Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…

Babe Zaharias dies of cancer

September 27th, 1956

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Image taken at random from the related Handbook of Texas entry, Zaharias, Mildred Ella Didrikson [Babe]

On this day in 1956, Mildred Ella (Babe) Zaharias died at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston. She was born in Port Arthur and played semi-pro basketball with the Golden Cyclones while employed by Employers Casualty Company of Dallas. She was an all-around track and field star in the 1932 Amateur Athletic Union Championships, where she broke four world records. In the 1932 Olympics she set three world records. After turning to golf in 1933, she won the Texas Women's Amateur Golf Championship before being ruled ineligible as an amateur. In 1948 she helped found the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Babe was the LPGA's leading money winner between 1949 and 1951. After a cancer operation in 1953 she went on to win five more tournaments, and also played for cancer benefit tournaments. In 1955 she established the Babe Zaharias Trophy to honor outstanding women athletes. She was forty-five when she died. She is buried in Beaumont.

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