On This Day, September 29th
1. 1982: The Cyanide-laced Tylenol killings
Tragedy struck the nation on this date in 1982 when 12 year-old Mary Kellerman from Elf Grove Village, Illinois was found dead after taking a capsule of acetaminophen, commonly known as Tylenol, that had been laced with cyanide. She was one of seven victims of the “Tylenol Killings” in the Chicago Metropolitan area. Johnson & Johnson, the company that manufactures the popular over-the-counter pain reliever, quickly reacted to the situation by launching an internal investigation of their facilities. They determined that the bottles had not been tampered with during the manufacturing process. Instead, they had been purchased, or most likely stolen, and that’s when the poison was said to be added, after which they were put back on the shelves. Johnson & Johnson also issued a massive recall of more than 265,000 bottles of Tylenol, as well as offering a free replacement to any customers that had some at home. Even though the company was not at fault, they still spent a reported $100 million on the recall and re-launch of the product, and in the end they were praised for how they handled the situation. The people responsible for the killings were never found and brought to justice.
2. 2006: Wisconsin high school student shoots his principal
After recently being reprimanded for bringing tobacco products to school, 15-year-old Eric Hainstock shot and killed Principal John Klang on this date in 2006. The shooting took place at Weston High School in Cazenovia, Wisconsin. According to reports, Hainstock had been bullied by the other students and was angry at the teachers for not sticking up for him. When he got in trouble for bringing tobacco to school, it must’ve been the last straw because shortly thereafter he brought a 20 gauge shotgun and .22 caliber pistol to school. Apparently, he pointed the shotgun at one of his teachers, but one of the janitors stepped in and managed to get the shotgun away from him. However, he was still armed with his pistol and when Klang came around the corner to help deal with the situation, Hainstock opened fire. Even though he was shot multiple times, he still wrestled Hainstock to the floor and disarmed him. Klang passed away a few hours later.
3. 1954: Willie Mays makes “The Catch”
It was on this date in 1954 that one of the most spectacular catches in baseball was made by the legendary Willie Mays during Game 1 of the 1954 World Series. Mays was playing in center field for the New York Giants when Vic Wertz of the Cleveland Indians hit a long fly ball to deep center field. At most ballparks this shot would have been a home run, but the Polo Grounds in Upper Manhattan was larger than most stadiums. Mays was playing shallow center, so when the ball was hit he had to use every ounce of his speed to reach the deep warning track. While on the run he proceeded to make an over the shoulder catch that looked as if it were straight out of a video game. After making the grab, Mays spun around and threw the ball back into to play so quickly that it prevented the runner on second base from scoring. The game was tied when Mays shocked the world with his athleticism, and thanks to that display the Giants went on to win that game and swept the World Series. This has gone down in history as one of the greatest catches ever.