Summer of 1996: 20 Things America Was Obsessing About 20 Years Ago

For some of us, 1996 might seem like a lifetime ago. For others, it feels like it was just yesterday. However, some things never change. Today, Americans from coast to coast are getting ready to immerse themselves in the Rio Summer Olympics.

Twenty years ago, they were probably talking about one of the following events and trends. Which of the following stories do you remember your social circle obsessing over?

1. Centennial Olympic Park Bombing

People were talking about more than just the games when it came to the 1996 Summer Olympics. The bombing that killed 1 and injured 111 also made headlines and fueled conversation all around the world.

2. Dolly the Sheep

July of 1996 saw the birth of Dolly the sheep at the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, Scotland. She was the first mammal ever successfully cloned from an adult cell, sparking not only conversation, but controversy as well.

3. Harriet the Spy

July of 1996 also saw the theater premiere of the very first film by Nickelodeon Movies, Harriet the Spy, starring Michelle Trachtenberg.

4. Hurricane Bertha

When Hurricane Bertha hit North Carolina, it caused more than $270 million in damages. The Category 2 storm also resulted in a number of indirect deaths.

5. Three-Parent Baby

Sheep weren’t the only creatures making news thanks to science. August 1, 1996 saw the conception of the very first three-parent baby. This occurred in New Jersey via a process called mitochondrial donation.

6. Ramones “Farewell” Concert

It goes without saying that the Ramones are one of the most iconic punk bands of all time. However, all good things must come to an end eventually, even punk royalty. The band played their final concert on August 6, 1996.

7. Titanic Raising Fails

August 31st found everyone in America (and around the world) talking about the RMS Titanic again, thanks to an attempted raising of a 15-ton section of the wreck. Unfortunately, it failed in front of 1700 spectators, including several survivors of the wreck.

8. UEFA Euro 96

Even Americans got excited about soccer when the 19th European Football Championship began in England on June 8th.

9. Indecency Law Blocked

On June 12th, a panel of judges in Philadelphia successfully blocked the 1996 Communications Decency Act. It was decided that the act would be an infringement on free speech.

10. Gorilla Protects 3-Year-Old

This summer wasn’t the only summer that found people talking about a gorilla. In August 1996, a female lowland gorilla at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago made headlines for sitting with an injured little boy that fell into her enclosure until he could be rescued.

11. Welfare Law

On August 26th, Bill Clinton officially signed that year’s welfare reform into law.

12. Charles and Diana Divorce

Late August also found royalty-obsessed Americans discussing the Prince and Princess of Wales. Charles and Diana were formally divorced at London’s High Court of Justice.

13. Desert Strike

As summer began to draw to a close on September 5th, the United States launched Operation Desert Strike. This was done in reaction to Iraq’s attack on Arbil.

14. Bjork Avoids Attempted Bombing

On September 12th, obsessed fan Ricardo Lopez attempted to disfigure singer Bjork by sending her an acid bomb. Thankfully, Scotland Yard intercepted the package before any harm could be done.

15. Hurricane Fran

Sadly, Bertha wouldn’t be North Carolina’s only encounter with a hurricane in the summer of ’96. Hurricane Fran hit on September 5th, causing $3 billion in damage and killing 27 people.

16. Allan Hills 84001 Meteorite

On August 6th, NASA announced that this Martian meteorite might contain evidence of life on other planets. An electron microscope revealed chain structures indicative of primitive life forms.

17. Youngest Wimbledon Winner

On July 8th, everyone was talking about the spectacular Wimbledon win of Martina Hingis. At 15, she was the youngest person to date ever to win the Ladies’ Doubles event.

18. Primary Colors Author Revealed

Prior to July 17th of 1996, the author of political novel Primary Colors was known only as “Anonymous.” Time columnist Joe Klein admitted to being the author on this day.

19. Boris Yeltsin Sworn In

August 9th found Russian President Boris Yeltsin getting sworn in at the Kremlin. This would mark the beginning of his second term.

20. Water Detected on Jupiter’s Moon

On August 13th, data received from the Galileo space probe suggested that one of Jupiter’s moons might have water on it.

5 of America’s Biggest Political Scandals Before 1900

Although we today look back on contributors to early American history with a kind eye, the Founding Fathers and their direct successors had their own share of drama while in office. Here are five of America’s most infamous political scandals prior to 1900.

1850: Daniel Webster’s Slave Mistress

Senator Daniel Webster. Reprinted from Looking Back at South Shore history: From Plymouth Rock to Quincy Granite by John J. Galluzzo (pg. 42, The History Press, 2013).

By 1850, journalist Jane Swisshelm had managed to do quite well for herself in terms of 19th century – the first woman to hold a position in the Senate press chamber, Swisshelm was an outspoken abolitionist journalist. During the course of her involvement in the press chamber, Swisshelm became aware of rumors that the “Godlike” (as he was often referred to) Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts was involved with a colored slave woman, and had birthed eight children by her. Although several members of the Senate press chamber (and abolitionists) were aware of Webster’s involvement, there was a type of “Gentlemen’s Code” in place, which agreed that journalists would not write about or pry into the personal lives of politicians. However, Swisshelm could not overlook Webster’s hypocrisy, as he had been an ardent opponent against the extension of slavery. Unable to turn a blind eye, she published an exposé on Webster’s behavior, and lost her position within the press chamber as a result. Today, Swisshelm is relatively unknown within American history, while Webster has maintained a revered legacy. His indiscretion is not widely publicized, though Swisshelm did write about her life and career in her autobiographyHalf a Century.

1796: The William Blount Conspiracy

Conspirator William Blount, who attempted to give Spanish-held lands to the British. Reprinted from Knoxville: This Obscure Prismatic City by Jack Neely courtesy of the Library of Congress (pg. 8, The History Press, 2009).

Throughout the 1780s and 90s, statesman and speculator William Blount purchased large amounts of western land in the United States on credit. Although Blount had planned to turn a profit on the lands to repay his debt, the prices for these lands plummeted in 1795, and Blount and his family were left bankrupt. In an attempt to reclaim some of his lost money, Blount partnered with other speculators to attempt to sell their land to English investors, but were unsuccessful. Speculators had also long-feared that the French would gain hold of Spanish-held lands near the Mississippi River (including Florida and Louisiana), and afterwards cut off American access to the Mississippi for trade. These fears were seemingly justified after the French defeat of the Spanish in the War of the Pyrenees, compounding the urgency Blount felt from his bankruptcy. As a result, Blount hatched a plan to let British officials take the Spanish-held lands of Florida and Louisiana (which would eventually become a part of President Andrew Jackson’s Louisiana Purchase), in return for merchants gaining free access to the Mississippi and port of New Orleans. This plan, which called for local militias and British fleets to attacks Spanish outposts, was soon found out by Congress, who deemed Blount’s actions as treasonous. Ultimately, Blount was impeached, and lost his seat in the Senate, becoming the first Senator to be removed from their position.

1856: The Caning of Charles Sumner

Senator Charles Sumner. Reprinted from Legendary Locals of Beacon Hill by Karen Cord Taylor courtesy of the library of Congress (pg. 40, Arcadia Publishing, 2014).

Also known as the Brooks-Sumner Affair, this was the first (and only) public assault of a senator by a colleague. Senator Charles Sumner (a Republican leader from Massachusetts) was attacked by Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina, after Sumner gave a scathing speech, criticizing slavery and slaveholders in the US. Prior to the 1890s, the Republican Party was known as a more progressive faction in government, and Sumner was a leader of the anti-slavery movement. His speech, however, attacked several slaveholders directly, including Brooks’ uncle, Senator Andrew Butler (also of South Carolina). Sumner’s attack on Butler went far past slavery, however, even going so far as to attack Butler’s speech (which had been impeded by a stroke). Brooks, who took this as a personal attack on his family, viciously attacked Sumner on the House floor, bludgeoning him with a cane so badly that he required three years to completely recover from his injuries. The public was divided over Brooks’ actions, with Northern constituents condemning the representative, while Southern supporters went as far as to send Brooks a multitude of canes, one of which was inscribed with “hit him again!”

1791: The Hamilton-Reynolds Affair

Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Reprinted from Wicked Washington: Mysteries, Murder, & Mayhem in America’s Capital by Troy Taylor courtesy of the Library of Congress (pg. 16, The History Press, 2007).

One of the first public sex scandals in American history, statesman Alexander Hamilton was revealed to have conducted an extramarital affair for a year during George Washington’s presidency in 1791. Hamilton, who had been a top aide to Washington during the Revolutionary War, and established himself as a Founding Father for developing  the nation’s financial system, had been conducting an affair with Maria Reynolds, the wife of James Reynolds, who had served in the Revolutionary War. Their affair began after Reynolds had abandoned Maria, but continued after he successfully sought a reconciliation with her. When Reynolds discovered the affair, Hamilton paid him $1,000 USD in hush money (an amount well over $24,000 USD today) in an attempt to protect his reputation. This money kept the affair quiet, until Reynolds attempted to implicate Hamilton in his own scandal involving unpaid back wages for Revolutionary War veterans. Hamilton was subsequently forced to admit to the affair, which he did candidly. Although Hamilton apologized for his indiscretions, his reputation at the time was highly damaged – rival Thomas Jefferson became convinced of Hamilton’s untrustworthiness, and others looked on the statesmen with a critical eye. Although George Washington still held him in high esteem, Hamilton’s reputation did not fully recover until long after his death.

1872: The Crédit Mobilier Scandal

Future President James A. Garfield during the Civil War. Garfield denied any involvement in the Crédit Mobilier Scandal. Reprinted from James Garfield and the Civil War: For Ohio and the Union by Daniel J. Vermilya courtesy of the Library of Congress (pg. 29, The History Press, 2015).

Unlike other major political scandals that focused on one or perhaps two parties, the Crédit Mobilier Scandal of 1872 involved several members of Congress and a major American industry. When the Union Pacific railroad began its insatiable mission to lay tracks across the American frontier, funding was the first major complication the industry faced. To help mitigate this issue, the railroad industry formed a company known as the Crédit Mobilier of America, which created and sold contracts to build the railroad. Shares of this company were subsequently sold (or sometimes simply given to) influential congressmen in 1867, including the current Vice President Schuyler Colfax, incoming Vice Present Henry Wilson, and House members Oakes Ames, James Brooks, and James A. Garfield – a future President of the United States. The conflict of interest created by this exchange meant that bribed congressmen widely approved federal subsidies for the railroad (as they would make a larger profit if the government footed more of the Union Pacific’s bill). As a result, railroaders made incredible profits of well over $40,000,000 USD. When the scandal became public knowledge in 1872, thirteen members of Congress were investigated in a federal probe. While some members of Congress like Ames and Brooks suffered extreme public censure, others felt little impact from their decision. For his part, future President Garfield denied any of the charges, and subsequently became president in 1880.

Hoosier State History: How Indiana Became the RV Capital of the World

While Elkhart, Indiana may be better known for its Amish community, this small town also carries the title for being the capital of Recreational Vehicle (RV) production in the United States. Thanks to the Hoosier spirit and innovative approach to travel, the RV explosion had its epicenter in this quiet community. 

The people of Indiana have a great history, one that spans inspirational sports stories, hilarious writers, and even delicious Hoosier Beer. One of the lesser-known stories is how a simple idea about recreation and design spawned an industry and an American pastime.

Mr. Miller’s travel trailer

Milo Miller was the pioneer who introduced RV production to the Elkhart-South bend area. Reprinted from RV Capital of the World

Milo Miller earned a living as a salesman in Elkhart, Indiana in 1931. His job required him to travel, but he didn’t want to leave his family behind at home. Rather than abandon his wife and children, Miller built a small travel trailer for his family.

As they journeyed along the road, Miller received countless offers for the ingenious addition to his car. Before Miller’s novel idea, travel trailers sat awkwardly on top of cars. The idea of traveling and living in style like the Miller family attracted a lot of attention.

He sold the first one, built a second, and he soon had a buyer for that one, too. Miller quickly assessed that his idea had great potential.

Miller founded a small company selling motor homes to the public. Other people in Indiana copied his ideas and started building trailers as well. In 1933, Miller displayed his RVs at the Chicago World’s Fair. They impressed a man named Schult so much that he bought Miller’s company.

Schult went on to start Schult Homes, one of the biggest manufacturers of RVs today.


The use of recreational vehicles spread quickly across the United States. Americans loved traveling by vehicle, and the idea of living on the road — and not having to depend on hotels — had people reaching for their wallets.

Even Hollywood embraced the trend. Chevrolet offered the blonde vaudeville star, Mae West, one of the earliest models to entice her off the stage and in front of Paramount’s film cameras. Called a Housecar at the time, it included an ice box, tea table, white vinyl seats, wood paneling, and even a little porch on the back where she could wave to her fans.  

The beloved TV couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz made the film, The Long, Long Trailera comedy inspired by misadventures on the road while traveling by RV. The film was a big hit, and it remains a film classic today.

The Next Chapter

RV travel remained a trend throughout the ‘60s and’70s. Camps equipped with hookups for water and electricity became a cheap alternative for families traveling on a budget. Of course, entrepreneurs established camps and sites for RV travelers all over the country, including several in Indiana. Many people still enjoy the camps today.

RV parks now offer modern amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi, along with traditional hotel perks like swimming pools. While RVs continue to get bigger and fancier, many enthusiasts look to the earlier models, like the Airstream, to express their love of travel and the unencumbered lifestyle.

Indiana and RVs today

Indiana continues to dominate the RV market, producing more than 80% of these unique vehicles. So, if you see an RV anywhere in the world, it was likely built in the Hoosier state with craftsmanship and dedication.  

Indiana hosts many motor home conventions that RV enthusiasts from around the world attend, including the Crossroads to Fun convention in Indianapolis, an annual gathering for more than 90 years.

What keeps Americans in particular so devoted to their RVs? Is it the cool new innovations that manufacturers pack into each model year after year? Some people love the technology and design as well as the secret compartments and clever spaces.

Or perhaps the devotion comes from a yearning for simpler times and the love of the road. Either way, there’s no question that Americans have a long, devoted history with travel and adventure.

The next time you see an RV, give Indiana a nod for being the birthplace of this great tradition. It’s a great way to tour the country while enjoying all the comforts of home.

5 Heroes of the American Revolution


Due to a growing rift between the ideals of Great Britain and the newly-established America, the potential for conflict was rapidly increasing during the late 1700s. The game-changing moment came in 1770, after British troops fired on colonists who had been throwing stones and sticks at the soldiers. The Boston Massacre sparked outrage amongst the colonists. Despite not having official independence from Britain, the 13 colonies formed their own Continental Congress, which fought to take power from British rule.

All this combined sparked the Revolutionary War. It was a hard-fought battle on both sides, with the new United States of America emerging victorious. Several leaders of this movement are remembered today as the leaders of the revolution, while others are lesser-known, but no less important. There are five of the most pivotal figures in the American Revolution.

Paul Revere. Reprinted from Boston’s North End by Anthony Mitchell Sammarco (pg. 15, Arcadia Publishing, 2004).

Paul Revere

Paul Revere is most famous for his midnight ride to warn American troops in Concord of approaching British forces. Immediately, the American army began moving military supplies away from the town. A week later, Revere received word that British soldiers were coming from Boston on boats. He and William Dawes were sent out to warn militia leaders in Lexington and Concord of the looming threat. This is where the legendary story of the lantern signal in the tower emerges. Revere instructed the sexton of Boston’s North Church to place one lantern in the steeple if the British army was approaching by land, and two lanterns if they were approaching by water. He effectively warned every Patriot he saw, saving countless lives, and preparing the American army for what would become the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

A painting of Nathanael Greene. Reprinted from Nathanael Green in South Carolina: Hero of the American Revolution by Leigh M. Moring, courtesy of Robert Wilson Fine Art (pg. 12, The History Press, 2016).

Nathanael Greene

During the time of the Revolutionary War, Nathanael Greene was regarded as George Washington’s most trusted general. He was actively resisting British rule early in the 1770s, and helped establish a state militia called the Kentish Guards. Greene was appointed a general in the Continental Army in 1776, and aided Washington during the Boston, New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia Campaigns. By 1780, Washington had declared Greene as commander of the army in the southern theater. He worked effectively to deplete British presence in the American South. After his time serving in the Continental Army, Greene retired to a plantation in Georgia, where he lived out the rest of his life.

General George Washington. Reprinted from George Washington’s Virginia by John R. Maass, courtesy of the Library of Congress (pg. 14, The History Press, 2017).

George Washington

When we consider heroes of the Revolutionary War, George Washington is often the first person that comes to mind. As the first President of the United States, general in the Continental Army, and a Founding Father, Washington left an unwavering mark on the history of the United States. Washington first experienced battle during the French and Indian War, and was later elected to the Continental Congress by his peers in Virginia. He was Commanding General for the Continental Army, where he was joined by French forces to defeat the British army. Once it was apparent America would win the war, Washington stepped down and focused his attention on politics. He was pivotal in establishing the Constitution, and was elected the first President by Electoral College. He built a strong government, and after two terms of service, stated he would not run for a third, setting the tone for Presidents to come.

Ethan Allen. Reprinted from Fort Ticonderoga by Carl R. Crego (pg. 53, Arcadia Publishing, 2004).

Ethan Allen

Ethan Allen gained military praise after he fought in the French and Indian War. The state of Vermont is often attributed to him. He purchased the land, but disputes between New York and New Hampshire ensued when each state claimed it was theirs. To prevent either of these states from taking the land, Allen formed the Green Mountain Boys. When the Revolutionary War began, the group began fighting. Together, he joined Benedict Arnold, and led the Green Mountain Boys to seize Fort Ticonderoga from the British in 1775. He was later captured and sent to a British prison for two years. Upon returning to the United States after the war, he tried to have Vermont adopted as an official state. He was never successful. The state would be ratified two years after his death in 1789.

A memorial commemorating Crispus Attucks and the Boston Massacre. Reprinted from Boston by William J. and Elaine A. Pepe (pg. 15, Arcadia Publishing, 2009).

Crispus Attucks

Unlike most others on this list, Crispus Attucks did not serve in the Revolutionary War. Attucks was the first man killed in the Boston Massacre, the attack that finally sparked the war for independence. As an African-America, he became a central figure in the anti-slavery movement. He was often considered a hero in United States history. On the day of the massacre, Attucks along with several other men, arrived at the Old State House carrying wooden clubs. They threw the wood, along with snowballs and other miscellaneous items, at the soldiers until one opened fire. Two stray bullets hit Attucks in the chest, making him the first victim of the Revolutionary War.

Whether they were soldiers or victims, every man on this list played an influential role in establishing the independence of America. We remember them today as heroes of the Revolutionary War and as men whose ideas and bravery led American troops to some of their greatest accomplishments.

9 Fascinating Facts About Women’s Contributions Throughout History

When it comes to history, the accomplishments and contributions of important men dominate most texts and courses. Many female leaders, heroes, and contributors have also made meaningful contributions throughout history.

Fortunately, March is Women’s History Month, so it’s the perfect time to become more familiar with the many achievements of strong women all over the globe. Start your journey with the following incredible facts.

There was actually a female pharaoh.

Serving as the fifth pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, Hatshepsut ruled during the 18th Dynasty. She took the throne as regent for her son, and her reign stretched over two decades. Historians believe that her rule was a favorable one, and today she is considered to have been one of the most powerful women in the ancient world.

Josephine Baker smuggled messages to French soldiers during WWII.

Baker, a well-known singer and performer, carefully concealed the hidden messages in clever ways, often using invisible ink to conceal them in her sheet music or simply hiding them inside her dress. Baker is also notable for being the first black female to star in a major motion picture.

We owe a lot of major inventions to women.

Just take Mary Anderson, for instance. In 1903, she invented the windshield wipers that would become standard equipment on all cars by 1916. Women also created useful inventions like disposable diapers, white-out, non-reflective glass, dishwashers, modern petroleum refining methods, and lots more.

Marie Curie won not one but two Nobel Prizes.

Awarded her first Nobel Prize for physics for spontaneous radiation, Marie Curie shared that distinction with her husband. She received her second Nobel award in chemistry, thanks to her extensive studies on radioactivity. Curie’s studies would eventually cost her life; she contracted a radiation-related blood disease from her research and died in 1934.

Women played a major role in the development of computer technology.

Many people tend to think that we owe computer technology solely to men, but many women changed technology for the better. For instance, a woman named Susan Kare developed much of the Apple Macintosh’s interface elements. Kare eventually left Apple in the 1980s, but she is still working in the field by improving product designs and helping to innovate new technologies.

Hedy Lamarr was so much more than just a pretty face.

In addition to being a successful movie actress in the 1940s, Lamarr developed a radio-controlled torpedo device. The device utilized frequency hopping as a way to prevent the jamming of torpedo signals. Unfortunately, her invention wasn’t utilized during WWII. However, the American government used her device to help with future conflicts and efforts.

The top two IQ scores ever recorded via standard testing belong to women.

For centuries, the prevailing thinking believed that women were inferior to men when it came to intelligence. The history of standardized IQ testing, on the other hand, changed the conversation. Both of the top two scores ever recorded belong to women. One of those women is the renowned author and columnist, Marilyn vos Savant. To this day, she is the Guinness World Record holder for “highest IQ.”

Queen Victoria ruled one of the world’s largest empires.

In fact, she ruled of one of the largest empires in all of history. At one point, she oversaw land on almost every continent. Under her rule, she controlled countries that included Australia, Canada, British Guiana, Egypt, India, and Kenya.

Nellie Bly traveled around the world in less than 80 days.

Actually, she completed her journey around the world in a mere 72 days – a remarkable feat, considering airplanes had not yet been invented. Bly established herself as an impressive investigative journalist, particularly with her expose on mental institutions. She had to fake mental illness in order to gain access to the facilities in question.

Of course, these are just a few of the many remarkable facts and figures associated with women throughout history.  Learn even more about history’s greatest women when you explore regional history and local interest books from Arcadia Publishing!

The Hidden History of Baseball in the United States

Chances are you’ve heard the story of Abner Doubleday, a man from Cooperstown, New York who invented baseball in 1839. As the story goes, Doubleday became a Civil War hero while his invention swept through the country with growing popularity. While a compelling tale, it’s nowhere near the truth. Today’s baseball evolved from two sports: cricket and rounders, both brought to the country by early colonists. Now, baseball is one of the nation’s most-watched sports. This is the hidden history of how baseball made its mark on the people and history of the United States.

The Earliest Forms of Baseball

 A French manuscript from 1344 depicts the first illustrations of people playing a game of what appears to be baseball, and it’s thought that the French had several variations of the game. England and Ireland concocted their own versions with cricket and rounders. The foundation of each game remained the same: two teams playing against each other, with the objective of hitting a ball with a bat and scoring points by running through four bases.

In a 1744 British publication, a description of baseball showed the game as played on a triangle, rather than the modern-day diamond, and posts in the ground instead of bases. This is the earliest known written record acknowledging the game. The first recorded played game of “base-ball” was in 1749 in Surrey, with the Prince of Wales as a player. In 1755, an English lawyer named William Bray recorded a game on Easter Monday. This early version of baseball was brought to North America in the late 1700s. By the 1830s, there were reports of unofficial bat and ball games occurring throughout Canada and the United States. Modern baseball was finally beginning to take shape.

Baseball Gains Traction in the U.S.

 Prior to the Civil War, town ball was a popular game in the Northeast. In 1845 New York City, a group of men founded the New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club. They founded the framework for the rules of game seen today: three-strike rules, diamond-shaped infield, and foul lines. They also decided against tagging runners by throwing balls at them, which had previously been used during games, deeming it dangerous. One year later, the Knickerbockers played the first official game of baseball against a team of cricket players, marking the beginning of a new era in sports.

By the mid-1850s, residents in New York City were in a frenzy for baseball. As early as 1856, reporters were referring to the game as a “national pastime” or “national game.” By 1871, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players was founded as the first professional league. The National League followed five years later, and the American League came in 1901. By now, nearly all modern rules of baseball were in place – the last change came in 1901 that counted foul balls as strikes.

Baseball legend Babe Ruth. Reprinted from Babe & the Kid: The Legendary Story of Babe Ruth and Johnny Sylvester by Charlie Poekel, courtesy of National Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Cooperstown, New York (pg. 23, The History Press, 2007).

The National League and American League each had eight teams, and were constantly vying for the best players. They often dismissed the contracts between players and teams, leading to several bitter legal conflicts. In 1903, the two leagues finally reached a peaceful agreement, creating the National Association of Baseball Leagues to moderate the sport on a national level. The World Series debuted in the fall of 1903, pitting one team from each league against each other. In the first game, the Boston Americans of the American League beat the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League.

Historic Game Changing Players

 Baseball in the early 20th century was a notoriously low-scoring sport. That was until Babe Ruth arrived on the scene. George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. played for 22 seasons between 1914 and 1935, and became known by such nicknames as “The Bambino” or “The Sultan of Swat.” He rose to fame playing for the Boston Red Sox as a left-handed pitcher, and later for New York Yankees as an outfielder. During his career, Ruth hit over 700 home runs, had over 2,000 runs batted in, and over 2,000 in bases on balls. In 1936, Ruth was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of the “first five” members to be inducted. He is commonly regarded as one of the best baseball players of all time.

Likewise, Jackie Robinson changed the game when he became the first African American to compete in Major League Baseball, playing first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers. For ten years, Robinson had a stellar career. In 1947, he received the MLB Rookie of the Year Award and in 1949 won the National League Most Valuable Player Award, the first African American player to be awarded such a prize. He played in six World Series, and won one in 1955. In 1962, Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His uniform number, 42, was retired across all MLB teams in 1997, making him the first pro athlete in any sport to receive such an honor.

As one of the longest-standing sports in American history, baseball has earned its title as “America’s pastime.” From its origins in bat and ball games from the early 1700s in Ireland and England, to the voracious support for the modern-day World Series experiences, baseball has made its mark on the United States. Talented players have used it as their stage to inspire nationwide social and political changes, and it is a sport that will continue to excite and animate generations to come.