Entries - Entry Category: Individual and Team Sports - Starting with D

Daisy Outdoor Products

Daisy Outdoor Products is the world’s oldest and largest marketer of airguns and airgun accessories. With the town’s name stamped on every Daisy airgun made since 1958, Rogers (Benton County) is well known as the home of Daisy Outdoor Products. However, the company was not always located in Rogers, nor was it always in the airgun business. Daisy traces its history to the founding of the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company in Plymouth, Michigan. Windmills in use throughout the country had traditionally been made of wood. The idea of a steel windmill was conceived by Clarence J. Hamilton, a watch repairman working in the front window of a drug and jewelry store in Plymouth. Hamilton secured a patent, and the Plymouth …

Daly, John Patrick

John Patrick Daly has been a professional golfer on the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour since 1990, having stunned the golf world by winning the PGA Championship as a rookie. He owns a golf course in his hometown of Dardanelle (Yell County), and he is a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. John Daly was born the youngest of three children on April 28, 1966, in Carmichael, California, to Jim Daly, a construction worker on nuclear power facilities, and Lou Daly. Daly’s family moved to Dardanelle when he was five because his father took a job at Nuclear One in Russellville (Pope County), and he began playing golf soon after. The family moved several times as his father …

Darter, Dawn Barlow

Dawn Barlow Darter is a longtime golf professional. While she played some tournaments, three times qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open, she has spent the bulk of her career as a club pro. She worked at a number of different clubs both in and out of Arkansas before becoming the pro at The Greens in her hometown of Sherwood (Pulaski County), on the course that backed up to her childhood home and where she first learned the game. Dawn Marie Barlow was born on July 7, 1959, in Sherwood to Owen Gene Barlow Sr. and Dawn Barlow. She has two sisters and a brother. As a child, she was torn between golf and softball, but with the family’s house backing …

Davis, William Delford (Willie)

Willie Davis was a millionaire business executive, civic leader, and former football standout who grew up in Miller County. Davis achieved athletic success in football at the high school, college, and professional levels. After retiring from a National Football League (NFL) career of twelve seasons (1958–1969), he moved into the business world, where he attained equal success. Davis was a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. William Delford (Willie) Davis was born on July 24, 1934, in Lisbon, Louisiana, to David and Nodie Davis. After his parents separated when he was eight, his mother moved the family to Texarkana (Miller County). His mother supported the family by working as a cook at the Texarkana Country Club. Willie Davis …

Davis, William Henry (Willie)

William Henry (Willie) Davis was a professional baseball player who spent eighteen years in the major leagues before retiring at the end of the 1979 season. Spending most of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Davis played a key role on the franchise’s 1963 and 1965 World Series championship teams, and, while he finished his career with the California Angels, Davis held a number of Los Angeles Dodgers batting records at the time of his retirement. Willie Davis was born on April 15, 1940, in Mineral Springs (Howard County), but he grew up in Los Angeles, California. A multi-sport athletic star at Theodore Roosevelt High School, Davis was a world-class performer in track and field, specializing in the 100-yard dash …

Day, Clyde “Pea Ridge”

Known as the “hog-calling pitcher” in a baseball career spanning the 1920s and early 1930s, Clyde Henry “Pea Ridge” Day transported his considerable talents, his hometown’s name, and a slice of the lively culture of the Arkansas hills onto the national scene. Day’s fun-loving showmanship and competitive spirit brought rare publicity to his hometown and home state. Clyde Henry Day was born on August 25, 1899, the second child of James (Jim) and Elizabeth Day. Day’s family lived on a farm and operated a steam-powered sawmill three miles north of Pea Ridge (Benton County), near the Missouri state line. His birthplace is taken to be Pea Ridge, although family members think the actual birth may have taken place in McDonald …

Day, Patrick Alan (Pat)

Patrick Alan Day is a retired thoroughbred jockey with 8,803 victories, many of which came at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs (Garland County). Born on October 13, 1953, in Brush, Colorado, Pat Day wrestled in high school, once winning the state championship for his weight class. After graduating, he participated briefly in professional rodeo bull riding before turning his attention to thoroughbred horse racing. Standing four feet eleven inches tall and weighing about 100 pounds, Day adapted quickly to the sport, riding Foreblunged to his first career victory on July 29, 1973, at the Prescott Downs Racetrack in Prescott, Arizona. Day dominated thoroughbred racing throughout the Midwest in the 1970s and secured his first major win on the East …

Dean, “Dizzy”

aka: Jay Hanna Dean
Jay Hanna “Dizzy” Dean was a professional baseball player and radio and television baseball broadcaster who was later inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. Dean and his younger brother, Paul, pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals during the team’s “Gashouse Gang” era of the 1930s. Along with the aging Babe Ruth, “Dizzy” Dean was considered baseball’s major drawing card during the Depression years of the 1930s. Born in Lucas (Logan County) on January 16, 1910, Jay Dean was the son of Albert Monroe “Ab” Dean, a tenant farmer and sawmill worker, and Alma Nelson Dean. His Arkansas childhood was not an easy one. His mother died in 1918 from tuberculosis, and …

Dean, Paul

aka: Paul Dee "Daffy" Dean
Like his brother, Jay Hanna “Dizzy” Dean, Paul Dee “Daffy” Dean was a baseball player who enjoyed his greatest success as a teammate with his brother on the St. Louis Cardinals. Due to injuries, Paul Dean had only two truly successful years in the major leagues, though he attempted numerous comebacks. However, the Dean brothers’ 1934 and 1935 seasons are well remembered by baseball historians. Paul Dean was born on August 14, 1913, in Lucas (Logan County) to sharecroppers Albert Monroe Dean and Alma Nelson Dean. He became a professional baseball player in 1932 by signing with Houston of the Texas League. In 1934, he joined his brother on the pitching staff of the St. Louis Cardinals, prompting Dizzy’s famous …

Dickey-Stephens Park

Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) is the home of the Arkansas Travelers baseball team. It has seating for more than 7,000, including 5,800 in fixed seats, with additional room for approximately 1,500 on the berm. Previously, the team played at Ray Winder Field in Little Rock (Pulaski County), which opened in 1932. On August 9, 2005, North Little Rock voters approved a temporary one-percent sales tax providing $28 million for the new ballpark. The land was donated by Warren Stephens, the CEO of Stephens, Inc., who also donated $440,494 for the project. Park revenue brought in $5.6 million for construction, and $15,000 was given by the North Little Rock City Beautiful Commission. The ballpark features a plaque …

Dickey, Bill

aka: William Malcolm Dickey
William Malcolm (Bill) Dickey is considered by baseball historians to be one of the best catchers in baseball history. Dickey played and later coached for the New York Yankees during that club’s dominance from the late 1920s to the early 1960s. His years as a player and coach are seen as a bridge that connects the great Yankees teams of those years. It is doubtful that any baseball figure can match the team success Dickey enjoyed as a player and coach. Combined, player/coach Dickey’s teams won seventeen American League titles and fourteen World Series (and Dickey was named to eleven All-Star teams in his playing career). That team success combined with Dickey’s individual performance made for an extraordinary career. Bill …

Dodson v. Arkansas Activities Association

Dodson v. Arkansas Activities Association (1979) was a federal court decision concerning the rules for girls’ junior high and high school basketball in Arkansas. Diana Lee Dodson, then a fourteen-year-old student in the Arkadelphia (Clark County) public school system, filed a lawsuit against the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA), the governing body of public and private school athletic programs, asking that girls in Arkansas be permitted to play under the same full-court basketball rules as Arkansas boys played. Arkansas schools at that time required that basketball for girls be played under “half-court” rules. In this version of the game, which had been played in Arkansas and other states since at least the World War II era, girls’ teams had six players. …

Downing, Margaret Ruth

Margaret Downing was a pioneer in women’s sports, especially basketball, in Arkansas in the second half of the twentieth century. Her coaching accomplishments covered a wide range of sports, and she did much to help Southern Arkansas University (SAU)—where she spent the bulk of her career—transition into the new world of intercollegiate athletics ushered in by the enactment of Title IX. Margaret Ruth Downing was born on August 22, 1931, in Waldo (Columbia County). She grew up in Waldo before pursuing her undergraduate education at Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas), in Conway (Faulkner County) graduating in 1953 with a BSE. She earned a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee in 1960 before earning her …

Drake, Solomon Louis “Solly,” Jr.

Solomon “Solly” Drake was a major league baseball utility outfielder during the 1950s. He and his brother Sammy, who played in the 1960s, were the first African American brothers to play major league baseball in the modern era. Solomon Louis Drake Jr. was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on October 23, 1930. He was the oldest of the three children of Solomon Drake and Jessie Reed Drake. He was raised in Little Rock, graduating in 1948 from Dunbar High School. During his high school years, he was a multi-sport athlete and a member of the National Honor Society. Almost immediately after graduation, he was signed by the minor league baseball team Elmwood Giants of the Mandak League in Canada. …

Dunaway, Hollie “Hot Stuff”

Hollie “Hot Stuff” Dunaway is a model, wrestler, and former professional boxer. From 2003 to 2013, fighting at the minimum weight (98–115 pounds) and flyweight levels, the diminutive Dunaway (her height is generally listed at about five feet) crafted a successful career in the developing world of women’s boxing, winning numerous flyweight and minimum weight world titles. Hollie Natashia Dunaway was born on October 18, 1984, in Van Buren (Crawford County). Little about her family or her youth is known. She first became attracted to boxing while watching female boxers training at the World Class Fitness Center in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). Even though she had never seen a professional boxing match, she decided that she wanted to pursue a …

Dunaway, Michael Lee (Mike)

Mike Dunaway suffered a permanent injury to his back playing football for the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner County), so he took up the game of golf and became an international legend for consistently driving a golf ball farther off the tee than anyone in the world. He parlayed that skill into a career, creating celebrity tournaments and founding golf’s 350 Club, as well as the Long Drivers Association of America. His publicity stunts, popular instructional videos, celebrity events, and camaraderie with a few of professional golf’s legends made him famous, although he never perfected the rest of his golf game to become a tournament golfer. Michael Lee Dunaway was born in Conway on February 1, 1955, …