Nancy Chaffee Whitaker (March 6, 1929 – August 11, 2002) was an American female tennis player who was active in the 1950s.

Nancy Chaffee
Chaffee, circa 1950
Full nameNancy Chaffee Whitaker
Country (sports) United States
Born(1929-03-06)March 6, 1929
Ventura, California, United States
DiedAugust 11, 2002(2002-08-11) (aged 73)
Coronado, California, United States
Highest rankingNo. 4 (1951)
Grand Slam singles results
Wimbledon4R (1950)
US OpenSF (1950)
Grand Slam doubles results
US OpenF (1951)

Chaffee won the national girls' 18-and-under title in 1947. She won the U.S. Indoor National Championships, played at the Seventh Regiment Armory in Manhattan, from 1950 through 1952, defeating Althea Gibson, Beverly Baker, and Patricia Canning Todd in the finals.[1] Chaffee reached the singles semifinals of the 1950 U.S. National Championships as an unseeded player but was beaten in three sets by first-seeded and eventual champion Margaret Osborne.[2] She was ranked a career-high world No. 4 at the end of 1951.[2]

Her best performance at a Grand Slam tournament was reaching the women's doubles final with Canning Todd at the 1951 U.S. National Championships, where they were defeated in straight sets by Shirley Fry and Doris Hart.[3] At the 1951 Wightman Cup, she won her doubles match as the U.S. defeated Great Britain 6–1.[1]

On October 13, 1951, she married baseball star Ralph Kiner with whom she had three children.[1] After her marriage, which ended in divorce in 1968, she only occasionally played competitive tennis.[4] She married to sportscaster Jack Whitaker in 1991.[1]

Chaffee became a sports commentator for ABC, developed tennis programs at resorts, and in 1992, co-founded the Cartier tennis tournament in Long Island's East Hampton, an amateur mixed-doubles fund-raising event to benefit the American Cancer Society.[1][5] She died on August 11, 2002, from complications of cancer.[6]

Grand Slam finals



Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 1951 U.S. Championships Grass   Patricia Todd   Shirley Fry
  Doris Hart
4–6, 2–6


  1. ^ a b c d e Richard Goldstein (August 16, 2002). "Nancy Chaffee Whitaker, 73, Tennis Player". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b "Nancy Chaffee, 73". Chicago Tribune. August 14, 2002.
  3. ^ Bud Collins (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis (2nd ed.). New York City: New Chapter Press. p. 480. ISBN 978-0942257700.
  4. ^ Bruce Weber (February 6, 2014). "Ralph Kiner, Slugger Who Became a Voice of the Mets, Dies at 91". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Taking Up a Tennis Racquet to Fight Cancer". The New York Times. September 15, 1996.
  6. ^ "Chaffee was highly ranked during 1950s". ESPN. August 12, 2002.