April 17th in history:
April 17th was a big day in Mickey Mantle’s baseball career. Mantle made his major league debut with the New York Yankees on April 17th, 1951, at Yankee Stadium, and even scored a run against the Red Sox. Two years later, on April 17th, 1953, Mantle swatted a 565-foot home run for the Yankees in a game against the Senators at Washington.
Two reasons why April 17th, 1964, was a notable day in New York: at the World’s Fair, Ford introduced the Mustang, and in Flushing Meadows, Shea Stadium opened. It was the home field of the New York Mets for 45 years, and of the New York Jets football team for 20 years.
Norman “Boomer” Esiason was a quarterback for the Jets, the Bengals, and other teams before becoming a sports broadcaster. He was born in the state of New York on this date in 1961.
December 2 in history:
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was born on this date in 1983. Under Coach Mike McCarthy, Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers from a wild card playoff berth to the Super Bowl championship after the 2010 season.
Another man from Wisconsin named McCarthy was one of the most powerful and feared persons in America in the 1950s. Senator Joseph McCarthy became famous for charging that Communists had infiltrated the government, and he held Senate hearings into Communist influence in the U.S. The senator was criticized for ruining reputations with reckless accusations, and he sometimes suggested that his critics were on the side of the Communists. On December 2nd, 1954, a majority of senators voted to condemn McCarthy, and his influence declined quickly.
The Washington Senators baseball team suddenly has a great season (because of a pact with the devil) in the 1954 novel “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant.” The book was turned into the Broadway musical and movie “Damn Yankees,” starring Ray Walston as the devil. Walston, born on this date in 1914, is also known as Mr. Hand from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” Judge Bone from “Picket Fences,” and Uncle Martin, the title character from the sitcom “My Favorite Martian.”
The music video for the Britney Spears song “Oops!…I Did It Again” is supposed to be set partially on Mars. Spears, born on December 2nd, 1981, was 17 when she had her first hit album.
August 27 in history:
August 27th is the only date which is the birthday of more than one Vice-President of the United States. Three V-P’s actually were born on this date: Lincoln’s first V-P, Hannibal Hamlin (1809), Coolidge’s V-P, Charles Dawes (1865), and Lyndon Johnson (1908), who later became President after Kennedy’s assassination.
Dawes is the only U.S. vice-president who wrote a number-one hit song. His tune titled “Melody in A Major” was turned into “It’s All in the Game,” and the Tommy Edwards recording topped the charts in 1958. On this date in ’58, it looked like the game of major league baseball would be leaving Washington, D.C., when the owner of the Senators ball club said he would probably move the team to Minnesota. President Eisenhower even weighed in that day, urging the Senators to stay in D.C.
Another town got a professional sports team on August 27th, 1921, when the Green Bay Packers went pro and joined an organization which would soon be renamed the National Football League.