie Fields (1908-1987) reached the peak of his boxing career when he regained the world welterweight title early in 1932. Later that year, he was in a car accident that damaged his left eye. In 1933, he lost his title, and retired from boxing after losing a second bout that year.

After boxing, he eventually moved to Las Vegas and became part-owner of the Tropicana Hotel. The marriage shown in the photo above did not last, as he remarried while in Vegas.


Stella Walsh

The October 14 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this photograph of an Olympic sprinter:


Stella Walsh (1911-1980) turns out to be a very interesting and sadly tragic story. Her given name was Stanislawa Walasiewicz, and her family emigrated from Poland to the United States when she was three months old.

She qualified for the American Olympic team in 1928, but was not eligible to compete, as she did not have American citizenship and could not obtain it until she was 21. In 1930, she competed for Poland in the Women’s World Games, winning the gold medal in three events (after which she was photographed, as shown above).

Four years later, she won American championships in three events and was offered citizenship just prior to the 1932 Olympics. However, she chose to become a citizen of Poland, and won the gold medal in the 100 meter dash. In 1936, she finished second to Helen Stephens (who appeared in this blog here).

In 1947, she became an American citizen. In 1980, she was killed during an armed robbery in her home city of Cleveland. On her death, it was discovered that she had a Y chromosome and some features of both sexes. There is some debate over whether her track and field records should be erased.


Mary Casson

The August 26 1926 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this photograph of Canadian swimmer Mary Casson:


My first thought when I saw this was that better dentistry is now available to almost everybody: nowadays, you’d have to be very poor to be young with a tooth missing or lopsided like that.

I couldn’t find anything on Mary Casson, partly because there was an actress with the same name who passed away in 2009 at the age of 95. The only reference that I saw was that she was posthumously honoured at the 2015 University of Toronto Sports Hall of Fame ceremony.


Myles Thomas

The August 22 1925 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a photo of a pitcher for the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team who was in some demand:


When I looked Myles Thomas up in Baseball Reference, I discovered that he had a 28-8 record for the Maple Leafs, who were considered a class AA club at that time. No wonder he was in demand!

However, he didn’t wind up with the Chicago Cubs – in 1926, he landed with the New York Yankees. He pitched for the Yankees and Washington Senators from 1926 to 1930, with middling success. He did appear in 108 major league games in total, which is a lot more than many players.

After his major league career ended, Thomas pitched in the minor leagues until 1935. He passed away in 1963.


Joe Rabbitt

The July 14 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had a brief article about a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team who was battling for the International League lead in stolen bases. Appropriately enough, his name was Joe Rabbitt:


The Baseball Reference web site has an entry for Joe Rabbitt – unfortunately, it doesn’t list the International League stolen base statistics for 1930, so I don’t know whether he actually succeeded in winning the “base-running championship”. It does state that Rabbitt did make it briefly to the major leagues many years before, as he played in two games with Cleveland in 1922 and got one hit. It was a brief showcase, as he was sent back to Class C ball the next year.

Rabbitt played one more season for the Leafs, and played his last year of organized baseball in 1932. He passed away in 1969.


Joan McSheehy

The July 5 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this photograph of a woman who had just won two swimming events at a race in Long Island.


Joan McSheehy (1913-1948) competed in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, finishing fifth in the 100-metre backstroke. Footage of the 220-yard backstroke that she won at Jones Beach can be found here.

She later married, becoming Joan Huffman, and passed away at the age of 34. I could find no details on how or why she died so young.


Canada’s Olympic hopes

The July 5 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a photograph of two women who were slated to run in the 100-metre dash in the upcoming 1928 Olympic Games.


Myrtle Cook and Ethel Smith wound up collecting gold in Amsterdam: they were half of the relay team that finished first in the women’s 4 x 100 event.

Cook captained the relay team, and her time of 12.0 seconds in the Olympic trials tied the world record for women in the 100 metres and was not beaten until 1932. She became a sportswriter in Montreal, and remained a member of the Canadian Olympic Club, running the hospitality suite for the 1976 Olympic Games. At that time, she was 74, but was still fit enough to run a lap of the track after the events finished at the Olympic Stadium. She passed away in 1985.

Besides being part of the relay team, Smith earned a bronze as a solo competitor in the women’s 100 metre event. She was from a poor family, and had to leave school in the eighth grade to work in Toronto’s garment district. She retired from competition in 1929, and passed away in 1979.