Day By Day

Thursday, October 01, 2009

This Day In History

Today is "World Vegetarian Day" so go out and graze to your hearts content.

On this day in 331 BC Darius III, the Persian emperor, met in battle an invading Greek and Macedonian army commanded by Alexander the Great at Gaugamela. The battle resulted in a decisive victory for the Macedonians and led directly to the downfall of the Achaemenid Empire. Wikipedia has a good overview of the course of battle here. It was one of those days when the course of history turned.

And on this day in 1903 the Pittsburgh Pirates met the Boston Pilgrims [now the Red Sox] in the first game of the first World Series in history. Pittsburgh's Deacon Phillippe won the game, but Boston won the series 5 games to 3 [it was a nine-game series in those days]. Honus Wagner, suffering from injuries, committed six errors in the series.

And on this day in 1932 Babe Ruth strode to the plate and faced Chicago pitcher Charlie Root in the third game of the World Series. Falling behind in the count 0-2 Ruth pointed his finger toward right-center field and then blasted the next pitch, a curve ball, more than 440 feet over the right-center field wall. This was Ruth's famous "called shot" home run, and it is still debated by people who have an unhealthy obsession with our national pastime. Did Ruth really mean to call his shot, or was he just pointing at the pitcher? Who can say, but the legend persists.

On this day in 1924 James Earl Carter, 39th President of the United States and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize was born. Make of that what you will.

And on this day in 1940 the Pennsylvania Turnpike opened for business. It is considered to be America's first "superhighway".

And on this day in 1968 a little film made in and around Pittsburgh by local guy George Romero and titled "Night Of the Living Dead" premiered at the Fulton Theater. The film was made for $114,000 and grossed 42 million in initial release. Not bad..., not bad at all! It's success inspired a whole new genre, the zombie apocalypse and revolutionized the horror film. Who can forget the first time they heard "They're coming to get you Marsha"?


I missed this in the earlier post. On this day in 1746 John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg was born and 61 years to the day later he died. He was a remarkable guy. Educated at Penn and in Germany, was a cavalry officer in Germany, a Lutheran minister in New Jersey, became an Anglican priest in 1772. During the Revolution he headed up the Committee of Safety [sort of a provisional government] in Dunmore County, VA., was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses [along with Patrick Henry, George Washington and others], helped draw up the Virginia State constitution, raised a regiment and served first as a Colonel, then a General in the Continental Army, was at Valley Forge, Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth as well as Yorktown, wound up a Major General and retired to Mongomery County, PA, served on the Pennsylvania Executive Council, and later served in the House of Representative and the Senate, representing Pennsylvania.

Quite a career, and definitely one to remember.