Today in History

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  1. limbkiller

    limbkiller Pulling my hair. Supporting Addict

    Aug 18, 2011
    Satchel Paige nominated to Baseball Hall of Fame

    On this day in 1971, pitcher Leroy “Satchel” Paige becomes 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 and played for whichever team met his asking price, 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.

    In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier and became the first African American to play in the Major Leagues when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. The following year, Paige also entered the majors, signing with the Cleveland Indians and becoming, at age 42, baseball’s oldest rookie. He helped the Indians win the pennant that year and later played for the St. Louis Browns and Kansas City A’s.

    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. In addition to being famous for his talent and longevity, Paige was also well-known for his sense of humor and colorful observations on life, including: “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you” and “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

    He died June 8, 1982, in Kansas City, Missouri.

    William Henry Harrison is born

    On this day in 1773, future President William Henry Harrison is born on the Berkeley Plantation in Virginia.

    Harrison went on to serve as the ninth U.S. president for a brief 32 days in 1841, the shortest term ever served. Harrison is also credited with the record for the longest inaugural address in history. Delivered on a bitterly cold March morning, it clocked in at one hour and 45 minutes. He was also the last president to be born an English subject.

    A native of Virginia, Harrison grew up in a wealthy, politically active household–his father served as governor of Virginia for three terms. He attended college with the intent of studying medicine, but opted to join the army before finishing his degree. As a soldier, Harrison earned a reputation for bravery for his participation in the Indian Wars of the Northwest Territories and the Battle of the Thames River in Ontario during the War of 1812. John Adams appointed Harrison secretary of the Northwest Territories (present-day Indiana and Illinois) in 1798 and shortly thereafter he accepted Adam’s offer to serve as the region’s governor.

    In 1811, Harrison earned the nickname Old Tippecanoe after leading a brutal, but successful, attack against Tecumseh’s Shawnee tribe at Tippecanoe Creek in what is now Indiana. As governor, Harrison drew up several restrictive and one-sided treaties with Native American tribes who held desirable land. In one of his stingiest treaties, he agreed to pay a tribe a mere one cent for every 200 acres, a deal which gave the United States 51 million acres for a pittance and opened a wide swath of the West to white settlement.

    Harrison married Anna Tuthill Symmes in 1795. The couple had eight children of their own; Harrison also adopted Anna’s son John from a previous marriage. Six of his children died prior to Harrison’s campaign for the presidency. Daughters Mary and Elizabeth survived their father, but only by several years. His last remaining child, Anna, died in 1865.

    Boosted by a successful military and political career, which included stints in the U.S. Congress, Ohio Senate and as U.S. ambassador to Colombia, Harrison ran for president in 1840, choosing John Tyler to run with him on the Whig Party ticket. Much to the horror of the political establishment, the two men campaigned vigorously, setting the tone for future campaigns. They employed catchy campaign slogans such as Tippecanoe and Tyler, too, and held boisterous rallies during which they handed out free bottles of hard cider housed in little log cabin-shaped bottles.

    Harrison caught a cold on the day of his inauguration that lingered, eventually turning into a fatal case of pneumonia. Some historical records indicate that doctor-prescribed remedies for the pneumonia also gave Harrison a deadly case of hepatitis. He died on April 4, 1841, leaving behind his widow Anna and three surviving children. His grandson, Benjamin, followed in Harrison’s political footsteps, serving a full term as president from 1889 to 1893.

    Coors brewery heir is kidnapped

    Adolph Coors disappears while driving to work from his Morrison, Colorado, home. The grandson of the Coors’ founder and chairman of the Golden, Colorado, brewery was kidnapped and held for ransom before being shot to death. Surrounding evidence launched one of the FBI’s largest manhunts: the search for Joe Corbett.

    Corbett, a Fulbright scholar at the University of Oregon, was headed to medical school when, in 1951, he got into an altercation with an Air Force sergeant. During the fight, he shot the man and ended up pleading guilty to second-degree murder. He was sent to San Quentin Prison for several years before being transferred to a minimum-security facility, where he easily escaped and began living under an alias, Walter Osborne.

    Eight days after Coors was kidnapped, a car was found on fire in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The gasoline-fueled fire had been deliberately set, but it couldn’t destroy the serial number imprinted on the engine. The car was traced back to Corbett, whose yellow Mercury had been spotted by many witnesses in the area of the crime in the days leading up to the abduction. Dirt from the car was ultimately traced back to the area where Coors was grabbed and taken hostage.

    Seven months after the abduction of Adolph Coors in 1960, the millionaire’s clothes were found in a dump near Sedalia, Colorado. This evidence led to the discovery of Coors’ remains nearby. A ransom letter was traced back to Joe Corbett’s typewriter. He had also ordered handcuffs, leg irons, and a gun through the mail in the months preceding the kidnapping. The FBI distributed 1.5 million posters with Corbett’s picture and then tracked him all the way across Canada, from Toronto to Vancouver, where he was finally apprehended.

    Corbett never testified at his trial and never made any statement, but the evidence was enough to convince the jury who convicted him in 1961. He was released in 1978.

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