Today is March 4th and we are remembering Mildred Didrikson Zaharias.
Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias (born Mildred Ella Didrikson) was born June 26th, 1911 and is remembered by her heroics in sports.
Babe was known for her affinity for sports. Growing up she played baseball with her brothers a lot and following a game where she hit 5 home runs and earned the nickname “Babe”, after Babe Ruth. The nickname stuck for the rest of her life.
When Babe was 15, she was a forward on her high-school basketball team. She played so well that she earned a job with Employers Casualty Company of Dallas. Babe dropped out of high school in order to play for the AAU’s Golden Cyclones. With the Golden Cyclones, Babe won 3 national championships and was All-American for 2 of the 3.
Next, Babe turned her attention to track and field. In 1932, she went to the Olympics and set 4 world records, won 2 Gold Medals, and one Silver Medal.
Babe won medals for:
- 80-meter hurdles – 11.7 seconds (WR)
- Took Gold
- Javelin – 43.69 meters (WR)
- Took Gold
- High Jump – 1.657 meters (5.44 feet)
- Tied WR, Silver medal
After her time at the Olympics, Babe went to join the Vaudeville circus for a time, traveled the country playing basketball and pool (even though she wasn’t that great at pool). Babe also pitched in a few exhibition games for different baseball teams.
It was then Babe moved on to golf. Between 1940-1955, Babe won 41 LPGA, 10 of which were Majors. She has 7 wins from golf events outside of the LPGA. In this run between 1946-1947, she went on a 17 tournament win streak. She is the first woman to make the cut for a PGA Tour Event.
Babe passed away in 1956 from Colon cancer. She is remembered as the greatest female golfer of all time. She was voted “Woman of the Year” by the Associated Press in 1936, 1945, 1947, 1950, and 1954. She was awarded the Bob Jones Award in 1957.
Babe took a lot of flack from men due to her involvement in the sports world during a time when women were still being objectified. She fought to be seen as an equal with the male golfers. One scummy reporter said: “It would be much better if she and her ilk stayed at home, got themselves prettied up and waited for the phone to ring,”. Babe didn’t let it show if it bothered her. One time, she was asked how she could hit the ball 260-yards, to which Babe replied: “I just loosen my girdle and let the ball have it.” (x)
As a sports blog, it felt right to honor a woman who fought for the quality of players in her sports. Not to mention she was a very talented human being in so many aspects.
Thank you, Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
I’ll be writing about a different badass woman every day of March so check out the master post here.
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