Your Week in History: An alien 'invasion' and a huge first pitch - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Your Week in History: An alien 'invasion' and a huge first pitch

Air Force One flies over Mount Rushmore. Mount Rushmore was completed Oct. 31, 1941, and South Dakota, where it is located, became a state Nov. 2, 1889. (Source: U.S. Air Force/Wikimedia Commons) Air Force One flies over Mount Rushmore. Mount Rushmore was completed Oct. 31, 1941, and South Dakota, where it is located, became a state Nov. 2, 1889. (Source: U.S. Air Force/Wikimedia Commons)
The head of George Washington on Mount Rushmore during construction. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) The head of George Washington on Mount Rushmore during construction. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
President George W. Bush throws out the first pitch of Game 3 of the 2001 World Series on Oct. 30, 2001. (Source: White House/Wikimedia Commons) President George W. Bush throws out the first pitch of Game 3 of the 2001 World Series on Oct. 30, 2001. (Source: White House/Wikimedia Commons)
Tsar Bomba is detonated Oct. 30, 1961. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Tsar Bomba is detonated Oct. 30, 1961. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

(RNN) – These last few weeks have been full of great moments in World Series history. Well, let's talk about one that just happened.

Boston Red Sox fans don't need a reason to be whiny and insufferable, but baseball gave them one anyway. If you're not watching the World Series (here's a guide to it), what is wrong with you?

(By the way, that guide seems to be a point of contention among people. I really don't know what they're upset about because they didn't say, but apparently I'm "an idiot" for writing it and it is "weak sauce." I don't know what team the detractors are cheering for, but so far everything in it is playing out pretty accurately, except the part about the Cardinals being boring, because this series has been anything but.)

Saturday night's game featured a rare appearance by obstruction. I've watched a lot of baseball in my life. Heck, I've played a lot of baseball. I can never recall any game I ever played in or watched having an obstruction call. I'm sure there's been one, I just don't remember it.

Well, I'll remember the one from Saturday. Why? Because the Cardinals won the game on it. Searching "obstruction" on Twitter was one of the greatest things you could do Sunday. Red Sox fans predictably exploded with rage. (Howah could this #@&$! hawpen? That's #%&^#$. Ouwah Sawx got $%&@$# scrawed!)

You see, they all know the rule better than anybody connected with baseball. Every analyst, every official and every baseball pundit you can find immediately said it was the right call. (The only detractor was Skip Bayless, but his detraction further proves that everyone else is right.) Everybody who likes the Red Sox said it was wrong. Never mind that the baseball rule book explicitly spells out a similar scenario to illustrate what obstruction is. Fan outrage makes everything better.

Everything from the Curse of the Bambino being back in effect to MLB being in the tank for the Cardinals was alleged. It was magnificent. The final call lifted what was already a great game into the annals of the most famous games in World Series history. Watch for yourself.

Here are some of the events of note that happened between Oct. 28 and Nov. 3.

Life and Death

It's been a couple of dry weeks for John Wayne, but we're coming back strong this time around – all born Nov. 2.

Ann Rutherford was born Nov. 2, 1917, and is most well-known for playing Carreen O'Hara, Scarlett O'Hara's sister in Gone with the Wind. She had appeared in 30 movies before Gone with the Wind, including three with John Wayne – The Oregon Trail, The Lawless Nineties and The Lonely Trail – when his career was just starting to take off.

Stephanie Powers was born Nov. 2, 1942. Powers appeared in a remake of Stagecoach, which Wayne had previously starred in and is perhaps most notable for her role as Jennifer Hart in Hart to Hart.

However, she is excellent in McClintock! as the uppity socialite daughter of Wayne who alternately insults and chases after one of her father's employees, and at one point persuades her on-screen father to shoot his real-life son (Shoot him, daddy! Shoot him at once!) only to come to his rescue once she thinks he might have been shot (Oh, you shot him!).

Legendary actor Burt Lancaster was born Nov. 2, 1913. His awards and credits are numerous, but despite being active at the same time and in the same types of movies, he never made a movie with Wayne. Wayne, however, did approach him about making a movie together, but Lancaster declined due to political differences. He was later offered the role of Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry, but turned it down, also for political reasons.

That makes for a nice segue into the spate of political figures who qualify this week.

John Adams (1735) and Thomas Jefferson's wife, Martha (1748), were born Oct. 30. Marie Antoinette (1755), James Polk (1795) and Warren G. Harding (1865) were all born Nov. 2. Harding was elected president on his birthday in 1920.

First lady Abigail Adams died Oct. 28, 1818, first lady Mamie Eisenhower died Nov. 1, 1979, and William McKinley's assassin, Leon Czolgosz, was executed Oct. 29, 1901.

Harry Houdini died Oct. 31, 1926, because he was stupid. Houdini had claimed that being punched in the stomach did not affect him. When challenged on this assertion, Houdini was repeatedly punched in the stomach until he stopped the stunt, claiming that he had not had enough time to prepare himself.

He suffered a ruptured appendix but did not seek medical attention and died more than a week later after performing with a high fever and passing out during one of his shows. Of course, though, the circumstances surrounding his death are controversial.

Overlooked Anniversaries

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated Oct. 28, 1886, the St. Louis Arch was completed Oct. 28, 1965, and Mount Rushmore was completed Oct. 31, 1941. Technically, however, Mount Rushmore isn't official completed. The design called for the four men to be carved from head to waist, but lack of funding halted the project.

Following "Black Thursday," which I mentioned last week, "Black Monday" was Oct. 28, 1929, when the stock market lost 11 percent of its value as soon as it opened. The next day was "Black Tuesday" when the market lost another 12 percent and set a trading record that stood for 40 years. The market lost more than $30 billion in two days and ushered in the Great Depression.

The second U.S. presidential election started Nov. 2, 1792. It lasted until Dec. 5 when George Washington was declared the winner. It is the only election to not be held four years after the preceding election as the first election was held partly in two calendar years.

The presidential election of 2004 was held Nov. 2. George Bush won a second term in office and despite winning the popular vote by the smallest margin of any incumbent president became the first person to win the popular vote outright in four elections.

Nevada was admitted as a state Oct. 31, 1864, and North and South Dakota were admitted Nov. 2, 1889. South Dakota can stay because of Mount Rushmore. North Dakota doesn't really have anything of note so I'm OK giving it to Canada. Nevada is home to the Nevada Test Site, which is where a lot of nuclear weapons were tested and might have contributed to the death of John Wayne. Let Arizona annex Las Vegas and the rest of Nevada can do whatever it wants.

War of the Worlds was broadcast Oct. 20, 1938. It was part of a radio drama series, but was presented as a series of news bulletins and caused many people listening to think an actual alien invasion was taking place. Welles apologized for the broadcast the next day in a press conference that is hilarious to listen to today, saying he believed the premise of an invasion by monsters from Mars was a fairy tale and was very regretful that it wasn't that way for other people.

John Glenn became the oldest person in space Oct. 29, 1998, Area I-X – part of the canceled Constellation program that would have replaced the space shuttle – was launched Oct. 28, 2009, and Sputnik 2 was launched Nov. 2, 1957. A dog named Laika was on board Sputnik 2 and became the first animal to orbit the earth. Laika was a stray dog found on the streets of Moscow and died shortly after the launch.

Hurricane Mitch (1998) and Hurricane Sandy (2012) made landfall Oct. 29. At the time, Mitch was the second strongest hurricane to form in October and the fourth most intense storm ever recorded (it's now seventh). Sandy was the second costliest storm in American history behind Hurricane Katrina.

The Sistine Chapel was exhibited for the first time Nov. 1, 1512, a woman's bare breasts appeared in National Geographic for the first time Nov. 1, 1896, the first Godzilla film was released Nov. 3, 1954, Othello was first presented Nov. 1, 1604, The Tempest was first presented Nov. 1, 1611, and the U.S. introduced the income tax Nov. 3, 1913.

Something About Sports

Last week's Game 6-a-palooza had a glaring omission. Carlton Fisk hit one of the greatest home runs in baseball history Oct. 21, 1975, in Game 6 of the World Series. Fisk homered in the bottom of the 12th inning to force a Game 7 the Red Sox eventually lost, but the home run remains iconic due to Fisk's telepathic ability to keep the ball fair. The famous image of Fisk waving the ball fair only came about because a camera operator was distracted by a rat and forgot to follow to the flight of the ball.

Amends made. Now for current stuff.

Game 3 of the 2001 World Series was played Oct. 30. It was the first game of the World Series played in New York City following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and was marked by President George W. Bush giving a thumbs up sign at the pitcher's mound and tossing a strike with the ceremonial first pitch. It was further proof that baseball provides better pageantry than any other sport.

The Yankees won the game 2-1 behind a three-hit outing by Roger Clemens. It was their first win of the Series. We'll talk about how it ended next week.

Seabiscuit defeated War Admiral in the "Match of the Century" on Nov. 1, 1938. War Admiral was the prohibitive favorite and had won the Triple Crown the year before. Seabiscuit won by four lengths despite War Admiral running his best time in the 1 3/16 mile distance.

Cheerleading was born Nov. 2, 1898, when Johnny Campbell led a crowd at the University of Minnesota in the cheer "Rah, Rah, Rah. Ski-u-mah. Hoo-rah. Hoo-rah. Varsity. Varsity. Varsity. Minn-e-so-ta." The school still does the cheer today, but I couldn't find video proof of that so enjoy this lunatic fan instead who seems to be fighting for Scottish independence.

Oct. 30 was also the day of the Rumble in the Jungle in 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaire. George Foreman was the undefeated champion and a heavy favorite over challenger Muhammad Ali. Ali employed a strategy he called the "rope-a-dope" by standing near the ropes in a defensive stance allowing Foreman to punch him repeatedly with little counter attack.

The strategy tired Foreman, who threw punch after punch that did little to harm Ali all while Ali taunted him to throw more punches or to punch harder, which Foreman did to no avail. In the eighth round, Ali hit Foreman with a vicious combination that came seemingly out of nowhere and he won by knockout mere seconds after the fight's announcer figured out what Ali's tactic had been and just before the end of the round (the look on Foreman's face is priceless).

The Week in Warfare

Constantine became the supreme emperor of Rome Oct. 28, 312, following victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge. He rode triumphantly into Rome the day and because the Romans were insane they fished the body of his rival, Maxentius, out of the Tiber river and beheaded it.

The first bomb was dropped from a plane Nov. 1, 1911, during the Italo-Turkish War, and the Battle of Britain ended Oct. 31, 1940, when German stopped bombing England in an attempt to prepare for a land invasion.

Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated, was tested Oct. 30, 1961. It destroyed an area with a diameter of 22 miles.

Holiday You Should Celebrate

Yeah, it's Halloween and All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day and all sorts of weird things will happen this week, such as people eating candy corn because National Candy Corn Day is Oct. 30. If you're one of those rare breed of self-loathers who like this vile creation, go nuts. Less for me.

Like all months, November honors a bunch of ridiculous stuff. Among them are Aviation History Month, International Drum Month, National Model Railroad Month and Peanut Butter Lovers Month. Nov. 2 is Look for Circles Day. When I was studying architecture, we were given this assignment to design what was basically the footprint of an alien cult compound we would later build (no kidding, that really was the assignment). Everybody was using circles and the professor decreed that we stop using circles all together because he would reject those ideas. I already knew I was changing majors at this point, so my next idea contained nothing but circles – 28 total. It ended up being the one he liked the best.

That basically explains why I am now a journalist.

Preview of next week

A majority of U.S. presidential elections. (Ugh!)

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