August 19, 1940
Basketball player Hazel Walker’s husband was killed in a Santa Fe rail yard switching accident in Pomona, California. In her grief, the twenty-six-year-old widow turned even more fervently to basketball. Recognized as the greatest amateur women’s basketball player of the 1930s and 1940s, eleven-time Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) All-American Hazel Walker was the only woman ever to own, manage, and star for her own professional basketball team. For sixteen seasons, from 1949 to 1965, Walker’s Arkansas Travelers barnstormed the country playing only men’s teams under men’s rules and winning eighty to eighty-five percent of their games.