Happy birthday! On this date in history …
1861 – The Civil War began with Confederate forces firing on Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.
DYK: Abner Doubleday served as a Union general during the Civil War? Yes, Abner Doubleday – the same guy who is often credited with inventing the game of baseball. Legend has it ol’ Abner ushered in “Play ball!” in Elihu Phinney’s cow pasture in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839.
A native of New York, Doubleday graduated from West Point. He was second-in-command at Fort Sumter, where he ordered the Union’s first shots of the Civil War in response to the bombardment by secessionist forces.
Promoted to brigadier general in February 1862, Doubleday participated in the Second Battle of Bull Run and the Battle of Antietam. He also led a corps on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863.
After the Civil War Doubleday remained in the army and was stationed in California and Texas.
Doubleday died in 1893 at the age of 73. At his death, Doubleday left many letters and papers, none of which describe baseball or give any suggestion that he considered himself a prominent person in the evolution of the game. Doubleday’s New York Times obituary did not mention the game at all.
1927 – Rocksprings, Texas, was hit by an F5 tornado that destroyed 235 of 247 buildings in the town and killed 72 townspeople and injured 205. It is the third-deadliest tornado in Texas history.
1934 – The strongest surface wind gust in the world of 231 mph was measured on the summit of Mount Washington, New Hampshire. (It has since been surpassed!)
1945 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt died while on vacation at the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia. VP Harry S Truman became President.
1955 – The polio vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, is declared safe and effective.
1961 – Vostok 1: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into outer space and perform the first manned orbital flight.
1981 – The first launch of a Space Shuttle (Columbia): the STS-1 mission. The shuttle carried two crew members: mission commander John W. Young and pilot Robert L. Crippen.
FYI: Young had the longest career of all astronauts. He was the first person to fly six space missions during 42 years of active NASA service. Young was the only person to have been commander of four different classes of spacecraft: Gemini, the Apollo Command/Service Module, the Apollo Lunar Module, and the Space Shuttle.
1992 – Euro Disneyland opened; the park’s name was later changed to Disneyland Paris. With about 12 million visitors each year, it is the most visited theme park in Europe.
1880 – Addie Joss, baseball player and journalist … 1916 – Beverly Cleary, author … 1924 – Curtis Turner, race car driver … 1932 – Tiny Tim, singer and ukulele player … 1940 – Herbie Hancock, pianist, composer, and bandleader … 1946 – Ed O’Neill, actor … 1947 – Tom Clancy, historian and author … 1947 – Dan Lauria, actor … 1947 – David Letterman, comedian and talk show host … 1950 – David Cassidy, singer-songwriter and guitarist … 1952 – Ralph Wiley, journalist … 1956 – Andy Garcia, actor, director, and producer … 1957 – Vince Gill, singer-songwriter and guitarist … 1962 – Art Alexakis, singer-songwriter and musician … 1971 – Shannen Doherty, actress, director, and producer … 1979 – Claire Danes, actress … 1987 – Brooklyn Decker, model and actress.
1912 – Clara Barton, nurse and humanitarian, founded the American Red Cross … 1977 – Philip K. Wrigley, Chicago Cubs owner, founded the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (A League of Their Own) … 1981 – Joe Louis, boxer … 1989 – Abbie Hoffman, activist, co-founded Youth International Party … 1989 – Sugar Ray Robinson, boxer … 1999 – Boxcar Willie, singer-songwriter.