December 22, 2014

American Sports in the 1920’s

Iconic Babe Ruth New York YankeesThe 1920’s has been called the Golden Age of American Sports.  It also has been called the Age of the Spectator.  The United States had a strong economy for most of that decade.  Many workers had more leisure time and discretionary income to spend.  New and bigger stadiums and gymnasiums were built. The introduction of the radio made it easier for fans to keep up with their favorite teams.  Newspapers increased their coverage os sports.  Improvements in roads made it possible for fans to travel to watch games and events in distant cities and towns.  For the first time, large numbers of Americans began to pay to watch professional and amateur athletes compete in games.

Baseball was the “National Pastime” in the 1920’s.  More people went to baseball games, more people followed baseball, and more people played baseball than any other sport.  The most famous athlete in the United States in the 1920’s was baseball star George Herman “Babe” Ruth, the right fielder for the New York Yankees.  The colorful Ruth hit more home runs than any player had ever hit before.  He captivated fans with his outgoing personality and was the perfect hero for the Roaring Twenties.

The 1920’s was also a decade when college football became more popular.  Notre Dame, coached by Knute Rockne, became the most famous college football team.  Illinois star Harold “Red Grange” became a household name.  The best college teams would compete in bowl games such as the famous Rose Bowl held in California.

Boxing was popular too.  Heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey was almost as famous as Babe Ruth. Horse racing, golf, and tennis all had their fans.  College basketball was still a young sport. Professional football and basketball were minor sports.