Sunday, June 12, 2005
1381: Revolting peasants led by Wat Tyler arrive at Blackheath, where John Ball gives a rousing sermon against aristocratic privilege:
When Adam delved
And Eve span,
Who was then
1839: According to tradition, Abner Doubleday invents the game of baseball at Cooperstown, New York.
1897: Carl Elsener patents the Swiss Army knife. German competition nearly drives him to bankruptcy in the early years, but his Victorinox -- with its cross trademark -- continues to make the knives today under his great-grandson.
1915: David Rockefeller is born at New York City. He will become one of America's great riches-to-riches story, starting at the bottom as the son of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., but rising to become chairman Rockefeller Center.
1939: With funding from the Singer Sewing Machine Co., the National Baseball Hall of Fame is dedicated at Cooperstown 100. Voting for the Hall is done by baseball writers, which is probably why 56 sportswriters but only 17 managers have been elected.
1963: Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, opens in New York City. At an inflation-adjusted cost of $270 million to make, its will drive 20th Century-Fox into bankruptcy.
1967: The U.S. Supreme Court holds that laws prohibiting interracial marriage are unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia.
1982: Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, Linda Ronstadt, and 750,000 other folks rally in New York City against nuclear weapons. Oddly, the world does not disarm.
1987: President Reagan, appearing at the Brandenburg Gate, challenges Premier Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.
1997: Major League Baseball's National and American Leagues agree to "interleague play." Yes, the world is going to hell.