1. 1859: Emile Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope
It was on this day in 1859 that a person would walk across the Niagara Falls on a tight rope for the very first time. More than 5,000 spectators showed up to watch the Frenchmen professionally known as Emile Blondin walk across a 2 inch thick rope made completely of hemp that stretched 1,100 feet across the Niagara Gorge. The rope was estimated at 160 feet above the bottom of the Gorge. Blondin was very adamant about not wanting to have any sort of safety net; he felt that preparing for a disaster made it more likely to happen. Over the next year, “The Great Blondin” performed all sorts of tight rope stunts, or “ascensions” as he called them. Some were actually quite bizarre like pushing a wheelbarrow across while dressed as an ape, making his manager get on his back while crossing, and even crossing in a sack.
2. 1953: The first production run of the Corvette
The Corvette has become a part of American culture and some might think its jut always been here, kinda like apple pie. But it was until this day in 1953 that the first Corvette rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan. Only 300 hand-built examples were made and you didn’t have many options to choose from. Every single car was a white convertible with red interior and featured the “Blue Flame” 3.9L inline six cylinder engine producing 160hp. In comparison to the European cars at the time it was under-powered and many overlooked it. But that changed in 1955 when Chevy put a V-8 which drastically improved the cars performance and therefore it’s appeal to the masses. Because the 1953 was completely hand built and in such limited numbers it has become the most rare and sought after of them all.
3. 1962: Sandy Koufax pitches his first no-hitter
Not only did Sandy Koufax pitch his first no-hitter on this day in 1962 against the New York Mets, but he also struck out the first three batters with only nine pitches. He was the eleventh pitcher in Major League Baseball history to achieve the nine-pitch/three-out half inning. Koufax would lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 5-0 win that day. During his 11 year career he would pitch a perfect game as well as three more no-hitters, cementing his name in the record books as one of the best pitchers of all-time. His pitching and the stellar play of the Dodgers led them to becoming 4-time World Series champions during his career. Many feel the four year stretch from 1962-1965 were the four greatest seasons by a pitcher in the history of baseball. After throwing his first no hitter in 1962, he threw another every year until 1965 when he also threw the perfect game. That’s a feat normally unheard of in even little league pitching, let alone the Major League.