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20 sports facts from the end of WWII

Sixty-six years ago today, May 8, 1945 (a Tuesday) -- forever known as V-E Day -- the Allies announced the surrender of German military forces in Europe. Here are 20 facts about what was happening in the sports world when the war in Europe ended:

1. On May 8, 1945, the Yankees did not play, but two days before they split a doubleheader against the Red Sox in Boston.

2. The New York Giants also did not play on May 8, 1945, but two days earlier they, too, played Boston in a doubleheader, winning the first game, and tying the second against the Braves at the Polo Grounds.

3. The 1945 Brooklyn Dodgers had an offday on May 8, also, after sweeping a twinbill against the Phillies in Philadelphia two days earlier.

4. The Kentucky Derby, usually held the first Saturday in May, was not contested until June 9, 1945, and was won by Hoop Jr.

5. The Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons were the reigning professional basketball champions (NBL) after beating the Sheboygan Red Skins, 3-2, in the Finals.

6. On May 7, 1945, Branch Rickey announced the formation of the U.S. Negro Baseball League.

7. No one was practicing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Once again, the Indy 500 was not run because of World War II.

8. The Chicago Cardinals had the first pick in the NFL draft a month earlier and selected Georgia's Charley Trippi, a future Hall of Fame back.

9. In college basketball, Oklahoma A&M (name was changed to Oklahoma State in 1957), coached by Hank Iba, was the NCAA champion, having defeated NYU in the title game in New York City in March.

10. One-armed outfielder Pete Gray was batting .143 as an outfielder with the St. Louis Browns. He had made his major-league debut three weeks earlier.

11. On the PGA Tour, Byron Nelson was in the midst of his record streak of 11 straight victories. As of May 8, he had won five straight events and would finish the year with 18 victories.

12. The Toronto Maple Leafs were celebrating their win over the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals two weeks earlier.

13. In the Nassau High School boys basketball championship final in 1945, Sewanhaka defeated Mineola, 35-29, to win its first title. It remains the only Nassau boys hoops title the Indians have won. There were no Suffolk basketball playoffs from 1938-1945 because of the depression and World War II.

14. As they are today, the Green Bay Packers were reigning NFL champions, having defeated the New York Giants for the 1944 NFL title. The Cleveland Rams would win the 1945 championship, then move to Los Angeles.

15. The heavyweight boxing champion was Joe Louis, "The Brown Bomber", who held the crown from 1937 to 1949.

16. On May 8, 1945, Luis Olmo of Brooklyn (.409) and Tony Cuccinello of the Chicago White Sox (.381) were the batting leaders in the NL and AL, respectively.

17. John A. Kelley of Massachusetts was celebrating his victory in the Boston Marathon (winning time 2 hours, 30 minutes, 40 seconds).

18. In golf, neither The Masters, U.S. Open or British Open were contested in 1945 because of World War II.

19. Ohio State's Les Horvath had won the 1944 Heisman Trophy, but in May, 1945 he was preparing to graduate from dental school (in June) before spending two years in the U.S. Navy.

20. Once again, there was no Wimbledon men's or women's singles champion because the tournament was not held from 1940-45 because of World War II.

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