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1944: Sports; social issues and crime; folkways; fashion; holidays.

Fashions swung toward bare midriffs, slim skirts, and large hats. Victories in both military theaters raised civilian morale and led to hopes the war would soon end. In boxing, a dispute over the lightweight championship arose in March when Bob Montgomery outpointed Beau Jack in 15 rounds at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Five days later his title, recognized by the New York State Athletic Commission, came into dispute when Juan Zurita defeated Sammy Angott in Hollywood and the National Boxing Association recognized Zurita as the lightweight champion. In golf the top money winner was Byron Nelson, with $37,967. Notables who died this year included Kenesaw Mountain Landis, commissioner of organized baseball for nearly 24 years, Nov. 25, at age 78.

Cartoonists Bill Mauldin and George Baker gave armed services newspapers their most popular features. In "Up Front with Mauldin," a pair of long-suffering GIs, Willie and Joe, endured combat stoically ("Just gimme th' aspirin. I already got a Purple Heart"). Baker created the "Sad Sack," an unlucky, confused, unkempt but well-meaning GI forever in trouble. In postwar years, Baker's "Sad Sack" became a regular feature of comic sections, and Mauldin took naturally to political cartooning.

The contribution of dogs in combat situations was recognized by posthumous awards of certificates of outstanding achievement to seven dogs killed in the South Pacific. A German shepherd received the Distinguished Service Medal for charging a machine gun nest in the invasion of Sicily.

Jan. 1

In college football bowl games the results were Randolph Field 7, Texas 7 in the Cotton Bowl; LSU 19, Texas A&M 14 in the Orange Bowl; Southern California 29, Washington 0 in the Rose Bowl; and Georgia Tech 20, Tulsa 18 in the Sugar Bowl. This season the AP poll chose Notre Dame the national collegiate champions of 1943.

Feb. 27

U.S. figure skating championships were won by Gretchen Merrill, women's singles; Doris Schubach and Walter Noffke, pairs; Marcella May and James Lochead, Jr., dance. There was no men's singles competition this year.

Mar. 28

The NCAA basketball championship was won by Utah, which defeated Dartmouth 42-40.

Apr. 4-13

The NHL Stanley Cup was won by the Montreal Canadiens, who defeated the Chicago Black Hawks in four straight games.

Apr. 19

The 48th Boston Marathon was won by Gerard Cote of Montreal, Canada, with a time of 2 hrs., 31 min., 50.4 sec. It was his second consecutive and third career win in the event.

May 1

Ninety-year-old Jacob S. Coxey, standing on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., delivered the speech he was prevented from making 50 years before when he led Coxey's Army, a body of unemployed workers demanding a program of federal work projects.

May 6

The 70th annual Kentucky Derby was won by Pensive, with a time of 2:04 1/5. The jockey was Conn McCreary.

May 13

The 69th annual Preakness Stakes was won by Pensive, with a time of 1:59 1/5. The jockey was Conn McCreary.

June 3

The 76th annual Belmont Stakes was won by Bounding Home, with a time of 2:32 1/5. The jockey was G. L. Smith.

July 11

The 12th annual baseball All-Star Game was won by the National League, which defeated the American League 7-1.

Aug. 20

The PGA golf tournament was won by Robert Hamilton, a relatively unknown pro from Indiana who beat Byron Nelson by one stroke in an upset victory.

Sept. 2

The Miss America title was won by Venus Ramey, 19, from Washington, D.C., at the annual pageant in Atlantic City, N.J.

Sept. 3

The U.S. Lawn Tennis Association singles championships were won by Sgt. Frank A. Parker in the men's division and Pauline M. Betz in the women's division.

Oct. 4-9

The 41st World Series was won by the St. Louis Cardinals (NL), defeating the St. Louis Browns (AL) four games to two.

Dec. 17

The NFL championship was won by the Green Bay Packers, who defeated the New York Giants 14-7.
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Author:Carruth, Gorton
Publication:Encyclopedia of American Facts & Dates, 9th ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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