(RNN) – There are a few moments in everybody's life where you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when they happen. There's a big one coming up next week, but this week there is one that I remember clearly.
I'm speaking, of course, about Mark McGwire breaking the single-season home run record.
At the time, we didn't know he was hocked up on the juice, but even if we did, it would have still been a big moment. I was watching the game on TV hoping with every swing he would launch one into the window of a passing airliner, and then he did.
Except that he didn't. It was probably the weakest home run "Big Mac" ever hit. No. 62 was a line shot that would've killed anything in its path, but it only got over the wall by about a foot - if that. It was 9/8/98 at 8:18 p.m. on a pitch from Steve Trachsel. I was in high school and I wrote a poem about it for an English class the next year.
I also went to a Cardinals game the following season and the guy who worked for the team who retrieved the ball was signing autographs as if he was somehow important. I had two posters on the wall in my room at the time. One was McGwire and the other was Ken Griffey Jr. After he broke the record, the Griffey poster came down and a second one of McGwire went up.
Today, I have a print of a painting of the event hanging in my living room.
Here are some of the events of note that happened between Sept. 2 and Sept. 8.
I found no one who acted in a movie with John Wayne this week. I didn't dive into the recesses of obscurity to dig one out, so I'm sure there is one, it just isn't a major name. If you're happy there are no John Wayne connections this week, you might not want to keep reading. If you think I'm going to let a little thing like no one being connected to John Wayne get in the way of connecting people to John Wayne, you don't know me very well.
In my defense, there is an actual connection to Wayne this week, and it's a love connection. Wayne's third wife, Pilar Pallete, was born Sept. 3, 1936. Wayne had three children with her - Aissa, Ethan and Marisa. Wayne's marriage to Pallete was the longest of his marriages and the only one that didn't end in divorce. They were separated after 19 years, but the marriage didn't end until Wayne's death six years later.
Now it's time to move to people who should have done something with Wayne but didn't. Let's stick with Sept. 3 for a minute because it has an eclectic mix of birthdays. Crime boss Whitey Bulger (1929), Beach Boy Al Jardine (1942) and winner Charlie Sheen (1965) all share that birthday.
Several famous directors were born this week. Howard Morris was born Sept. 4, 1919. Morris has lengthy acting credits to his name, but he is most famous for his portrayal of Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show. Morris also directed several episodes of the show as well The Dick Van Dyke Show, Hogan's Heroes and The Love Boat.
Famed documentarian Werner Herzog was born Sept. 5, 1942, Elia Kazan, who directed On the Waterfront, East of Eden and A Streetcar Named Desire, was born Sept. 7, 1909, and Frank Capra, who directed Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It's a Wonderful Life, died Sept. 3, 1991.
Sept. 7 is a big day in this category for music. Buddy Holly was born in 1936, Keith Moon died in 1978 and Warren Zevon died in 2003 - all on Sept. 7. Holly is best known today for his untimely death in a plane crash, Moon was the drummer for The Who and died of a drug overdose and Zevon is known for his weird and nonsensical lyrics to songs such as Werewolves of London, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner and Lawyers, Guns and Money, and his many appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, including an emotional final appearance where he gave his famous piece of life wisdom to "enjoy every sandwich."
Farrokh Bulsara was born Sept. 5, 1946. Bulsara wrote the Queen songs Bohemian Rhapsody, Somebody to Love, Don't Stop Me Now, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and We Are the Champions, but he is best known as the band's front man, Freddie Mercury. He is considered one of the best performers of all time.
Bob Denver, who played Gilligan on Gilligan's Island, died Sept. 2, 2005, outlaw Jesse James was born Sept. 5, 1947, French revolutionary Marquise de Lafayette was born Sept. 6, 1757, painter Grandma Moses was born Sept. 7, 1960, comedian Jeff Foxworthy was born Sept. 6, 1958, Mother Teresa died Sept. 5, 1997, wildlife expert and personality caricature Steve Irwin died Sept. 4, 2006, and Matinee Lady Carol Wayne was born Sept. 6, 1942.
Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniel was born at some point - exactly when isn't known. The distillery's website posits no guess at "Mr. Jack's" birthday, but says it is celebrated in September. FindAGrave.com thinks it was Sept. 5, 1850, and Wikipedia agrees and disagrees. About.com claims the year was 1846.
The general consensus on the year is 1850, which is the year on his tombstone, but 1846 and 1849 have both been cited, including a date in January. The distillery released a 160th birthday whiskey in 2010, which would mean 1850 is the year, but the date on Jack's mother's tombstone is 1847, and she reportedly died from complications from childbirth shortly after he was born.
The previous two paragraphs are why courthouses should never catch fire.
President Gerald Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon on Sept. 8, 1974, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme tried to kill Ford on Sept. 5, 1975, and William McKinley was fatally shot Sept. 6, 1901.
Peter I levied a tax on beards Sept. 5, 1698, the Great Fire of London burned Sept. 2 through Sept. 5, 1666, the first Miss America pageant was held Sept. 7, 1921, Ford introduced the Edsel on Sept. 4, 1957, the Mayflower set sail Sept. 6, 1620, the U.S. agreed to relinquish control of the Panama Canal on Sept. 7, 1977, Star Trek premiered Sept. 8, 1966, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 - the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history - made landfall Sept. 8, and Michelangelo's David was unveiled Sept. 8, 1504.
ESPN made its debut Sept. 7, 1979. Today we hate ESPN and take it for granted, but sadly, they do a better job than anybody else. But believe or not, ESPN is better now than it used to be (the explanation of how the picture gets to your TV is particularly comical).
Sept. 4, 1998, marked the founding of another iconic American brand you can't live without - Google. You seriously probably couldn't live without Google. It owns almost everything and what it doesn't own, it's probably in the process of buying.
Great Britain, and by extension the American colonies, adopted the Gregorian calendar Sept. 2, 1752, and lost 11 days due to adjustments needed to account for the change in leap years. It had been introduced 200 years earlier and accepted in other parts of the world. As a result of the change, Sept. 2 was followed by Sept. 14.
William Wordsworth composed a poem on Westminster Bridge on Sept. 2, 1802. The poem was titled Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 2, 1802. You would think somebody as renowned as Wordsworth was could do better than that.
While speaking at the Minnesota State Fair on Sept. 2, 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt first used his famous phrase of "speak softly and carry a big stick."
The thylacine went extinct Sept. 7, 1936. It looks like a dog with tiger stripes. The thylacine was native to Australia and was a marsupial notable because both sexes had a pouch. The last thylacine was kept at the Hobart Zoo in Australia and was named Benjamin. It is believed to have died due to carelessness.
Another iconic baseball record was broken this week, and it was thought to be impossible to do. On Sept. 6, 1995, Cal Ripken Jr. played in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking the mark set by Lou Gehrig. As he always did, Ripken seized the moment and delivered a home run. He also added one of the most memorable moments in baseball by making a lap around the stadium and interacting with the fans.
The first 500-mile race in NASCAR history was held Sept. 4, 1950, at Darlington Raceway, the first official polo game was played Sept. 3, 1875, Mark Spitz became the first person to win seven gold medals in a single Olympics on Sept. 4, 1972, Cassius Clay won an Olympic boxing gold medal Sept. 5, 1960, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame opened Sept. 7, 1973.
Once again, here's something from cricket that sounds impressive but might not actually be impressive. Charles Turner became the first bowler to take 250 wickets in a season Sept. 6, 1888.
Football started on the road to ruin Sept. 5, 1906, when the first legal forward pass was thrown. Passes had been thrown before, even decades earlier, but were illegal. In 1906, a rule change explicitly allowed passes to be thrown in an attempt to make the game safer after a series of deaths and a threat by Roosevelt to ban the game. In a twist of irony, passing plays are the ones now targeted with special rules designed to make the game safer.
The old adage that "three things can happen when you pass and two of them are bad" rang true with the first pass. It was incomplete and resulted in a turnover.
Eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and later killed Sept. 6, 1972, during the Olympics in Munich, West Germany.
The Roman Empire was formed following the Battle of Actium on Sept. 2, 31 B.C. I don't trust B.C. dates, but it seems to be reliable. Octavian defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra to end a period of civil war and consolidated his power under the name Augustus to become the first Roman emperor.
The Second Temple was destroyed during the Siege of Jerusalem on Sept. 7, 70 A.D. Only the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, still stands. The site, known as the Temple Mount, is considered to be the place where Abraham was instructed to sacrifice his son Isaac.
The site is important to Muslims because it is believed to be where Muhammad ascended to heaven. The Temple Mount is currently occupied by the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim mosque, but Jewish tradition holds that one day a third - and final - temple will be built on the site.
The first submarine attack was conducted Sept. 7, 1776, by the Turtle on the HMS Eagle, and was unsuccessful.
The American flag was first flown in battle Sept. 3, 1777, at the Battle of Cooch's Bridge, and the Revolutionary War officially ended the same day in 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, creating the United States of America as a sovereign nation.
Japan surrendered to end World War II on board USS Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945.
Sept. 2 is National Beheading Day. DO NOT CELEBRATE THIS.
Sept. 5 is Be Late for Something Day and Sept. 6 is Fight Procrastination Day, so reconcile those two things however you feel is appropriate.
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