Today is March 29, 2010 and the 88th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 276 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 998 days till the end of the current cycle. On this date, in 2004, The Republic of Ireland becomes the first country to ban smoking in all work places. Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:
Cy Young (1867-1955)
This professional baseball player was an Ohio native and born Denton True Young. He won more major league games than any other pitcher. His victory total is variously given as 509 or 511, the sum of his defeats 313, 315, or 316. In each of 16 seasons (14 consecutive, 1891–1904) he won more than 20 games; in five of those years he won more than 30. Among his other records are games started, 816 or 818; completed starts, 750 or 751; and innings pitched, 7,356 or 7,377. (Many important early records of baseball are in dispute.) Young, a big (6 feet 2 inches, 210 pounds) right-hander, pitched for five teams during his 22 years (1890–1911) in the major leagues, spending the first nine seasons with the Cleveland team in the National League, and the period 1901–08 with the Boston Red Sox in the American League. In 1897 and 1908 he pitched no-hit games, and on May 5, 1904, he registered a perfect game (no player reaching first base) for the Red Sox against the Philadelphia Athletics. He also played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1899–1901) and the Boston Braves (1911) in the National League and the Cleveland Indians (1909–11) in the American League. Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937, Young is commemorated in the Cy Young Award, instituted in 1956 to honor the best major league pitcher each year (separate awards for each league from 1967). After baseball, he returned to his farm and stayed there until he died at the age of 88.
Sam Walton (1918-1992)
U.S. retail magnate and founder of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. was born in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. He attended the University of Missouri and then trained with the J.C. Penney Co. In 1945 he started a chain of variety stores in Arkansas, and in 1962 he opened his first Wal-Mart store in Rogers, Ark., offering a wide selection of discount merchandise. Whereas other discount-store chains were usually situated in or near large cities, Walton based his stores in small towns where there was little competition from established chains. Using this strategy his company expanded to 800 stores by 1985. In 1983 he opened the first Sam’s Wholesale Club. Walton stepped down as chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores in 1988 but remained chairman until his death, by which time there were over 1,700 stores and Walton’s family was the wealthiest in the U.S. In the 1990s Wal-Mart became controversial for depleting downtown districts of their commercial life by siting stores nearby. By the end of the 20th century it had become the world’s largest retailer.
Billy Carter (1937-1988)
The younger brother of former President Jimmy Carter, Billy Carter gained notoriety for his failed beer business and his business dealings with the Libyan government in the 1970s. With a thirteen-year age difference, Billy spent much of his life in the shadow of his older brother Jimmy. A poor student, Billy dropped out at seventeen to join the U.S. Marine Corps. While in the service, he married his wife Sybil and started a family. He and his family moved to Plains after Carter completed his time with the corps. Carter worked for the family business and gradually took over the responsibilities from his older brother as Jimmy began to pursue a career in politics. Billy’s down-home, near redneck persona was a sharp contrast to his brother’s more reserved and refined image. Billy’s public image was an asset and a liability to Jimmy as he ran for the presidency in 1976. Billy’s country-boy style endeared him to many and highlighted Jimmy’s southern roots. But his frequent beer drinking and candid nature could not have been easy for someone on the campaign trail. After Jimmy took office in 1977, Billy moved from Plains to a nearby town with his family to avoid the crowds that came to see the president’s hometown. While he did not want to deal with the visitors, he was happy to capitalize on his notoriety as the president’s brother. He launched his own beer company that same year, selling what he called Billy Beer. Initially the product generated a lot of publicity. This, unfortunately, did not translate into a steady stream of revenue for the venture. The beer business soon folded, but Carter continued to run the family farm and a gas station he owned. In 1978 and in 1979, Carter visited the country of Libya, working on an oil business deal. He received a $220,000 loan from the Libyan government. Some thought that he was abusing his position as the president’s brother and Billy’s actions became the subject of a Senate investigation. The timing of the investigation was incredibly damaging to Jimmy Carter’s re-election bid, even though he was never involved in his brother’s activities. And it had no legal consequences for Billy. He had to repaid the loan and register as an agent of the Libyan government. Still the whole incident had cast a dark cloud over Jimmy Carter’s campaign and may have contributed to his eventual defeat by Ronald Reagan in 1980 election. Not too long after one scandal quieted down, Carter was immersed in another. This time he had to grapple with the Internal Revenue Service. In 1981, he had to sell his gas station, the home that he and his family had lived in for years, and other property to pay off his tax bill. Carter had neglected to properly account for income from speaking engagements and other appearances. Behind of his good ol’ boy façade, Carter was actually very intelligent and well-read. He was disturbed by how of the press portrayed him as a redneck and a dimwit, but he also was committed to not conforming to the traditional image of a presidential sibling. Sober for years, Carter had put his hard-drinking ways to rest in 1979 after a stint in rehab. But this could not have prevented him from getting a disease that seems to have haunted the Carter family. Like his father and sister, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1987. After undergoing surgery and experimental treatments, Billy Carter succumbed to the disease on September 25, 1988, in Plains, Georgia.
Elle Macpherson (Born 1964)
Born Eleanor Nancy Gow in Sydney, Australia, this supermodel and actress was nicknamed “The Body”. Even prior to her ascendancy to modeling fame, Macpherson was no stranger to the high life. After her parents divorced in her early teens, her mother remarried multimillionaire Neil Macpherson, the owner of a chain of stereo equipment stores. After a brief stint studying law at Sydney University, Macpherson was “discovered” while on a ski vacation in Aspen, Colorado. A contract with Click Model Management soon followed. Like so many of her contemporaries, Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition was her springboard to public fame. The powerful, athletic Macpherson graced four SI covers (1986-1988, 1994) . In addition to appearances in the mainstay publications of the modeling world, Macpherson parleyed her SI success into contracts with Victoria’s Secret and Playboy. For her work in the latter, she netted a whopping $25,000 per page. The spread was ten pages long. For a time, Macpherson was one of the wealthiest models in the business. She marketed a series of her own photo calendars and starred in a successful fitness video. In 1995, People magazine included her in its “50 Most Beautiful People” issue. But by the mid-1990s, she turned her attention to acting. She appeared in several films, including Sirens (1995), Batman and Robin (1997) and most recently A Girl Thing (2001), a miniseries for the Showtime Network. She also appeared in a series of episodes of the hit TV sitcom Friends. Critical response to her dramatic attempts was at best mixed, and at worst, unflattering. Macpherson also experienced mixed success in the business arena. Her personal line of lingerie, Elle Macpherson Intimates, is the top selling brand in Australia. However, her partnership with fellow supermodels Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell in the creation of the Fashion Café was less fruitful. The troubled restaurant venture went into receivership in 2000.
Man O’ War (1917-1947)
Man O’ War was one of the greatest thoroughbred racehorses of all time. During his career, following World War One, he won 20 out of 21 races and purses, totaling nearly $250,000. He was sired by Fair Play and the mare, Mahubah. His owner was August Belmont, Jr (1854-1924), son of the namesake Belmont Stakes. Man O’ War was named by Belmont’s wife, in honor of her husband, while he was fighting in World War One at the age of 65. In 1918, the Belmonts decided to liquidate their stables and sold the yearling to Samuel D. Riddle for the price of $5000. At the age of 2, Man O’ War made his racing debut at Belmont Park winning the race by 6 lengths. He was trained Louis Feustel and ridden by Johnny Loftus. In his only loss, at Sanford Memorial Stakes, Man O’ War had a late start and still only lost the race by a half length. He ended his second year with a 9-1 record. In his third year, he got a new jockey, since Johnny Loftus failed to regain his jockey’s license. He later became a trainer. The new jockey, Clarence Kummer never lost another race with Man O’ War. His last race came in Winsdor, Canada at the Kenilworth Park Gold Cup. In this race, that was filmed in its entirety, was fought hard between Man O’ War and the contender Sir Barton – the first Triple Crown Winner. Man O’ War won the race and retired after a flawless season. He was put out to stud and sired some of the greatest horses known to man, including: American Flag, Battleship, Crusader, and War Admiral. Another one of his offspring, Hard Tack, would go on to sire the famous horse, Seabiscuit. Man O’ War died at the age of 30 from a heart attack soon after the death of his groomer, Will Harbut. His remains are buried at the Kentucky Horse Park, home of the Kentucky Derby.