TODAY IN HISTORY
Today is Saturday, April 6, the 96th day of 2013. There are 269 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 6, 1973, Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees became major league baseball’s first designated hitter as he faced pitcher Luis Tiant of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. (Blomberg was walked with the bases loaded; Boston won the game, 15-5.)
On this date:
In 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized by Joseph Smith in Fayette, N.Y.
In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Shiloh began in Tennessee as Confederate forces launched a surprise attack against Union troops, who beat back the Confederates the next day.
In 1896, the first modern Olympic games formally opened in Athens, Greece.
In 1909, American explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew A. Henson and four Inuits became the first men to reach the North Pole.
In 1917, Congress approved a declaration of war against Germany.
In 1943, “Le Petit Prince” (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupery was first published in the U.S. by Reynal & Hitchcock of New York.
In 1945, during World War II, the Japanese warship Yamato and nine other vessels sailed on a suicide mission to attack the U.S. fleet off Okinawa; the fleet was intercepted the next day.
In 1959, “Gigi” won the Academy Award for best picture of 1958; Susan Hayward was named best actress for “I Want to Live!” and David Niven was named best actor for “Separate Tables.” (To the embarrassment of the show’s producers, the scheduled 2-hour ceremony fell about 20 minutes short.)
In 1963, the United States signed an agreement to sell the Polaris missile system to Britain.
In 1973, NASA launched Pioneer 11, which flew by Jupiter and Saturn.
In 1988, Tirza Porat, a 15-year-old Israeli girl, was killed in a West Bank melee. (Although Arabs were initially blamed, the army concluded Tirza had been accidentally shot by a Jewish settler.)
In 1998, country singer Tammy Wynette died at her Nashville home at age 55.
Ten years ago: In the Iraq War, U.S. forces encircled and began flying into Baghdad’s international airport. British forces in the south made their deepest push into Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city.
One year ago: Five black people were shot, three fatally, in Tulsa, Okla.; two suspects, Jake England and Alvin Watts, are accused of targeting the victims on the basis of race. A Navy F18 Hornet jet whose pilots were forced to eject crashed in a spectacular fireball into a big apartment complex in Virginia Beach, Va., scattering plane parts and wiping out some 40 units, but killing no one. Fang Lizhi, 76, who was one of China’s best-known dissidents, died in Tucson, Ariz. Painter Thomas Kinkade, 54, died in Los Gatos, Calif.
Today’s Birthdays: Nobel Prize-winning scientist James D. Watson is 85. Composer-conductor Andre Previn is 84. Country singer Merle Haggard is 76. Actor Billy Dee Williams is 76. Actor Roy Thinnes is 75. Writer-comedian Phil Austin (Firesign Theatre) is 72. Movie director Barry Levinson is 71. Actor John Ratzenberger is 66. Actress Marilu Henner is 61. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Janet Lynn is 60. Actor Michael Rooker is 58.
Rock musician Warren Haynes is 53. Rock singer-musician Frank Black is 48. Author Vince Flynn is 47. Actress Ari Meyers is 44. Actor Paul Rudd is 44. Actor-producer Jason Hervey is 41. Rock musician Markku Lappalainen is 40. Actor Zach Braff is 38. Actress Candace Cameron Bure is 37. Jazz and rhythm-and-blues musician Robert Glasper is 35. Actress Eliza Coupe is 32. Actor Bret Harrison is 31. Actor Charlie McDermott is 23.