Versatile athlete who won national recognition in several sports. Won a national diving championship in the early 1920s and qualified for the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. Unable to raise the money for the trip to France, he surrendered his place on the team.
One of the finest all-around woman athletes of the 20th century, her basketball career spanned an amazing 48 years, beginning in 1927 and concluding in 1975. Starred for many of Cleveland’s finest women’s teams, capturing innumerable All-Star, Outstanding Player and MVP awards. Organized the Polish Olympic team which built a 54-game winning streak, and won the Polish American championship in 1941-42 and 1942-43. She was the top scorer and Most Outstanding Player in both championship tournaments and was named to the Polish National All-American Team each year. Later played for the renowned world champion Rochester Filarets which set a record of 202 consecutive victories. In 1955, in her 28th year of organized basketball competition, she played for the North Hollywood Knickerbockers, winners of the California State AAU title, setting a state tourney record of 130 points and being named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Pitched in Amateur Softball Association leagues in and around Cleveland from 1941 to 1965, amassing over 600 victories and 50 no-hitters during his career. He played on teams which won 36 league, city and ASA open championships, including the 1957 ASA Open Regional in which he defeated a powerful Detroit team featuring ASA Hall of Famer Bonnie Jones. Payne also garnered victories over such other softball greats as Warren Gerber, Sambo Elliott and Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice during is illustrious career.
An All-American fastpitch star of the ’30s, she played first base, third base and the outfield and was considered among the best players in the world. Starred for three world championship teams, the Cleveland Bloomer Girls (1935) and National Screw & Manufacturing Co. (1936 and 1937). Later won five Cleveland City championships from 1940 through 1944. Once hit a 300-foot home run at Elks Park in Lakewood.
A true “iron man” pitcher who worked his way up through the Cleveland sandlots, playing in all classes from E to A. Started pitching in Class E at the age of 15, winning 13 of 15 games, averaging 13 strikeouts per contest and hurling two double headers. In 1923-24-25, he was the only pitcher on the Suchan Café roster in Class B. Starting all of their games he pitched the team to the championship finals one season. Later, playing with McAllister Tires, he pitched and won both games of a double header to clinch the Class a championship for his team. While with the Favorite Knits in Class A he pitched three full innings against the Boston Braves of the National League in an Amateur Day game at league Park.
Played 13 years of major league baseball, ten in a Cleveland Indians uniform. Won undying fame in the 1920 World Series when, as the Indians’ second baseman, he executed an unassisted triple play against the old Brooklyn Dodgers. He also led the American League in triples that season with 11, scored 83 runs and batted in 55. Traded to Boston in 1924, he enjoyed one of his finest seasons, hitting .274, collecting 41 doubles, scoring 93 runs and driving in 48.
One of the great early major league baseball players, he got his start with a semi-pro team called the Young Clevelanders. In 1886 he joined the Detroit team of the old National League, and helped pitch that team to a pennant in 1887 with an 11-1 mark. His lone loss came in a 14-inning game in which he allowed just one hit. Traded to Cleveland in 1889, he set a record of 16 total bases in a game (single, double, three triples and a home run) which stood until 1954. Major league career ended in 1891, but he played, and later managed, in the minors until 1898.
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