Friday, January 05, 2007

Battle of the Sexes 1949 Style

In 1949 Hazel Walker's Arkansas Travelers women's team invaded Kingsport to take on a local all-star men's team. Here's a picture from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas that shows that 1949 squad. (The picture at the bottom of this post is a later squad.)

Left to right: Carolyn Daniel, Unidentified, Wilma Bogan, Hazel Walker, Allegra "Stubby" Winter, Mary Alice "Peachie" Hatcher, Georgia "Moon" Mullins, and Phyllis White.

Here are the newspaper stories of that game.

Dec. 21, 1949 Kingsport Times-News

Nation’s Top Girl Team Features Foul Shot Champ

Kingsport basketball fans are in for a pre-ho1iday treat tonight at the Civic Auditorium when Hazel Walker’s Arkansas Travelers take on Z Buda's College Stars.

Game time is set for 8 p.m.

The “Travelers,” the top girls court attraction in the country, have been the subject of many magazine articles. Three of them, Hazel Walker, Stubby Winter, and Peaches Hatcher, formerly performed for the famed Olson's Original All-American Redheads.

Hazel, playing manager and coach of the “Travelers,” was an All-American selection ten times during her fourteen years as an amateur. She also won the National free throw championship six years and played on five National Championship teams. Hazel turned pro in 1946, playing three seasons for the “Redheads” before organizing the “Travelers” probably the greatest girls team, ever assembled.

During halftime, Hazel will challenge all comers to a free throw exhibition. Last year she was undefeated.

Another top attraction to show Wednesday night will be Stubby Winter, at 5 foot 2 the smallest player in women's professional basketball. One of Stubby's favorite point maker is her original “piggy-back shot,” alone worth the price of admission.

The “Travelers” also have height with seven of their eight members standing 5’ 10” or better.

“Z” Buda's all-star team will feature such greats as Gene Derrick. A starting forward, he played at ETSC last year and is considered the star of the team.

John Seward, another star, will start at guard and made the All-American team at Duke University in 1943. He led all scoring last year in the Dixie Pro League and has played three years for Buda.

Starting center Ben Pollick also hails from ETSC and made the All Smokey Mountain team last year.

Others in the starting lineup include Charlie Ballick who was captain at State last year and Ned Lovell who played at Berea and TPI.

Still other greats that will appear with the All Stars are Bob Painter who made All Eastern at Marquette in 1948 and Carl Cagle who made his bid at Milligan. Also Bob Elliott of Milligan and John Wadell of Tusculum.

Buda finished last season with a 23 win and one loss record, losing to Peerless Woolen Mills. He has never been beaten by a pro team

Dec. 22, 1949 Kingsport Times-News

Capacity Crowd Sees J. Seward Pace Collegians

Kingsport basketball fans really had a chance to howl Wednesday night when “Z” Buda's 'All-Stars snatched a 57-52 win from Hazel Walker's invading Arkansas Travelers before a capacity crowd of 500 half-hysterical fans at the Civic Auditorium.

John Seward started the game with a set shot from the side line to put the All-Stars in a slim 2-0 lead but Mary Alice Hatcher bounced back with a double-decker to tie the game but again Seward popped in his famous one-handed shot to put the All-Stars out front.

Mary Alice Hatcher paced the Travelers in scoring with 18 points while little 5 foot 2 Stubby Winter closely followed with 14.

Winter had fans howling with her antics and scored 12 of her 14 points with set shots and the other two were made by her famous piggy back play.

At the halftime intermission Hazel Walker challenged anyone to a free throw dual but only one person accepted her challenge, John Seward. Each player tossed 15 free tosses, Hazel hit all 15 shots while Seward got three.

John Seward, who made the All American team at Duke University in 1943 paced the All-Stars to their victory by splitting the basket with 16 counters and was followed by Gene Derrick with 14.

Gene Pollick, who hails from East Tennessee State College was held to 12 points.

“Z” Buda's' All-Star band appeared at the auditorium which played at the end of each quarter and staged a 30 minute show at the halftime.

The All-Stat quintet retained their record of never being beaten by a professional team. Last year they finished with 23 win one loss record. They lost to' Peerless Woolen Mills of North Carolina.

Most rules were cast aside for this game as only one foul shot was throughout the entire tilt. John Lovall had the privilege of making this one.

Here are the stats on team captain Hazel Walker, who is a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, induction class of 2001.

Hazel Walker (1914 - 1990)

· A 7-time AAU All-American

· Played for five different teams during her 14-year amateur career, winning four AAU national championships with the Tulsa Business College Stenos (1934) and Little Rock's Lewis and Norwood Flyers (1937, 1940, 1941) as well as posting four runner-up finishes and advancing to the Final Four three more times

· Named Most Valuable Player of the 1942 AAU National Tournament

· Proclaimed National Free Throw Champion six times (1938, 1939, 1940, 1943, 1945, 1946)

· Also won a pair of International Free Throw titles (1944, 1945)

· Selected as the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year in 1940

· Involved in professional basketball for 19 years, including three seasons with Olson's All American Red Heads (1946-49) before beginning her own barnstorming squad, Hazel Walker's Arkansas Travelers (1949-65), which played only men's teams using men's rules

· Playing career spanned 37 years (1928-1965), from high school until her retirement as a professional player at the age of 51


1934-Tulsa Business College Stenos-AAU National Championship

1937-Lewis-Norwood Flyers-AAU National Championship

1938-National Free Throw Champion

1939-National Free Throw Champion

1940-National Free Throw Champion

1940-Lewis-Norwood Flyers-AAU National Championship

1940-Associated Press Female Athlete of the YEar

1941-Lewis-Norwood Flyers-AAU National Championship

1942-Most Valuable Player-AAU National Tournament

1943-National Free Throw Champion

1944-International Free Throw Champion

1945-International Free Throw Champion

1945-National Free Throw Champion

1946-National Free Throw Champion

1946-1949-Three seasons with the ALL-AMERICAN RED HEADS


1959-Inducted into the Arkansas Hall of Fame

2001-Inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame


At 10:35 PM, Blogger lester said...

As a boy of fourteen, I saw these ladies play The Madisonville, Texas High School Mustangs in The Madisonville High School Gymn in either 1949 or 1950. I don't remember who won the game but I do remember Miss Hazel Walker asking for challengers to her in a free throw shooting contest at half time. She had one challenger, Jerry White a player on the high school team and he defeated her by one shot; But, she was very gracious. I remember Miss Hazel and Miss Wilma Bogan specifically and they were mighty fine looking women. I have wondered about these women and this team for many years and about ten years ago tried to find out something about them on the internet but there was nothing. Today I tried again and there it was thanks to you Mr. Staten.

Best wishes,


At 10:38 PM, Blogger lester said...

P.S. Mr. Staten, are any of these women still alive?

Thank you,

At 11:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wilma Bogan Paynter died July 7, 2008 in Paragould, AR.

At 4:49 PM, Anonymous LJ said...

Carolyn Daniel, the first lady on the left, is my grandmother. Sadly she passed away in March 2001. I am looking for anything from the time she played: programs, pictures, newspaper articles, etc.. (Apparently she played for the 1949 team.) My dream would be to find her uniform!! Is there anyone who can help me with this?

At 11:55 PM, Blogger Jeanie said...

I never saw these ladies play ball but my Mother did. She was one of the team members from 1950-1952.


At 2:21 PM, Blogger Michelle Ellis said...

My great Aunt, Thelma Cottrell Holder, played for The Red Heads. It would have been some time around the late 40’s or later. If anyone has any information about teams during that time, I would appreciate it. Sadly, she passed away in 2016.

Thank you!

Michelle Ellis


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