Here are a few bits of trivia to ponder as the hammock sways gently in the summer breeze, hamburgers sizzle on the barbecue and mosquitoes prepare for a tasty meal of their own.
Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game:
• Do you know when baseball's annual all-star game started?
The tradition goes way back to an 1858 series between stars from Brooklyn and New York. They were called “picked nines” in those by-gone days. The “modern” series of all-star games started in 1933.
This year, the game is in New York on July 16 and is being hosted by the Mets. Next year, it's in Minnesota, giving die-hard local fans an idea for a baseball trip.
• Do you remember the longest all-star Game and the Canadian pitcher involved? That was the 1967 game in Anaheim, California, which didn't end until a 15th ining home-run by Cincinnati’s Tony Perez gave the victory to the National League. In the game, Canadian pitcher Fergie Jenkins succeeded starter Juan Marichal and tied an all-star game record by striking out six batters in three innings.
Which brings to mind another good trivia question at no extra charge. Can you name the other three all-star pitchers who are tied with Fergie for this record?
They are Carl Hubbell in 1934, Johnny Vandermeer in 1943 and Larry Jansen in 1950.
July has produced some significant events in the history of air and space travel. For example:
• July 29, 1920 — Air mail service began between New York and San Francisco.
• July 22, 1933 — Wiley Post completed the first round-the-world solo flight, covering 15,600 miles in just under eight days.
• July 2, 1937 — Amelia Earhart and her co-pilot, Fred Noonan, were lost in the Pacific Ocean during their round-the-world flight.
• July 10, 1938 — Howard Hughes completed his round-the-world flight in just under four days.
• July 18, 1938 — “Wrong Way” Corrigan took off on a flight from New York to Los Angeles, but went the wrong way to Ireland.
• July 13, 1959 — Russia announced that they had launched dogs and other animals into space and returned them safely.
• July 21, 1961— Virgil “Gus” Grissom became America’s second man in space, repeating the earlier sub-orbital flight of Alan Sheppard.
• July 10, 1962 — The Telstar communications satellite was launched, relaying the first “live” pictures across the Atlantic.
• July 20, 1969 — Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin landed on the moon.
Also on the July calendar:
• July 12, 1933 — A minimum wage of 40-cents an hour was established by a new industrial code in the United States.
• July 14, 1911 — A world-record 24-hour rainfall occurred in the Philippines, when Mother Nature produced 1,150 millimetres (46 inches) worth of puddles and flooding.
• July 15, AD 971 — The first observance of St. Swithin's Day. It relates to an old meteorological superstition, which reads: St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain,/For forty days it will remain;/St. Swithin's day if thou be fair,/For forty days ’twill rain nae mair.
Do you know the story behind the St. Swithin's legend? Will you lose sleep, if I don't bore you with it? Well, to make a long story as short as possible. St. Swithin was a bishop and when he died in 862, he asked to be buried outside Winchester Cathedral, where “he would be exposed to the feet of passersby and the drops falling from above.” A hundred and nine years later, his remains were moved inside the cathedral, and legend has it that this greatly angered his spirit, whereupon he sent rain that lasted for 40 days. This miracle precipitated — pardon the pun — the belief that the weather on St. Swithin's Day was a predictor of the weather for the next month or so.
• July 16, 1827 — The birth of Josiah Spode. Does the name ring a bell?
Later in life, Josiah invented bone China, known as “Spode Ware.”
• July 20, 1918 — The first time admission was charged to attend a baseball game. It was a dime.
• July 21, 1873 — The world's first train robbery took place as Jesse James — who else — held up the Rock Island Express in Iowa and escaped with $3,000.
• July 22 to 28 — This year’s Canadian Open Golf Championship at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ontario.
Golf trivia, anyone? Who was the last Canadian to win the Canadian Open? It was Pat Fletcher in 1954. He was the first Canadian to win the tournament since 1914. Pat Fletcher, from Montreal and born in England, was a pro at Saskatoon and Royal Montreal and is in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
• July 30, 1919 — Fred Hoenemann, a farmer in Missouri, got an injunction prohibiting pilots from flying their planes over his barn. Fred complained that the new-fangled flying machines upset his livestock. Fred wouldn’t appreciate today’s ghetto-blasters and was certainly ahead of his time: annoying noise complaint-wise.