September 30, 1962: The first convention of the National Farm Workers Association (UFWA) convened. The meeting was held at an abandoned movie theater in Fresno, California. There were hundreds of delegates in attendance. The flag of the new group was first shown. It was a black stylized eagle on a white circle in a red field. UFWA was created from the merging of two older groups, the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee and the National Farm Workers Association. The latter was led by César Chávez. He and Dolores Huerta worked together to bring about the new organization, now called United Farm Workers (UFW).
Chávez was born in Yuma, Arizona in 1927. He was one of six children born to this Mexican-American family. The family owned a grocery store and a ranch but lost their property during the Great Depression. The family had agreed to clear land for a clear title to the ranch, but the deal was broken and they lost their home. Although a bright student, Chávez faced discrimination in school. He quit school after graduating from eighth grade in 1942. To keep his mother from working in the fields, he took over and began the laborious task himself.
He worked in the fields for ten years. In 1952 he became an organizer for the Community Service Organization, a group advocating for Latino rights. He was outspoken against police brutality and encouraged all Latinos to register and vote. It was Filipino workers who began the Delano grape strike in 1965, but Chávez supported their efforts. Six months later, NFWA initiated their own grape pickers strike. They marched from Delano to Sacramento and asked for all Americans to boycott table grapes. National attention led to US Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare to look into the case.
Organizing farm workers was a difficult task. Many times in the past, attempts had been made to fight for better wages and working conditions. They did not receive the backing for industrial unions and were often in conflict. Some local efforts would work for a short time, but then be disbanded. In 1936, it became law that workers could join together and fight for their causes and bargain collectively. During World War II, an agreement between Mexico and the US allowed “guest workers” to come north to harvest crops. This program lasted until 1964. UFW has as a goal the integrity of the working class to maintain the right attitude, encourage innovation, and work non-violently toward empowerment.
“From the depth of need and despair, people can work together, can organize themselves to solve their own problems and fill their own needs with dignity and strength.”
“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.”
“In some cases non-violence requires more militancy than violence.”
“Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.” – all from César Chávez
September 29, 1829: The Metropolitan Police of London is founded. Today, called the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), this group is responsible for Greater London’s security, except for the “square mile” of London under the protection of the City of London Police. They are also tasked with coordinating and leading efforts against terrorism as well as protection of the British Royal Family and some senior officials of the government.
As of February 2011, the MPS had 52,111 personnel. This included 33,358 sworn police officers, 4,226 Special Constables, 14,332 civilian police staff, and 4,520 non-sworn Police Community Support Officers. There are also volunteers to help things run smoothly. MPS is the largest police force in Great Britain and one of the largest in the world. Their annual budget is £4.1 billion. (The cost in 1829 was £194,126.) The boss is called the Commissioner and the first to hold that post were Sir Charles Rowan and Sir Richard Mayne. Sir Paul Stephenson resigned the position in July after the News International phone hacking scandal broke. Tim Godwin is the Acting Commissioner.
The MPS is responsible for patrolling 32 London boroughs. The City of London is not considered a borough so it has its own force. Headquarters are at New Scotland Yard and there are 180 stations throughout the greater London region. The MPS has 22 boats for use as well as 3 helicopters. There are 250 dogs on the force, too. Their ranks are divided into twelve levels beginning with Special Constable and ending with the Commissioner’s post. Each rank has a particular badge and these along with the officer’s badge number must always be visible.
In order to cover the 32 separate boroughs, the MPS maintains a fleet of more than 8,000 vehicles. Area cars are used for patrol and pursuit duties, incident response vehicles respond to emergencies, traffic units, protected, carriers, control units, armored vehicles, and assorted others complete the list. Most of these have a service life of three to five years. In the early days, there was far less crime with 20,000 crimes reported in the area served in 1829. In 1998 there were 934,254 crimes reported. Probably the most famous crime spree covered by the MPS was the Whitechapel murders, Jack the Ripper’s crime spree.
“A police force, wherever they are, is made up of amazing people, and I respect them a great deal.” – Nancy McKeon
“And it is crucial of course that chief constables are able to make decisions within their budgets about how they deploy their police officers to the greatest effect to ensure that they’re able to do the job that the public want them to do.” – Theresa May
“Chemists employed by the police can do remarkable things with blood. They can weave it into a rope to hang a man.” – Margery Allingham
“I hadn’t realized until I covered the police beat just how seedy crime is.” – Jessica Savitch
September 28, 1920: Eight members of the Chicago White Sox are indicted for throwing the 1919 World Series in what became known as the Black Sox Scandal. Local gamblers, with the backing of Arnold Rothstein from New York City, promised a payout of $100,000 (well over $1 million in today’s dollars) to Arnold “Chick” Gandil and seven of his teammates. Gandil, the Sox first baseman, and Joseph “Sport” Sullivan, a local gambler, thought up the scheme.
The 1919 World Series was between Chicago and the Cincinnati Reds. Even prior to the first game, played October 1, there were rumors that the games were fixed. The White Stockings were formed in 1900 by Charles Cominsky. Their name changed in 1902 to the White Sox, and by 1903 they were winning league championships. Cominsky built a strong team. They were, however, a very unhappy team.
Cominsky grossly underpaid his players. He made promises that he did not fulfill. The players were so disgruntled that once they wore the same unwashed uniforms for several games until Cominsky broke into their lockers, confiscated the uniforms, and fined the players. The players were also divided amongst themselves. There were two factions with one side led by second baseman Eddie Collins. These men were more educated, sophisticated, and had an average annual salary of $15,000. Gandil’s clique were more diamonds in the rough and averaged only $6,000. The salary difference was a major stumbling block.
As early as October 15, 1919, Cominsky offered a reward for information about any fix. Two months later, The New York World published an article claiming wrongdoing. Rumors flew throughout the 1920 season. Suspicion of corruption spread to other men on other teams as well. By early September 1920,Cook County convened a Grand Jury investigation into the allegations. On September 24, Rube Beaton testified about the scheme and within days that testimony was made public. Their trial began in July 1921 and all eight players were found not guilty. However, in November of 1920 Kenesaw Mountain Landis became head of a newly formed baseball commission. Regardless of the acquittal, Landis banned all eight players from professional baseball forever more.
“Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who throws a ball game, no player who undertakes or promises to throw a ball game, no player who sits in confidence with a bunch of crooked gamblers and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball.” -Kenesaw Mountain Landis
“I’ve loved baseball ever since Arnold Rothstein fixed the World Series in 1919.” – Hyman Roth in The Godfather Part II
“Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.” – Oscar Wilde
“We never search for scandal, but we use it if it cries out to excess.” – Peter Utley
September 27, 1941: The SS Patrick Henry is launched. This was the first of 2,751 Liberty ships launched during World War II. In 1936 the American Merchant Marine Act was passed in order to subsidize the building of 50 commercial merchant ships to be used by the US Navy. The number of ships to be built doubled in 1939 and again in 1940. There were to be different types of ships: tankers and three types of merchant ships. All were to be powered by steam turbines. The ship designs were based on British vessels of the same type and used for the same purpose. The plan was modified by the US Maritime Commission to conform to American standards and practices.
The ships were to be designated by EC for Emergency Cargo and construction was given out to Henry J Kaiser’s Six Companies. The ships were built in sections and then welded together. In Britain, ships were built in this fashion but riveted together. This took far longer to accomplish. The ships initially had a poor public reception. They were, in a word, ugly. This day was dubbed Liberty Fleet Day in the hopes of improving the image of these Ugly Ducking vessels.
The Patrick Henry took 244 days to build. The first ships took, on average, 230 days to build. Eventually, the average for building a Liberty Ship dropped to 42 days. The record for quick construction went to building the Robert E. Peary which was ready to launch in 4 days and 15.5 hours from the time the keel was laid. In 1943, there were three Liberty Ships completed each day. Anyone raising $2 million in war bonds could propose a name for one of these ships. Most were named for deceased people, but one was named for Francis J. O’Gara who was thought to have been killed but survived the war in a Japanese POW camp.
The ships were supposed to last for five years. The quick building process led to some problems. Some early ships were known to have hull or deck cracks and a few ships were lost to these defects. During the war, there were 1,500 instances of brittle fractures and twelve ships actually broke in half. However, over 2,400 ships survived the war and of these 835 made up the postwar cargo fleet. Today, only two Liberty Ships, the SS Brown W. Brown and the Jeremiah O’Brien remain. Both are museum ships. In 1994, the O’Brien steamed from San Francisco to England and France to celebrate the 50th anniversary of D-Day.
“A ship is referred to as she because it costs so much to keep one in paint and powder.” – Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz
“Investigate and shoot down all snoopers – not vindictively, but in a friendly sort of way.” – Fleet Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, Jr.
“The Navy has both a tradition and a future–and we look with pride and confidence in both directions.” – Admiral George Anderson
“The difference between a good and great officer is about ten seconds.” – Admiral Arleigh Burke
September 26, 1937: Orson Welles becomes the title character as the old announcer for Detective Stories gets his own 30-minute radio show – The Shadow. The Shadow character was created by Walter B. Gibson in 1931. The Shadow’s creation was more accident than design. In 1930, the character’s name belonged to the announcer for Detective Stories. This radio broadcast drew its stories from the pulp fiction of the era. Pulp fiction being inexpensive magazines printed on cheap paper from the 1920s through 1940s.
Smith & Street, pulp magazine publishers, created a radio program in order to boost sales for their print media. However, the announcer proved to be a more compelling entity than the Detective Stories themselves. Smith & Street commissioned Gibson to write stories with the announcer as the hero. Gibson went on to write 282 of the 325 Shadow books.
The Shadow (had many alias identities but Lamont Cranston was the most frequently used) went skulking about in dark hat, cape, and often a black or red silk mask using nefarious skills to intimidate criminals. Eventually it was revealed that he had traveled to the mystical Far East and learned to cloud minds so as to be invisible. Orson Welles took the lead role when still an unknown radio personality. Two years later, Welles would produce his famous Halloween scare, The War of the Worlds.
A female contrast to Welles’ voice was added with Producer Clark Andrews naming The Shadow’s “friend and companion” after his girlfriend, Margo Lane. The Shadow became such a hit that a series of comic books were added and eventually over 300 novels were written. There were two attempts to bring The Shadow to the small screen and several full length movies were produced. In 1947, Welles hoped to produce his own version and commissioned Charles Lederer to pen a script. Welles could not secure the film right to the character he made famous a decade earlier.
“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” – John Archer’s introduction to The Shadow
“Orson Welles was an actor, so he believed in it while he was doing it.” – John DiDonna
“Nobody who takes on anything big and tough can afford to be modest.” – Orson Welles
“I don’t say that we ought to all misbehave, but we ought to look as if we could.” – Orson Welles
September 25, 1513: Vasco Nuñez de Balboa reaches the Pacific Ocean. Balboa was a Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador. After learning about Columbus’s adventures in the New World, Balboa became interested in joining the expeditions going west. He and Juan de Los Angeles Cosa joined up with Rodrigo de Bastidas’s expedition. Bastidas had been given a license allowing him to keep 4/5 of the treasure found in the New World if he gave the other 1/5 to the royals back home, something called the Quito Real. So the adventurers set off in 1501.
With the proceeds from this first expedition, Balboa settled in Hispaniola in 1505. There he became a landed gentleman farmer growing crops and raising pigs. He was not successful in this enterprise and soon found himself in debt. In 1508, the Spanish king launched a couple more expeditions into Central America mostly in the region of what is today Panama. In order to escape his debtors, Balboa stowed away on one of the ships sailing west. Balboa and his dog hid away in a barrel and managed to make it to landfall. Although he was discovered aboard ship and threatened with abandonment, his superiors thought it might prove beneficial to have someone with his experience to help with the settlement and he was kept aboard ship.
Balboa did suggest that the first settlement be moved to where he knew the land was more fertile and the natives were less warlike. They met 500 battle ready warriors when they arrived but managed to best them in a fierce battle. Balboa was made mayor of the new town and later became governor of the region. There were rumors of a new sea off to the west supposedly rich in gold. Balboa recruited men to set out on an expedition to find this land.
Conquistadors returning to Balboa’s home base also spoke of the riches to be found by the South Sea. On September 1, Balboa and 190 Spaniards set out to find this sea. They sailed south and made landfall on September 6 near Careta’s territory. They reinforced their numbers with 1,000 of Careta’s men. They met other people along the way and had to fight their way southwest. Finally the men entered a mountain range near the Chucunaque River. A native had told them the South Sea was on the other side. As they topped the range and looked out, there on the far horizon was the fabled South Sea, or what we call the Pacific Ocean.
“One thing I supplicate your majesty: that you will give orders, under a great penalty, that no bachelors of law should be allowed to come here [the New World]; for not only are they bad themselves, but they also make and contrive a thousand inequities.” – Vasco Nuñez de Balboa
“I am actually not at all a man of science† I am by temperament nothing but a conquistador, an adventurer.” – Sigmund Freud
“Another of the great civilizations, the Aztecs, raised a breed of hairless chihuahuas especially for eating. When the Conquistadors arrived and found dog on the menu, they were of the same opinion as Mademoiselle, that this was evidence of the worst form of barbarism. They, the Spaniards, used dogs as befits civilized and Christian men – to hunt down fugitive Indians and tear them to pieces.” – Medlar Lucan
“When has it ever happened, either in ancient or modern times, that such amazing exploits have been achieved? Over so many climes, across so many seas, over such distances by land, to subdue the unseen and unknown? Whose deeds can be compared with those of Spain? Not even the ancient Greeks and Romans.” – Francisco Xeres
September 24, 1906: President Theodore Roosevelt proclaims Devils Tower a National Monument, the first ever in the United States.DevilsToweris a monolith, or igneous intrusion, located in the northeast portion of Wyoming. It rises 1,267 feet above the surrounding area. The National Monument includes the famous rock as well as 1,347 acres of surrounding lands. Nearly 400,000 people visit the tower each year and about 4,000 of them scale to the summit 5,112 feet above sea level.
A National Monument is comparable to a National Park except that a President can declare an area a Monument without waiting for the longer process which requires Congress to vote on making an area a National Park. The Monuments also receive less funding. The Antiquities Act of 1906 was passed because of concerns about protecting Native American prehistoric artifacts. The Arapaho, Crow, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Lakota, and Shoshone tribes all had cultural and geographic ties to the monolith.
Several tribes consider the site a holy place and have asked that climbing to the summit be halted entirely. The Park Service asks that climbers refrain from their pursuit in June when the monolith is part of the Native rituals and rites. About 85% of climbers respect the request but there was a suit brought stating the government was acting inappropriately for religious purposes.
There are 57 National Monuments within the National Park System covering 2,157,574 acres and a total of 93 Monuments between all departments overseeing their use. The National Park Service runs 391 parks and 60% of those areas have historic significance. The Park Service maintains a web presence to help with educational endeavors. They wish to maintain the historic places geographically as well as the timelessness of the lessons they teach.
“We cannot let our nation’s parks deteriorate beyond repair. It is essential that Congress act now to protect and restore our National Parks System.” – Brian Baird
“Protecting dark night skies in our National Parks is as vital as protecting clean air, water, wildlife and the sounds of nature.” – Thomas Kiernan
“What we don’t want to do is price the national park experience out of anyone’s lifestyle.” – James Doyle
“If you like wide-open spaces and a sense of the Old West and pioneering spirit, there’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park.” – Al Nash
Also on this day:
Powerful Serve; Best Backhand – In 1938, John Donald Budge became the first tennis player to win the Grand Slam of tennis.
Majestic 12 – In 1947, Harry S Truman did not form a secret society.
September 23, 1988: José Canseco becomes the first member of the 40-40 club. Because statistics are fun, baseball is chock full of them. The club is for major league players who accumulate both 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in a single season. More common than the 40-40 club is the 30-30 club. It is the same idea there, but just with lower numbers. There are currently only four members of this prestigious club; Canseco has been joined by Barry Bonds (1996), Alex Rodriguez (1998), and Alfonso Soriano (2006). There are far more members in the 30-30 club with Ken Williams starting the list in 1922.
Included in the 30-30 list but not quite making it to the higher list are some notable heartbreakers. Larry Walker, Hank Aaron, Jeff Bagwell, and Ellis Burks all hit the 40 home run mark but fell short of the stolen bases mark. In 1990, Barry Bonds stole 52 bases but did not manage to get the required home runs that year. Eric Davis, Carlos Beltran, Howard Johnson, Jimmy Rollins, Vladimir Guerrero, Willie Mays, and Bobby Abreu all managed to steal enough bases without getting enough home runs. There are also several years with the members of the 40-40 club didn’t quite measure up but did managed to make it to the 30-30 club list. Ian Kinsler was added to the 30-30 club in 2009, the last member – so far.
Canseco was born in Havana, Cuba on July 2, 1964. The family left Cuba when José and his identical twin brother were just infants. They came to the US and grew up in the Miami, Florida area. Canseco was drafted right out of high school and snatched up during the 15th round by the Oakland Athletics in 1982. He was well regarded while playing in the minor leagues and noted for his long home runs even then. He was moved up to the majors in 1985 and played 29 games with the Oakland A’s in 1985. He stayed with the team until 1992.
Between 1992 and his baseball retirement in 2001 he played for the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, New York Yankees, and Chicago White Sox. In 2005, Canseco admitted to using anabolic steroids. In 2007, he only received 1.1% of the ballots cast to become a member of the Hall of Fame (5% of the votes are needed for inclusion). He has participated in Mixed Martial Arts and run into some legal issues. His baseball career has been overshadowed by issues with steroid use.
“I think baseball owes McGwire a gratitude of thanks for putting baseball back on the map where it should be.”
“They’re taking decent steps. They’re going to get rid of steroids little by little. The answer is not having Bud Selig do his own private witch hunt.”
“I don’t know if I’m directly trying to take on the whole baseball establishment. I’m just basically telling a story of my life.”
“Do I believe steroids and growth hormones helped me achieve that? Yes. Were there a lot of other players doing it that I had to compete against? Yes.” – all from José Canseco
September 22, 1964: The original Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof opens. The story is based on Tevye and his Daughters or Tevye the Milkman and was originally titled Tevye. The original story was written by Sholem Aleichem in 1894. The tale was first written in Yiddish and the musical’s title gives a nod to the Marc Chagall painting entitled “The Fiddler.” This was just one of many paintings depicting Jewish life of Eastern Europe, many of which contained a fiddler, a metaphor for the joyousness of life lived in a rich tradition rife with uncertainty.
This original Broadway production began at the Imperial Theatre, transferred to the Majestic Theater in 1967, and finally moved to The Broadway Theater in 1970. The show ran for 3,242 performances. It was directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins with a set design by Boris Aronson. Zero Mostel starred as Tevye the milkman with Maria Karnilova playing his wife, Golde. Both won Tony awards for their performances. Paul Lipson was Mostel’s understudy and went on to perform in the role of Tevye more than 2,000 times – more than any other actor.
The show opened in London in 1967 and played for 2,030 performances. There have been other revivals and even a film version of Fiddler. The two act musical contains ten major songs in the first act and another nine in the second. Tevye and Golde are on stage with their five daughters, four suitors for the daughters, a village matchmaker, and other elders of the village.
The play is set in Russia in 1905 and opens with Tevya explaining the precarious life of Jews at this time. A matchmaker comes by and sets up matches for the older daughters. The struggles of daily life are a theme throughout. There is even talk of a minor pogrom in the near future. The eldest daughter makes a successful match and is married. After the wedding, the Jews are told they all must leave the village, the pogrom has arrived. In the second act takes place months later, as the revolution continues Tevya is again faced with the flouting of tradition as his second daughter has arranged her own marriage. Life goes on and the daughters continue to astound their parents. Tevya’s third daughter wishes to marry outside the faith causing a crisis. As time moves on, the family survives, but is scattered across two continents.
Perchik: In this world it is the rich who are the criminals. Someday their wealth will be ours.
Tevye: That would be nice. If they would agree, I would agree.
[about Yente, the matchmaker]
Tzeitel: But Mama, the men she finds. The last one was so old and he was bald. He had no hair.
Golde: A poor girl without a dowry can’t be so particular. You want hair, marry a monkey.
Perchik: Money is the world’s curse.
Tevye: May the Lord smite me with it. And may I never recover.
Tevye: Sometimes I think, when it gets too quiet up there, You say to Yourself, “What kind of mischief can I play on My friend Tevye?”
September 21, 1970: The Cleveland Browns beat the New York Jets 31-20 when Monday Night Football (MNF) premieres on ABC. The show would continue with ABC through the 2005 season, broadcasting 555 games during the 36 year run. For the 2006 season, MNF moved to ESPN and continues to air games weekly during the NFL season. Both ABC and ESPN are owned by the Walt Disney Company.
Pete Rozell, the NFL Commissioner in the 1960s, envisioned a weekly game played during prime time to capture larger audiences. In 1964, a proposal for a Friday night game was soundly denied as it would interfere with the high school football schedule. On September 28, 1964 the first Monday game was played at Detroit when the Tigers hosted the Green Bay Packers to a stadium packed with 59,203 fans – the only ones to see the game as it was not televised. Both CBS and NBC aired a couple games during four seasons in the late 1960s.
The contract for the weekly game went to ABC. Keith Jackson, a veteran play-by-play announcer; Howard Cosell, a controversial New York sports commentator; and Don Meredith, a retired Dallas Cowboy quarterback co-hosted the show the first season. Cosell disapproved of ex-jocks in the booth and his ongoing feud with “Dandy” Don sparked viewer interest. There have been different announcers over the years, each adding their own personal touch to the show along with color commentators and sideline reporters. Dennis Miller’s highbrow humor went over the heads of many viewers and the show put up a webpage to explain his jokes.
The first points ever scored on MNF came when Gary Collins of the Browns completed an 8-yard pass from Bill Nelson. The 20,000th point came on November 5, 2001 on a 39 yard field goal by Jason Elam of the Denver Broncos. The highest rated game in the show’s history was the 1985 clash between The Bears and The Dolphins. The highest scoring game with 95 points on the board was during the 1983 Packers and Redskins game with Green Bay taking the win at 48-47.
“Great teams have great character. These are teams that are not distraught that they’re down at halftime.” – Keith Jackson
“Sports is the toy department of human life.” – Howard Cosell
“It worked out all right. It really did. I give (Cosell) a lot of credit for setting a certain tone. He made my job so much easier.” – Don Meredith
“As Don Meredith used to say, turn out the lights, the party’s over.” – Nick Hunter