1. 1955: Hollywood Icon James Dean’s fatal car crash
Hollywood lost a legend on this date in 1955 when 24-year-old actor James Dean died in a car accident in Cholame, California. Dean was what you would call a “gearhead”, which meant he had a love for racing and cars in general. His success as an actor allowed him to pursue his true passion of racing. He was driving his beloved Porsche Spyder, which he’d affectionately named “the little bastard” towards Salinas, California, for an auto race. Also in the car was Rolf Wutherich, who was a Porsche mechanic. The two men were involved in a head-on collision when a Ford Tudor sedan, driven by Cal Poly State University student Donald Turnupseed, made a left-hand turn right into the path of the oncoming Porsche. Both the student and the mechanic survived the crash with minor injuries, however, the young actor was taken to Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital where he passed away not more than 20 minutes after the crash. Some people say that his convertible Porsche was cursed, after the accident it apparently rolled off the back of a truck and crushed the legs of a mechanic standing nearby. It was then parted out to buyers all over the country and more strange stories followed.
2. 1954: The world’s first nuclear submarine is commissioned
It was on this date in 1954 that the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, was commissioned. To commission a ship, or submarine, meant that it officially was put into active service. After launching, the vessel had to go through vigorous testing, as well as allow the crew time to become familiar with its many new features. It was much larger than other submarines at the time, stretching 319 feet long and displacing more than 3,180 tons. Because it was nuclear powered, which meant the engine didn’t require air like a normal engine would, it had the capability of staying submerged for almost unlimited periods of time, much longer than the crew piloting the massive sub. The Nautilus went on to have a record-breaking career that lasted over 25 years before being decommissioned on March 3rd, 1980. Not only did it steam more than 500,000 miles, but it also accomplished the first voyage under the North Pole.
3. 1927: Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run
The Great Bambino, also known as Babe Ruth, hit his 60th home run on this date in 1927 that would set a record that would stand for the next 34 years. With roughly one month left in the season, he needed to hit 17 in order to hit 60. It was the last game of the 1927 season and thanks to the two home runs he had hit the day before, Ruth stood at 59 on the season, which tied his previous record set back in 1921. The left-handed pitcher for the Washington Senators, Tom Zachary, stood on the mound with a tie game in the 8th inning when the “Sultan of Swat” walked up to the plate. Ruth was determined to beat his previous record and when he smashed a home run into his favorite spot in the right field bleachers which not only did he etch his name into the record books, but ended up being the winning runs in the game.