“Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Satchel Paige
Today in 1971 pitcher Leroy “Satchel” Paige became the first Negro League veteran to be nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame. In August of that year, Paige, a pitching legend known for his fastball, showmanship and the longevity of his playing career, which spanned five decades, was inducted. Joe DiMaggio once called Paige “the best and fastest pitcher I’ve ever faced.”
Paige was born in Mobile, Alabama, most likely on July 7, 1906, although the exact date remains a mystery. He earned his nickname, Satchel, as a boy when he earned money carrying passengers’ bags at train stations. Baseball was segregated when Paige started playing baseball professionally in the 1920s, so he spent most of his career pitching for Negro League teams around the United States. During the winter season, he pitched for teams in the Caribbean and Central and South America. As a barnstorming player who traveled thousands of miles each season, he pitched an estimated 2,500 games, had 300 shut-outs and 55 no-hitters. In one month in 1935, he reportedly pitched 29 consecutive games. Following year Jackie Robinson joined the Majors in 1947, Paige signed with the Cleveland Indians, baseball’s oldest rookie at age 42.
Paige retired from the majors in 1953, but returned in 1965 to pitch three innings for the Kansas City A’s. He was 59 at the time, making him the oldest person ever to play in the Major Leagues.
He died June 8, 1982, in Kansas City, Missouri.
Today in 1950 Joseph Raymond McCarthy, a relatively obscure Republican senator from Wisconsin, announced during a speech before the Ohio County Women’s Republican Club in Wheeling, West Virginia, that he had in his hand a list of 205 communists who infiltrated the U.S. State Department. The unsubstantiated declaration suddenly thrust Senator McCarthy into the national spotlight. Asked to reveal the names on the list, the senator named officials he determined guilty by association.
During the next two years he made increasingly sensational charges, even attacking President Harry S. Truman’s respected former secretary of state, George C. Marshall.
In 1953, a newly Republican Congress appointed McCarthy chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of Governmental Operations, and “McCarthyism” reached a fever pitch. In widely publicized hearings, McCarthy bullied defendants with unlawful and damaging accusations, destroying the reputations of hundreds of innocent citizens and officials.
In the early months of 1954, McCarthy finally overreached himself when he took on the U.S. Army. Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower pushed for an investigation of McCarthy’s conduct, and the televised hearings exposed the senator as a reckless and excessive tyrant who never produced proper documentation for any of his charges. In December, the Senate voted to condemn him for misconduct. By the time of his death from alcoholism in 1957, the influence of Senator Joseph McCarthy in Congress was negligible.
As no presidential candidate received a majority of electoral votes in the election of 1824, the U.S. House of Representatives voted today in 1825 to elect John Quincy Adams, who won fewer votes than Andrew Jackson in the popular election.
In the 1824 election, 131 electoral votes, just over half of the 261 total, were necessary to elect a candidate president. Although it had no bearing on the outcome of the election, popular votes were counted for the first time in this election. On December 1, 1824, the results were announced. Andrew Jackson won 99 electoral and 153,544 popular votes; John Quincy Adams received 84 electoral and 108,740 popular votes; William H. Crawford, who had suffered a stroke before the election, received 41 electoral votes; and Henry Clay won 37 electoral votes.
As dictated by the U.S. Constitution, the presidential election was then turned over to the House of Representatives. The 12th Amendment states that if no electoral majority is won, only the three candidates who receive the most popular votes will be considered in the House.
Representative Henry Clay, who was disqualified from the House vote as a fourth-place candidate, agreed to use his influence to have John Quincy Adams elected.
With little popular support, Adams’ time in the White House was for the most part ineffectual. In 1828, he was defeated in his reelection bid by Andrew Jackson, who received more than twice as many electoral votes than Adams.
Today in 1900 the solid silver trophy known today as the Davis Cup was first put up for competition when American collegian Dwight Filley Davis challenged British tennis players to come across the Atlantic and compete against his Harvard team.He personally spent $750 on the construction of an elegant silver trophy bowl, 13 inches high and 18 inches in diameter.
Great Britain, regarded as the world’s leading tennis power, answered Davis’ challenge, and on August 8, 1900, three top British players came to the Longwood Cricket Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, to compete against Davis and his all-Harvard team.
Davis had devised a three-day format for the event that still exists today: two singles matches on the first and third days, and a doubles match on the second day. Rain forced the cancellation of two of the singles matches, and the first Davis Cup ended with a 3-0 Harvard sweep.
The next year England took the trophy for the first time. In 1904, Belgium and France entered the Davis Cup competition, and soon after, Australia and New Zealand. The trophy did not return to the U.S. until 1913 and then stayed only for a year before departing for Australia.
Throughout his distinguished career as a statesman, Davis remained involved in tennis as both an avid recreational player and an administrator. In 1923, he served as president of the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association. When the International Lawn Tennis Challenge Trophy ran out of room for names, he donated a large silver tray to go with the bowl.
Today, the Davis Cup, as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge Trophy is commonly known, is the premier trophy of international team tennis. Each year, dozens of nations compete for the right to advance to the finals. Shortly before his death in 1945, David said of the growing prestige of the Davis Cup, “If I had known of its coming significance, it would have been cast in gold.”
Today in 1960, the official groundbreaking ceremony was held for the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The first star to be dedicated on the historic walkway belonged to actress Joanne Woodward.
After the official groundbreaking on the now-famous walk, construction continued for the next 16 months, and by the time it was over more than 1,500 actors, musicians and filmmakers had received stars. Today, the Walk of Fame lines both sides of Hollywood Boulevard. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce manages the walkway, which became an official landmark in 1978. New stars are added at a regular rate.
Jimmy Kimmel received the 2,489th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the Category of Television on January 25, 2013.
Today, in 1942 Congress imposed daylight saving time–called at the time “war time.”
Daylight saving time was suggested by President Roosevelt to conserve fuel, and can be traced back to World War I, when Congress imposed one standard time on the United States to enable the country to better utilize resources, following the European model.
The 1918 Standard Time Act was meant to be in effect for only seven months of the year–and was discontinued nationally after the war. But individual states continued to turn clocks ahead one hour in spring and back one hour in fall. The World War II daylight saving time for the nation for the entire year was repealed Sept. 30, 1945, when individual states once again mandated their own “standard” time. It was not until 1966 that Congress passed legislation setting a standard time that permanently superseded local habits.
Happy birthday William Henry Harrison, 9th President, born today in 1773 at Berkeley, Virginia.
Harrison served for 32 days in 1841, the shortest term ever. He is also credited with longest inaugural address in history at one hour and 45 minutes. And he is the last president to be born an English subject.
Harrison died in office April 4, 1841 at age 68. He is buried at William Henry Harrison Memorial State Park, North Bend, Ohio.