This Day in American History

This Day in American History

   1541 – Spanish conquistador de Soto and his forces enter Tula territory in present-day western Arkansas, encountering fierce resistance.
1630 – John Billington, one of the first pilgrims to land in America, was hanged for mur­der, becoming the first criminal to be executed in the American Colonies. He was one of the signers of the Pilgrim’s compact. He way-laid a young man, one John Newcomin (“about a former quarele, and shote him with a gune, whereof he dyed.”)
1659 – Peter Stuyvesant of New Netherlands (the Delmarva peninsula to extreme southwestern Cape Cod) forbade tennis playing during religious services.  This is believed to be the first reference to tennis in what would become the US.
1777 – With the British advancing, Congress fled to York, PA.
1787 – The first ship to carry the American flag around the world was the “Columbia,” a 212-ton vessel under Captain Kendrick that sailed from Boston, MA on a fur-trading mission to Canada. It was accompanied by the sloop “Washington,” under Captain Robert Gray, who exchanged commands with Captain Kendrick and completed the trip, returning to Boston on August 9, 1790. The trip took nearly three years and covered a distance of 41,899 miles. The crew explored the Queen Charlotte Island and discovered the straits of Juan de Fuca and the mouth of the Columbia River.
1788 – The Pennsylvania Legislature elected the first two members of the U.S. Senate – William Maclay of Harrisburg and Robert Morris of Philadelphia.
1811 – The first year exports exceeded imports. Imports were $43.5 million and exports were $45.3 million and of foreign merchandise (the territories) $16 million for total exports of $61.3 million.
1832 – Ann Jarvis, (d. 1905), the inspiration for Mothers’ Day, was born in Culpeper, VA.
1846 – William Thomas Green Morton (1819-68) was an American dentist who first publicly demonstrated the use of inhaled ether as a surgical anesthetic, in Boston.
1851 – The barge “Mount Washington” arrived in port with cargo that included macaroni and other foods, candles, soap, fishing nets, books and mail. Mail was delivered to the post master by Capt. Ebenezer G. Libby.
1861 – William Wrigley, Jr., (d. 1932) was born in Philadelphia.  He was founder of the Wm. Wrigley, Jr. Company in 1891, rumored to have co-founded his namesake company with a lesser known Canadian named J.W. Flavelle, who was a close childhood friend.
1882 – Edison’s first commercial hydroelectric power plant (later known as Appleton Edison Light Company) begins operation on the Fox River in Appleton, WI.
1904 – White Sox pitcher Doc White threw his fifth shutout in eighteen days. The southpaw pitched six of his season total of seven shutouts in September.
1917 – Drummer Buddy Rich (d. 1987) birthday, Brooklyn.  He performed with many bandleaders, most notably Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Count Basie, and led his own “Buddy Rich Big Band”.
1922 – Bassist Oscar Pettiford (d. 1960) was born, Okmulgee, OK.  He was one of the earliest musicians to work in the bebop idiom.
1924 – American novelist and literary celebrity was born Truman Streckfus Persons (d. 1984) at New Orleans, LA. He later took the name of his stepfather and became Truman Capote. Among his best remembered books: “Other Voices, Other Rooms,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”and “In Cold Blood.”He was working on a new novel, “Answered Prayers,”at the time of his death.
1924 – 48-year-old Nick Altrock pitched the last two innings for the Nationals and gave up a run, while driving in the lone tally with a triple. With the Red Sox outfielders making little attempt to run the ball down, Altrock became and still is, the oldest player in Major League history to hit a triple.
1926 – Phillies’ Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts (d. 2010) was born in Springfield, IL.  Roberts won 286 games in a 19-year career with a 3.24 ERA for mostly horrible Phillies teams.  One of baseball’s great pitchers of the 1950s, he was a workhorse who eight times had over 20 complete games in a season and averaged over 300 innings pitched during a nine-year period. He won 20 or more games in six seasons, and at least ten games in 16 ML seasons.
1927 – George Herman ‘Babe” Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season off Tom Zachary of the Washington Senators, breaking his own record of 59. Ruth’s record for the most homers in a single season stood for 34 years until Roger Mans hit 61 in 1961. In the 9th, Walter Johnson, made his final appearance before retiring.
1928 – Elie Wiesel (d. 2016) was born in Romania.  An American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor, he was the author of 57 books, written mostly in French and English, including “Night,“ a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in Auschwitz and Buchenwald during World War II.  He was also a professor of the humanities at Boston University, which created the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies in his honor. He was involved with Jewish causes, helped establish the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and remained a strong defender of human rights during his lifetime. He had been described as “the most important Jew in America” by the Los Angeles Times.  Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.
1934 – The Babe played his last game for the New York Yankees. Soon after, while watching the fifth game of the World Series (between St. Louis and Detroit) and angry that he was not to be named Yankees manager, Ruth told Joe Williams, sports editor of the Scripps-Howard newspapers, that after 15 sea­sons he would no longer be playing for the Yankees.
1935 – Singer Johnny Mathis born Gilmer, Texas.  Starting his career with singles of standard music, he became highly popular as an album artist, with several dozen of his albums achieving gold or platinum status and 73 making the Billboard charts to date. Mathis has sold well over 350 million records worldwide, according to “Guinness Book of World Records” writer and charts music historian Paul Gambaccini and other sources. This makes Mathis the third biggest selling artist of the 20th century.
1935 – The Hoover Dam is dedicated.
1935 – The Gershwin musical “Porgy and Bess” opens at Boston’s Colonial Theatre. While not commercially successful, a revival in 1942 would turn it into one of the longest-running musicals in history.
1939 – NBC broadcast the first televised football game between the Waynesburg State Yellow Jackets and the Fordham University Rams. Fordham won the game 34–7.
1946 – The military tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany found 22 top Nazi leaders guilty of war crimes.
1947 – The first World Series to be televised opened with the New York Yankees beating the Brooklyn Dodgers, 5-3. Dodgers’ rookie, Ralph Branca, at age 21, became the youngest pitcher to start a World Series game.  The Yankees won the Series, four games to three. The entire series was telecast under the joint sponsorship of the Ford Motor Company and the Gillette Safety Razor Company at a cost of $65,000. The play-by-play descriptions were given by Bob Edge, Bob Stanton, and Bill Slater.
1951 – ”Red Skelton Show” premiers. Vaudevillian and radio per­former Red Skelton hosted several popular variety shows on NBC and CBS in a career that spanned 20 years. He was a gifted comedian, famous for his loony characters, sight gags, pan­tomimes and ad-libs. His show was also notable for introducing Johnny Carson and the Rolling Stones to national audiences.
1951 – Jackie Robinson hit an upper-deck home run in the 14th inning off Robin Roberts, who came on in the 8th, to give the Dodgers a critical 9-8 win over the Phillies. Robbie saved the game in the 13th by making a great catch of a line drive and throwing to second base for a double play. The Dodgers overcame a 6-1 deficit to win and set the stage for a playoff with the Giants.
1954 – Julie Andrews makes her Broadway debut in “The Boy Friend.”
1954 – The world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus, was commissioned.
1955 – James Dean meets his end. It was at the intersection of what are now highways 41 and 46 (41 and 466 then) at Cholame, California. He was 25 miles away from US 101 and would have taken that road. Dean was on his way from LA to Monterey to race his Porsche. Most people think it was Dean’s fault, probably due to speed, and he did get a speeding ticket earlier that day, but police at the scene don’t believe he was speeding at the time. Besides, his aluminum Porsche was no match for a big heavy Ford. This is a Y intersection, and Dean had the right of way. He was headed west on 466 into the setting sun and didn’t see the approaching Ford.  The Ford driver probably didn’t see the silver Porsche, and turned left in front of Dean onto 41 toward Kettleman City. No time to stop. I’ve been to that location. I still have my 1961 Super 90.
1956 – Top Hits
“Canadian Sunset” – Hugo Winterhalter and Eddie Heywood
“The Flying Saucer” (Parts 1 and 2) – Buchanan and Goodman
“Honky Tonk” (Parts 1 and 2) – Bill Doggett
“Don’t Be Cruel/Hound Dog” – Elvis Presley
1960 – ”The Flintstones” premiered on ABC-TV. This Hanna-Barbera cartoon comedy was set in prehistoric times. Characters included two Stone Age families, Fred and Wilma Flintstone and neighbors Barney and Betty Rubble. It is widely believed that this was a take-off on “The Honeymooners” as the Fred character was the loud, boisterous persona of Ralph Kramden, and the goofy, comedic Barney was similar to Ed Norton.  Also, Wilma had Alice’s dark hair while Betty was a blonde as was Trixie.  In 1994, “The Flintstones” movie was released, star­ring John Goodman, Rick Moranis and Rosie O’Donnell. It also was the first cartoon series to be televised on prime-time.
1960 – On Howdy Doody’s last TV show, Clarabelle, played by Bob Keeshan who later became Captain Kangaroo, finally talks: “Goodbye Kids.”
1961 – Bob Dylan plays harmonica on three cuts recorded for his friend Caroline Hester’s first Columbia album. The session is produced by John Hammond and he is so impressed that he promptly signs Dylan to a deal. Now that Dylan is a part of Columbia Records, Hammond arranges for a solo recording session in October.
1961 – An early season snowfall occurred over the northern plains with the greatest total (4 inches in the Ulm-Mankato area in Minnesota). Omaha, NE had its first September snow in 70 years.
1962 – Rioting broke out when James Meredith became the first black to enroll in the all-white University of Mississippi. President Kennedy sent 3000 US troops to the area to force compli­ance with the law. Three people died in the fighting and 50 were injured. The next day, Meredith was enrolled and began to attend classes amid continuing disruption by protestors. On June 6, 1966, Meredith was shot while participating in a civil rights march at Mississippi. On June 25, Meredith, barely recovered, rejoined the marchers near Jackson, MS.
1962 – The National Farm Workers Association, founded by Cesar Chavez and a forerunner of the United Farm Workers, held its first meeting in Fresno, Calif.
1964 – Top Hits
“Oh, Pretty Woman” – Roy Orbison
“Bread and Butter” – The Newbeats
“G.T.O.” – Ronny and The Daytonas
“I Guess I’m Crazy” – Jim Reeves
1966 – Three-day Acid Test opened at San Francisco State College Commons. The test was to peak on the evening of Oct. 1. The Grateful Dead perform.  Posters from this era are quite the collector items.
1966 – At Comiskey Park in the top of the ninth inning, Roger Maris, in his last at-bat as a Yankee, slams a two-run home run as a pinch-hitter putting the club ahead of the White Sox, 5-4. As the slugger contemplates retirement, the former two-time American League MVP is stunned and embarrassed when New York trades him in the off-season to the Cardinals for utility player Charley Smith.  After his record-setting year in 1961, Maris suffered a series of injuries, including a mis-diagnosed broken wrist, that kept him idle for long stretches and gradually, he fell out of favor with the fans and Yankees management.  It is notable that in his two years with the Cardinals, they went to the World Series both years and won in ‘67 over the Boston Red Sox.  Maris hit .385 with two homers in that Series.  For his career, he was on three World Series winners of a total of seven Series appearances.
1967 – Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl” peaks at #10 on the singles chart.
1967 – 13th Floor Elevators; Quicksilver Messenger Service at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco, presented by the Family Dog collective.
1968 – The Boeing 747 was rolled out and shown to the public for the first time at the Boeing factory in Everett, WA.
1970 – A nineteen-month drought in southern California came to a climax. The drought, which made brush and buildings tinder dry, set up the worst fire conditions in California history as hot Santa Anna winds sent the temperature soaring to 105 degrees at Los Angeles, and to 97 degrees at San Diego. During that last week of September, whole communities of interior San Diego County were consumed by fire. Half a million acres were burned, and the fires caused fifty million dollars damage.
1972 – Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates doubled against New York Mets pitcher Jon Matlack as the Pirates defeated the Mets, 5-0. It was Clemente’s 3,000 career hit and his last one as he was killed in a plane crash on Dec 31, delivering relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
1972 – Top Hits
“Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me” – Mac Davis
“Saturday in the Park” – Chicago
“Back Stabbers” – O’Jays
“I Ain’t Never” – Mel Tillis
1976 – California became the first state to enact a “Right-to-Die” law, which allowed physicians of terminally ill patients to withhold life-sustaining procedures under certain conditions.
1976 – “Two Centuries of Black American Art” opens at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibit features over 60 lithographers, painters, and sculptors including 19th century masters Joshua Johnston, Edward Bannister, and Henry O. Tanner as well as modern artists Charles White, Romar Bearden, and Elizabeth Catlett. The exhibit’s catalogue notes that the assembled artists’ work proves “the human creative impulse can triumph in the face of impossible odds, and at times even because of them.”
1977 – The Rolling Stones release their “Bridges to Babylon” LP.
1977 – The temperature at Wichita Falls, TX, soared to 108 degrees to establish a record for September.
1977 – “Kiss You All Over” by Exile topped the charts and stayed there for 4 weeks.
1980 – Ethernet technologies specifications, commonly used in LANs and metropolitan area networks, were published by Xerox working with Intel and Digital Equipment Corp.
1980 – Top Hits
“Upside Down” – Diana Ross
“All Out of Love” – Air Supply
“Another One Bites the Dust” – Queen
“Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You” – Dolly Parton
1982 – ”Cheers” premiered. NBC sitcom revolving around the owner, employees and patrons of a Beacon Street bar at Boston. Original cast: Ted Dan­son as owner Sam “Mayday” Malone, Shelley Long and Rhea Perlman as waitresses Diane Chambers and Carla Tortelli, Nicholas Colasanto as bartender Ernie “Coach” Pantusso, John Ratzenberger as mail­man Cliff Clavin and George Wendt as accountant Norm Peter­son. Later cast members: Woody Harrelson as bartender Woody Boyd, Kelsey Grammar as Dr. Frasier Crane, Kirstie Alley as Rebecca Howe and Babe Neuwirth as Dr. Lilith Sternin Crane. The theme song “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” was sung by Gary Portnoy and written by him and Judy Hart Angelo. Cre­ated by Glen Charles, Les Charles and James Burrows. The last episode aired Aug 19, 1993.
1982 – Cyanide-laced Tylenol killed six in the Chicago area. Seven were killed in all.  The incidents led to reforms in the packaging of over-the-counter substances and to federal anti-tampering laws. The actions of Johnson& Johnson to reduce deaths and warn the public of poisonings risks has been widely praised as an exemplary response to such a crisis.
1984 – “Murder, She Wrote” premiers. Angela Lansbury starred as crime novelist Jessica Fletcher from Cabot Cove, Maine, who traveled the country solving murders. This top-rated detective show was unusual in having an older female star, since young men are usu­ally preferred in leading roles on TV. Also appearing were Tom Bosley as Sheriff Amos Tupper and William Windom as Dr. Seth Hazlett. The program ran for 12 years.
1984 – Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly wins the American League batting title with a .343 average, finishing three points higher than teammate Dave Winfield. It was the first of six consecutive seasons that ‘Donnie Baseball’ will finish hitting over .300, but will prove to be his only batting crown during a 14-year Major League career.
1985 – An early season snowstorm covered the Arrowhead region of Minnesota with 7 to 9 inches of snow. 7 inches fell at Babbitt and Aurora, 7.5 inches at Isabella and 8.5 inches at Polar Lake. This was believed to be the most ever for September in this region.
1987 – Afternoon thunderstorms in Michigan produced hail an inch in diameter at Pinckney, and wind gusts to 68 mph at Wyandotte. A thunderstorm in northern Indiana produced wet snow at South Bend. Seven cities in the northwestern U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date, including readings of 98 degrees at Medford, OR and 101 degrees at downtown Sacramento, CA
1988 – Pitcher Orel Hershiser of the Los Angeles Dodgers extended his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 59, thereby breaking Don Drysdale’s mark by one inning. Hershiser shut out the San Diego Padres for 10 innings, but the Padres won the game 2-1, in 16 innings.
1988 – Ronald Reagan, nearing the end of his presidency, throws out the ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field. The former Cub announcer then spends an inning and a half doing play-by-play with Harry Caray in the WGN television booth
1988 – Top Hits
“Don’t Worry Be Happy” – Bobby McFerrin
“I’ll Always Love You” – Taylor Dayne
“Love Bites” – Def Leppard
“Addicted” – Dan Seals
1988 – Unseasonably warm weather prevailed over Florida, and in the western U.S. The afternoon high of 94 degrees at Fort Myers, FL was their tenth record high for the month. Highs of 98 degrees at Medford, OR and 99 degrees at Fresno, CA were records for the date, and the temperature at Borrego Springs, CA soared to 108 degrees.
1992 – George Brett of the Kansas City Royals singled off Tom Fortugno of the California Angeles in the 7th inning, thus recording the 3,000th hit of his Major League career. The single gave Brett four hits in a game for the 59th time. He was accorded a standing ovation and became so distracted that he was picked off first.
1995 – “Fantasy” by Mariah Carey topped the charts and stayed there for 8 weeks.
1997 – For the first time ever in Major League postseason history, three consecutive homers were hit in a game.  The Yankees’ Tim Raines, Derek Jeter, and Paul O’Neill turned the trick.
1999 – The largest regular-season crowd in San Francisco Candlestick Park history, 61,389 fans, watch the Dodgers beat the home team, 9-4 in the last baseball game to ever be played at the ‘Stick.’ Giant greats help mark the occasion with Juan Marichal tossing out the ceremonial first pitch before the game and Willie Mays throwing out the ballpark’s final pitch after the game. Sue and I were there.
2000 – In the highest scoring game in A’s franchise history, Oakland defeats the Rangers 23-2 to remain a half-game ahead of the Mariners for the western division lead as Seattle scores the most runs ever against the Angels, 21-9, assuring the team at least a tie for the American League wild card.
2004 – Merck & Co. pulled Vioxx, its heavily promoted arthritis drug, from the market after a study found it doubled the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
2007 – The Green Bay Packers’ QB, Brett Favre, throws the 421st TD pass of his career, breaking the NFL career record for most TD passes.
2013 – GlaxoSmithKline sold its thrombosis drug brands to Aspen Pharmacare for $1.13 billion.

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