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post #16 of 42 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz

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Beverly Fleitz throughout the 1950s was the only female tennis player on the tour who was married and who had children -
That statement is not entirely accurate. Fleitz was clearly the most famous mom on tour-but not the only one. Pat Todd also played after having kids, as did some less prominent women.

Last edited by Rollo; May 5th, 2015 at 03:43 PM.
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post #17 of 42 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz

Bev was first married to actor Scotty Beckett in Spetember of 1949. Anyone ever seen "Little Rascals"? He was a famous child actor who killed his own career by getting in drunken brawls.

This is from IMDB

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At around the same time, Scotty began to gain notoriety not only for his acting, but also for his nocturnal activities. Part of the young Hollywood jet set, Beckett was a fixture at parties and would frequently be seen with young stars like Roddy McDowall, Jane Powell, Elizabeth Taylor, and Edith Fellows. His nightlife seemed to become more of a priority than his burgeoning acting career, and it started a trend of reckless, irresponsible behavior which plagued Beckett the rest of his life. Early success without any sacrifice often breeds a sense of entitlement and a lack of responsibility or consequence. This seems to be an overriding theme as Beckett began making headlines most Hollywood stars try to avoid.

In 1948 he was arrested for drunk driving after he crashed into another car after attending a frat party where he had "five bourbons". Scotty tried to run from the booking office after being arrested and refused to surrender his possessions. In September of 1949, he eloped with tennis star Beverly Baker. Right from the start, Scotty showed signs that he was not ready for marriage. On their honeymoon in Acapulco, Beckett allegedly threatened to punch a pool bystander in the nose. The couple separated after 5 months of marriage, divorcing in June of 1950. Newspapers covered the divorce, citing Baker's allegations of Beckett's jealousy and controlling, abusive behavior. Scotty tried to get Baker to quit tennis and stop seeing her parents. He also threatened her if she were to ever have a soft drink "with any boy or man between 6 and 60."
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post #18 of 42 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz

Beckett as a child actor

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post #19 of 42 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz

Speaking of not entirely accurate-I may have been wrong on the head to head. (There could be early California results that change things)

Currently what I have gives Mo a 3-2 edge

July 1950 FI East Hampton Baker d Connolly 6-4 9-7
July 1951 SF Penn State Connolly d Baker 6-4 6-3
Aug 1951 QF Manchester Connolly d Baker 9-7 6-2
Sept1951 FI PSW Connolly d Baker 9-7 6-4
MAR 1954 SF La Jolla Fleitz d Connolly 6-0 6-4

*The 6-0 6-4 was probably Mo's worst defeat after 1950.
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post #20 of 42 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 05:04 PM
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Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz

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Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
That's an excellent question. I'll have to set to work on that.



That's correct. Louise had all sorts of troubles with her service toss as she got older. She had a habit of catching it a lot in later years. When I spoke with Louise by phone a few years back she had a lot to say about this match. Hopefully I kept notes! A couple of items I do recall from the conversation:

1. Brough had worked on her fitness in the winter months, running laps around the track in California.

2. A lunge volley won the match for her. It didn't happen at match point, but came at a crucial time as Louise was getting tired. Fleitz hit a sizzling passer that Louise managed to barely stab at for a winner. Louise told me "I was seeing this French fella"... The "French fella" was sitting in the player's box near the Fleitz camp and told her after the match that Bev's husband felt it was the turning point.
It just shows you what a champion and an athlete Brough was. To be at that stage of her career and still have the hunger to go training and maintain the drive is remarkable. From how I interpret it many people felt at the emergence of Connolly that she was finished at grand slam winning level. But you can never write a great player off- they tend to come back!!
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post #21 of 42 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 05:05 PM
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Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz

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Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
That statement is not entirely accurate. Fleitz was clearly the most famous mom on tour-but not the only one. Pat Todd also played after having kids, as did some less promnent women.
It is amazing I feel whenever a woman can combine tennis and motherhood. Plus in the fifties there must have been the social pressure to stop playing.
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post #22 of 42 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 05:05 PM
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Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz

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Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
Bev was first married to actor Scotty Beckett in Spetember of 1949. Anyone ever seen "Little Rascals"? He was a famous child actor who killed his own career by getting in drunken brawls.

This is from IMDB
God that was a narrow escape for her- he sounds like a borderline psychopath!!!
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post #23 of 42 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 05:06 PM
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Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz

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Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
Speaking of not entirely accurate-I may have been wrong on the head to head. (There could be early California results that change things)

Currently what I have gives Mo a 3-2 edge

July 1950 FI East Hampton Baker d Connolly 6-4 9-7
July 1951 SF Penn State Connolly d Baker 6-4 6-3
Aug 1951 QF Manchester Connolly d Baker 9-7 6-2
Sept1951 FI PSW Connolly d Baker 9-7 6-4
MAR 1954 SF La Jolla Fleitz d Connolly 6-0 6-4

*The 6-0 6-4 was probably Mo's worst defeat after 1950.
What a defeat Rollo- 0 and 4? And even the Connolly wins were not easy.
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post #24 of 42 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 05:39 PM
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Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz

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Originally Posted by iainmac View Post
It just shows you what a champion and an athlete Brough was. To be at that stage of her career and still have the hunger to go training and maintain the drive is remarkable. From how I interpret it many people felt at the emergence of Connolly that she was finished at grand slam winning level. But you can never write a great player off- they tend to come back!!
Yes, but isn't there an asterisk against her 1955 Wimbledon title after the horrific accident to Mo Connolly in 1954?

Ah well, unlike some other people in some other threads I'm not going to claim I know what would have happened.

Margaret Thatcher - Michele Bachmann two strong women of our time.
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post #25 of 42 (permalink) Old Aug 4th, 2009, 12:14 PM
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Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz

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Originally Posted by iainmac View Post
Pretty impressive Wightman Cup wins over Mortimer and Truman Chris.
To be quite honest the British team never really travelled very well and let's face it, for such a good player Angela Mortimer's WC record is frankly cr*p.

Margaret Thatcher - Michele Bachmann two strong women of our time.
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post #26 of 42 (permalink) Old Aug 4th, 2009, 12:17 PM
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Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz

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Originally Posted by chris whiteside View Post
Yes, but isn't there an asterisk against her 1955 Wimbledon title after the horrific accident to Mo Connolly in 1954?

Ah well, unlike some other people in some other threads I'm not going to claim I know what would have happened.
That is exactly the point I have been making elsewhere Chris. It is not only Graf who has benefited in tennis history from the abscence of a rival!!!
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post #27 of 42 (permalink) Old Aug 4th, 2009, 12:18 PM
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Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz

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Originally Posted by chris whiteside View Post
To be quite honest the British team never really travelled very well and let's face it, for such a good player Angela Mortimer's WC record is frankly cr*p.
I know I have never understood how she managed to have such a bad Wightman Cup record. It is so poor next to Jones, Wade, Truman and Barker.
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post #28 of 42 (permalink) Old Aug 4th, 2009, 12:20 PM
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Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz

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Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
Speaking of not entirely accurate-I may have been wrong on the head to head. (There could be early California results that change things)

Currently what I have gives Mo a 3-2 edge

July 1950 FI East Hampton Baker d Connolly 6-4 9-7
July 1951 SF Penn State Connolly d Baker 6-4 6-3
Aug 1951 QF Manchester Connolly d Baker 9-7 6-2
Sept1951 FI PSW Connolly d Baker 9-7 6-4
MAR 1954 SF La Jolla Fleitz d Connolly 6-0 6-4

*The 6-0 6-4 was probably Mo's worst defeat after 1950.
If Mrs Fleitz had an h2h advantage over Maureen there probably were some victories at lesser Californian events in the late 40s/early 50s.

I love perusing h2h statistics but I do think they have to be treated cautiously as there is a certain superficiality to them.

Most players take several years to reach their optimum so an already established player can notch up a few victories over an upcoming one. In theory then this should balance out as the older player begins to decline but so often many players leave the game for whatever reasons while still relatively near the top so quite often only an in-depth examination of h2h stats can really tell the story.

Margaret Thatcher - Michele Bachmann two strong women of our time.
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post #29 of 42 (permalink) Old Aug 4th, 2009, 12:30 PM
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Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz

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Originally Posted by chris whiteside View Post
If Mrs Fleitz had an h2h advantage over Maureen there probably were some victories at lesser Californian events in the late 40s/early 50s.

I love perusing h2h statistics but I do think they have to be treated cautiously as there is a certain superficiality to them.

Most players take several years to reach their optimum so an already established player can notch up a few victories over an upcoming one. In theory then this should balance out as the older player begins to decline but so often many players leave the game for whatever reasons while still relatively near the top so quite often only an in-depth examination of h2h stats can really tell the story.
That as always from you is perceptive Chris. Bakers record against Connolly is superb. And full marks to her. But I guess it is safe to say that it was only in 52 that Connolly began to clearly define herself as an all time great. Therefore a few of the earlier results do not have quite the same weight as they would over the Connolly of 52-55. But no denying that Baker must have been some player!!
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post #30 of 42 (permalink) Old Aug 16th, 2009, 04:08 PM
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Re: Beverly Baker Fleitz

This is a good account of the Fleitz-Brough 1955 Wimbledon singles final. It's taken from a July 1955 of "Sports Illustrated":

Louise Brough entered the hall of Wimbledon fame today. She drew on every shot in her memory book and improvised a few more on the spur of the moment to defeat Mrs. Beverly Baker Fleitz of Long Beach, Calif. 7-5, 8-6, for the all-England women's tennis championship.

This singles match will live long in Wimbledon tradition. It rang on a high note from the first serve and enthralled a crowd of nearly 20,000.

Mrs. Fleitz was the favorite. She had smothered Doris Hart in straight sets to reach the final, and she had beaten Louise four times in a row around the world. She was rested and confident, faster afoot and infinitely better on ground strokes.

Louise played her the only way. She sliced one shot, drove another, always trying to break the lovely rhythm of Beverly's two-handed game. She used lobs and drop shots. She even went to the net, but that proved damaging. Bev passed her with consummate ease. Quickly in stride, Louise broke service and held hers. She was 3-1 when Bev double-faulted twice, and Louise dumped a teaser just over the barrier.

Then slugging little Beverly found her range. She barreled the ball down one side, put away the return on the other. Her shots were faster and deeper and all at once she led 4-3 and again at 5-4 after Miss Brough unaccountably hit a short volley far over the base line.

Louise took measures. She won her serve immaculately and then pulled the drop shot out of her repertoire. Mrs. Fleitz simply cannot handle the short ball and Broughie, biding her time, kept rallying from the deep court and suddenly pushed in a couple of floaters for outright winners. She had broken service at love.

In a tremendous rally Beverly fell down and then, unsettled, banged the next shot into net. Louise had the set.

In the ascendancy now, Louise mixed every wile and stratagem she has picked up in the 15 years since she was the American girls' champion.

A crisis came in the sixth game, Miss Brough serving. Five times Mrs. Fleitz had advantage, eight times in all the game went to deuce and finally Louise ripped a beautifully sliced backhand down the tape to lead 4-2.

Mrs. Fleitz merely hit the ball harder. No woman could stand against her pace now. She won 10 points in a row on a brilliant barrage that left Louise shaking her head helplessly as the shots thundered by. The audience roared as Beverly reached 5-4.

Louise took her own serve, broke her rival's but then the 25-year-old mother fired four rockets down the lines and it was 6-6 and anybody to win. Louise was clearly tired now. She was resting between points and having difficulty throwing the ball into the air for service. Miss Brough finally struggled up to advantage on Mrs. Fleitz's service. Then came the shot of the match.

A Fleitz drive down the left-hand side was weakly returned and Mrs. Fleitz hammered it down the other. Across court raced Louise. She lunged desperately and pulled off a gorgeous stop volley that just trickled over the net. It was, as she said later, a "determined bit of stretching."

That shot did it. It was Louise to serve and 7-6. She was 40-15, faltered long enough to double-fault and then leaped in the air as Bev weakly netted.

"I couldn't have gone on any longer." said Louise later. "The heart was there but the legs were gone."

The Duchess of Kent went to the court to present the large silver plate. "Wonderful tennis," she said. "Finest I have seen in years."
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