Sports Stars Of The 40s: The Highlights

Interested in sports history? Read on as we dive into sports stars from the past who transcended their fields and broke barriers. We’ll talk about the sports stars of the 1940s who captured the imagination of the people and left a lasting legacy, both in sports and beyond!

And if you have damaged pictures of your favorite sports stars, don’t worry. You can easily restore old photos to bring them back to their former glory.

1. Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio is one of the most popular baseball players of all time. Born in California, he joined the minor leagues at 17. He later signed with the New York Yankees in 1936, playing center field. 

Through the 40s, he was a superstar, even setting the record for the longest hitting streak (56 games). He led the Yankees to the World Series nine times throughout the late 1930s and 1940s, despite missing several seasons due to serving in the army during World War II.

Joltin’ Joe was also famous for his marriage to Marilyn Monroe. Though their marriage didn’t last long, he remained devoted to her until her death.

2. Jackie Robinson

America was a segregated country in the 1940s. We don’t often talk about the dark times before the integration of professional sports, but one of the first blows to segregation was dealt by Jackie Robinson.

Jackie Robinson was the first black baseball player to cross the color line in 1947. He joined the major leagues playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was a talented player, winning rookie of the year in 1947, as well as making the All-Star team from 1949 -1954. He was awarded the Most Valuable Player award in 1949.

Robinson was also a proponent of civil rights. He advocated nonviolent reform and was a member of the NAACP. Major League Baseball retired his number (42) across all teams in honor of this icon.

3. Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Babe Didrikson excelled at all sports. She started her professional career as a track and field star in the 1930s which led her to win three Olympic medals: two golds and one silver in 1932. She even set multiple world records for the javelin throw and hurdles.

Through the 40s, she was a golf superstar, winning the women’s open in 1948. She plowed through women’s golf, winning a total of 17 titles throughout the 1940s. She even founded the Ladies Pro Golf Association. The Associated Press voted her Greatest Female Athlete of the first half of the 20th century.

Babe changed what it meant to be a woman in sports in the 1940s. She refused to bow to pressure to become a housewife, pressing on with her ambition to be the greatest athlete she could be.

4. Joe Louis

Joe Louis was the heavyweight champion of the world in the 1940s, holding the heavyweight title for 11 years. He is considered one of the greatest boxers of all time and is nicknamed “The Brown Bomber.”

He became a household name when he knocked out Max Schmeling in 1938. Schmeling was supported by the Third Reich and was meant to be a show of Aryan supremacy, but Joe Louis took him out in just one round. 

5. Ted Williams

Ted Williams was one of the best hitters in baseball and is remembered for being the “Splendid Splinter.” He still holds the all-time record of on-base percentage.

Ted Williams was also known for being a soldier in both WWII and the Korean War. His service in the war won him prestigious honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, three air medals for Aerial Flight Operations, a Navy Unit commendation, an American and Asian Pacific Campaign Medal, a World War II Victory Medal, and a National Defense Service Medal, among others. 

After his service, he went back to baseball to play for the Red Sox. He continued to be a formidable hitter.

Closing Thoughts 

When it comes to athletes, the ones who are still recognized today are the ones who transcended their sport. They took a stand for what they believed in and, in some instances, even went to war. Some were willing to be the first to do something despite pushback from the majority. That’s why we remember their names today.

This is just an introduction to some of the amazing sports stars of the 1940s. Learn more by digging through old photos and videos!