Saturday, May 4, 2013

Besides Cinco de Mayo, Sunday, May 5 is also...

Astronaut Alan Shepard, prior to the launch of Freedom 7.
Besides Cinco de Mayo, Sunday May 5 is also the anniversary of the first American manned space flight. On May 5, 1961, American Alan B. Shepard, Jr. rode a Mercury capsule into outer space. Unlike Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's flight 23 days before, Shepard's mission, dubbed Freedom 7, was sub-orbital, lasting just more than 15 minutes from launch to splashdown. Shepard would, however, later walk on the Moon, in 1971, as commander of the Apollo 14 mission. (America's first orbital space flight would not take place until February 20, 1962, with John Glenn on board Freedom 7.) Sunday might be a good day to ask when America's next manned space flight may occur; currently, our manned space program consists of bumming rides to and from the International Space Station with the Russians, at a cost of $70 million per ride.

Sunday will also be Cartoonists Day, commemorating the anniversary of the first Sunday color newspaper comic, printed on May 5, 1985 in Joseph Pulitzer's New York world The strip would eventually be known as The Yellow Kid -- and there are those who believe that this comic helped inspire the phrase "yellow journalism."

Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard was born on May 5, 1813, 200 years ago.

Cy Young threw the first perfect game in the modern era on May 5, 1904.

Now, the link in the preceding sentence will take you to Usual Suspect's article on the subject, in which it is stated that Young's perfecto came at the expense of the Detroit Tigers. But this does not appear to be the case. Young was hurling for Boston's AL team on May 5, 1904, and he did throw a perfect game, 27 up and 27 out -- but his victims that day were the Philadelphia A's. And the team for which Young pitched was not then known as the Red Sox -- and would not be given that nickname until after the 1907 season, according to Wikipedia. (Wikipedia and both agree that it was A's that Young beat on May 4, 1904.) According to, in 1904 Young had a record of 26-16. He appeared in 43 games that year (so he was almost always the pitcher of record), starting 41 times. He threw 40 complete games that season, 10 of them shutouts. He pitched 388 innings in 1904 alone and his ERA was a miserly 1.97. Oh, and he was already 37 years old. You can view his contract for the 1904 season at Baseball's Hall of Fame, so you may be assured we're not making this up: His 1904 salary was.................. $4,000.

Last Year on TBOD: Yes, but do you know what Cinco de Mayo is all about?

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