1. 1935: The Great Bambino hits his final home run
George Herman Ruth, more commonly known as Babe Ruth, hit his final homerun on this day back in 1935. Ruth had just been traded to the Boston Braves and was playing in what would be one of his last games as a professional ballplayer against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was the third game of the series and Ruth went out and hit 4-4 with three home runs and six RBI’s. Ruth had been classified as a part time player and had actually wanted to retire in early May, but Boston Braves owner Judge Emil Fuchs begged Ruth to stay at least through Memorial Day. It was a good thing he did, because his last home run was also his 714th, which is a record that would stand for nearly 40 years until Hank Aaron hit his 715th homerun on April 8th, 1915.
2. 1977: First Star Wars movie opens
It was on this day back in 1977 that American pop culture would be changed forever when the sci-fi fantasy world of Star Wars hits movie theaters across the country. George Lucas and his studio, Twentieth Century Fox, started a huge marketing push months before the movie would be released and the hype couldn’t have been higher by the time the movie actually came out. There were people lined up in sleeping bags days before the released just to be one of the first people to see the new cinematic experience that Lucas and his people had promised. That level of special effects had never been used in a movie and all of them were done by Lucas’ company, Industrial Light and Magic. Star Wars was a box office hit that only Gone with the Wind could compete with, grossing over $800 million worldwide. It also took home seven Oscars and made all three of the main characters overnight stars, Carrie Fisher who of course played Princess Leia, Mark Hamill was Luke Skywalker and who could forget Harrison Ford as the great Han Solo.
3. 1979: American Airlines Flight 191 crashes
In a terrible string of events, 271 people aboard the DC-10 American Airlines Flight 191 were killed instantly when the plane crashed just after takeoff from Chicago’s O’hare Airport. The plane reportedly had one of the engines fall off smashing into the ground just after the plane took off. Apparently there was a mechanical failure where one of the Pylons used to hold the engine up had not properly been maintained and had broken off and it wasn’t long after that the engine fell as well. The American Airlines maintenance team was considered to be at fault due to not following procedure when fixing the engines. During the investigation, there was a judicial order that all DC-10’s remain grounded until it could be determined that it wasn’t something with the planes themselves.