Your Week in History: Biggest naval battle and baseball mistakes - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Your Week in History: Biggest naval battle and baseball mistakes

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Adlai Stevenson shows photos of missiles being assembled in Cuba to the United Nations. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Adlai Stevenson shows photos of missiles being assembled in Cuba to the United Nations. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
The USS Princeton burns after being hit by a Japanese bomb during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. (Source: U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons) The USS Princeton burns after being hit by a Japanese bomb during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. (Source: U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons)

(RNN) – The middle of October in 1962 was spent wondering if any of the missiles Russia had placed in Cuba were being launched, already had been launched or were just an elaborate ploy to get Americans to start buying cigars again.

President John F. Kennedy had imposed a trade embargo on Cuba earlier in the year and a spy plane discovered missiles being assembled in Cuba on Oct. 14. In response, the U.S. established a naval blockade prohibiting Russia from bringing supplies into Cuba.

The Cuban Missile Crisis, which is called the October Crisis in Cuba, began officially Oct. 15 when Kennedy was notified of the missile sites. Kennedy had made previous promises to respond if Cuba showed it was capable of launching a military attack. His advisors thought the only appropriate response was to invade Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro, which had been attempted more than a year earlier and was unsuccessful in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.

Believing that would lead to additional problems the country couldn't risk, Kennedy ordered the blockade instead. On Oct. 22, Kennedy gave a televised address announcing the missiles had been discovered and the U.S. was establishing a quarantine effort of all shipments into Cuba.

Three days later, Adlai Stevenson presented the photographic evidence to the United Nations in a famous speech in which he implored Russia explain why the weapons were being assembled, saying that he would wait for answer "until hell freezes over." (4:00 mark)

By Oct. 27, Russia had agreed to remove the missiles in exchange for the U.S. removing missiles it had established in Italy and Turkey.

Here are some of the events of note that happened between Oct. 21 and 27.

Life and Death

It's another paltry week for people connected to John Wayne. Forrest Tucker died Oct. 25, 1986, and had a lengthy career in movies and television, including roles in The Sands of Iwo Jima and Chisum.

The first woman to swim the English Channel, Gertrude Ederle, was born Oct. 23, 1905, and President Theodore Roosevelt (1858) and crime boss John Gotti (1940) were born Oct. 27.

Comedians Curly Howard (Oct. 22, 1903), Minnie Pearl (Oct. 25, 1912), Johnny Carson (Oct. 23, 1925), Christopher Lloyd (Oct. 22, 1938), John Cleese (Oct. 27, 1939) and Weird Al Yankovic (Oct. 23, 1959) were all born this week, and Soupy Sales (Oct. 22, 2009) died.

NASCAR driver Dick Trickle was born Oct. 27, 1941, and died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound May 16 of this year. Trickle reportedly had been dealing with severe pain for a long time and called 911 and told the operator where his body would be.

Henry VIII's wife, Jane Seymour, died with her head intact, which was rare for his wives, Oct. 24, 1537, bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd was killed by police Oct. 22, 1934, Old West lawman Bat Masterson died Oct. 25, 1921, the "unsinkable" Molly Brown died Oct. 26, 1932, and civil rights figures Jackie Robinson (1972) and Rosa Parks (2005) died Oct. 24.

Overlooked Anniversaries

It was a bad week for the stock market. "Black Tuesday" was Oct. 24, 1929, and was the largest stock market crash in U.S. history and signaled the beginning of the Great Depression. "Bloody Friday" was the same day in 2008 and many stock markets around the world saw record drops. Additionally, a mini stock market crash occurred Oct. 27, 1997, caused by economic problems in Asia. "Black Monday" occurred Oct. 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered the biggest percentage loss in stock market history, but the following day posted its first triple-digit gain.

Last week, I mentioned the last naturally occurring case of smallpox - well this week there's another. There are two versions of smallpox. Variola major is the one from last week, which is more deadly, but the last naturally occurring infection from Variola minor was Oct. 26, 1977. Ali Maow Maalin was infected and recovered.

Two years later, the World Health Organization declared the virus had been eradicated. Maalin lived in Merca, Somalia, and spent his later life in the ongoing effort to eradicate polio. He died earlier this year from malaria.

"Baby Fae" was the first infant to receive a transplanted heart from a baboon Oct. 26, 1984, two weeks after she was born. The transplant was considered successful, but because an accurate match of her blood type could not be found, her body rejected the transplant and she died three weeks later.

The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral happened Oct. 26, 1881. As famous as the gunfight is, there isn't much about it that is actually known. Among the more controversial aspects is who fired the first shot and if the Earps were defending themselves when they fired. Evidence is spotty and newspaper reports of the events are contradictory and unreliable. What is known definitely is that none of the lawmen were seriously wounded and most of the outlaws involved were killed.

For Whom the Bell Tolls was published Oct. 21, 1940, the first recorded parachute jump took place Oct. 22, 1797, the Erie Canal opened Oct. 26, 1825, arrests were made in the Beltway sniper case Oct. 24, 2002, and the first incandescent light bulb was tested Oct. 22, 1879.

Something About Sports

Before another World Series history binge, here's some notable moments from the annals of football and "football" (soccer).

The Sheffield Football Club was founded Oct. 24, 1857, and is the world's oldest club playing association football. The Football Association, which is the governing body for the sport in England, was founded Oct. 26, 1893.

In American football (ahem, real football) history, Fred Dryer became the first (and, to date, only) player in NFL history to score two safeties in a game Oct. 21, 1973. Dryer played for the Los Angeles Rams and recorded both safeties in the fourth quarter. First, he sacked Green Bay Packers quarterback Scott Hunter and on the next possession sacked back-up quarterback Jim Del Gaizo.

Now for baseball. It has long been my belief that Game 6 of a series is more memorable than Game 7. Last week, I covered the Steve Bartman incident, which was in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, and this week there is a plethora of evidence to support my Game 6 superiority theory.

The most famous error in baseball history happened Oct. 25, 1986, in Game 6 of the World Series. You only need mention the player's name - Bill Buckner - to reference the play. Buckner had a good career, even winning a batting title, but he's known for nothing else other than letting a slow grounder roll between his legs with the World Series on the line. As always, I'll let ESPN and Vin Scully take it from there.

The Toronto Blue Jays became the first non-U.S. team to win the World Series on Oct. 24, 1992, and repeated the following year on a Game 6 walk-off home run by Joe Carter on Oct. 23, 1993. Carter is one of only two people with a World Series-winning walk-off home run and is the only player to hit one while his team was trailing. He's also the only player to have a clinching hit in one World Series and to have made the final out in another one.

Kirby Puckett upset 9-year-old me with a walk-off home run in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series on Oct. 26, 1991, to force Game 7 that the Minnesota Twins would eventually win over the Braves. Earlier that same game, Puckett had robbed Ron Gant of crucial hit with a leaping catch at the center field wall.

Legendary broadcaster Jack Buck called the home run by saying "we will see you tomorrow night" which his son, Joe Buck, borrowed for his call of David Freese's walk-off home run in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series on Oct. 27, 2011.

Perhaps the most famous blown call in baseball history happened Oct. 26, 1985, in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. Like the Buckner error a year later, umpire Don Denkinger is known only for one major mistake. The missed call came in the bottom of the ninth inning and allowed Kansas City to come back from a run down and win the game and force a Game 7, which they won.

The Week in Warfare

The Second battle of Philippi was fought Oct. 23, 42 B.C., and resulted in the defeat and suicide of Marcus Brutus at the hands of Mark Antony and Octavian.

George III declared the American colonies in rebellion in a speech to Parliament on Oct. 26, 1775, and the world's oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat, the USS Constitution, was launched Oct. 21, 1797.

The British won a decisive victory over the French at the Battle of Trafalgar on Oct. 21, 1805.

President Dwight Eisenhower pledged U.S. support to South Vietnam on Oct. 24, 1954, the first U.S. casualties of the Vietnam War were sustained Oct. 22, 1957, and the U.S. and South Vietnam met Oct. 22, 1972, to discuss a cease-fire the U.S. had previously reached with North Vietnam.

The Battle of Leyte Gulf was fought Oct. 23 to 26, 1944, and is considered the largest naval battle ever fought. The battle was the first time Japanese pilots employed kamikaze attacks. A combined force from the United States and Australia sunk 28 Japanese ships, among them four carriers and three battleships, and lost only six ships of their own. The battle cleared the way for the Allies to retake the Philippines and left the Japanese navy unable to guard the Pacific Ocean.

Approximately 3,000 men died for the Allies compared to more than 12,000 losses by the Japanese.

Holiday You Should Celebrate

This Friday is the last Friday in October and that means it's Frankenstein Friday. Frankenstein Friday celebrates the birth of Frankenstein, which was published in 1818, and its author Mary Shelley, but it's not the anniversary of her birth or the book's publish date. The date was picked due to alliteration and simply because more people are able to celebrate on Friday than any other day of the week.

I don't really know how you should celebrate this since Halloween won't be for another six days and you'll look like the creepy weirdo you are if you dress up for it. Just don't go dig up any bones and try to reassemble them. That's not just creepy, it's illegal.

Preview of next week

"Don't bounce it – they'll boo you."

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