Sport: Superlatives, 1945

The year's general inefficiency in sport had been almost buried under plans for the bright new year to come. A few facts would live:

Swiftest 100 yards ever swum by man: 49.4 seconds, by Yale's knock-kneed, rusty-haired freestyler, Alan Ford (now an ensign).

Closest to the mythical four-minute-mile: lean-legged Gunder Hägg's 4:01.4 record (under fire while Sweden decided the controversial issue of Hagg's amateur status).

Wildest horse-betting spree in U.S. history: $1,306,514,314 bet by 17 million addicts to top by 16% 1944's alltime high.

Year's lowest 18-hole stroke average: Byron Nelson's 68.33, good for 19 pro golf tourney wins and an unprecedented $66,600 in...