The Year in Adventure, Leisure, Sports and Travel History

14 Jan – Swiss guide Matthias Zurbriggen on a British expedition under Edward Fitzgerald made the first recorded ascent of Aconcagua, at 22,837 ft the highest mountain in South America, the Western Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere (1897).

18 Jan – American pilot Eugene B. Ely landed his Curtiss Pusher on the deck of the armored cruiser USS Pennsylania in San Francisco Bay, the first time that an aircraft landed on a ship (1911).

24 Jan – In England, Robert Baden-Powell organized the first Boy Scout troop (1908).

29 Jan – Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, and Honus Wagner are announced as the first inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame (1936).

29 Jan – The first inductees into the Pro Football (American) Hall of Fame were announced, including Sammy Baugh, Bert Bell, Joseph Carr, Dutch Clark, Red Grange, George Halas, Mel Hein, Pete Henry, Cal Hubbard, Dot Hutson, Curly Lambeau, Tim Mara, George Preston Marshall, John “Blood” McNally, Bronko Nagurski, Ernie Nevers, and Jim Thorpe (1963).

2 Feb – Making a Living, Charlie Chaplin’s first movie, premiered (1914).

8 Feb – The last crew of the American space station Skylab returned to earth (1974).

11 Feb – James “Buster” Douglas, a 42 to 1 underdog, knocked out Mike Tyson in the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship in Tokyo (1990). It was considered the biggest upset in boxing history.

14 Feb – British explorer James Cook was killed by Hawaiian natives at Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii (1779).

18 Feb – The first official flight with air mail occurred from Allahabad, United Provinces, British India, when Henri Pequet, a 23-year-old pilot, delivered 6,500 letters to Naini, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away (1911).

18 Feb – Gordon Haller won the first Ironman Triathlon competition, which took place on the island of Oahu (1978).

18 Feb – Seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt died in an accident during the Daytona 500 (2001).

21 Feb – NASCAR was incorporated (1948).

21 Feb – Pilot Steve Fossett landed in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada becoming the first person to make a solo flight across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon (1995).

26 Feb – President Woodrow Wilson signed the Grand Canyon National Park Act, transforming the Grand Canyon National Monument proclaimed by Theodore Roosevelt into the 15th US National Park (1919).

26 Feb – President Calvin Coolidge signed an Executive Order establishing the Grand Teton National Park, a 96,000 acre wilderness area in northwestern Wyoming (1929).

6 Mar – An SR-71 Blackbird piloted by Lt Col Joseph Vida and Lt Col Ed Yielding set an North American transcontinental speed record, flying from Los Angeles to Washington DC in 64 minutes at an average of 2144 miles per hour (1990).

19 Mar – Pool player Willie Mosconi pocketed 526 consecutive balls in a pool demonstration in Springfield, Ohio, setting a world record (1954).

31 Mar – Wrestlemania, the largest wrestling event in the World Wrestling Federation, began in Madison Square Garden (1985).

3 Apr – The first successful run of the Pony Express, from Saint Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California, began (1860).

19 Apr – Eighteen runners ran in the first Boston Marathon, the largest and oldest marathon in the world. John J. McDermott won it in 2:55:10 (1897).

24 Apr – Cosmonaut Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov became the first person to die in space exploration after his parachute failed to open during re-entry aboard Soyuz 1 (1967).

1 May – Moses Fleetwood Walker debuted as catcher for the Toledo Blue Stockings, the first African American to play Major League Baseball (1884).

14 May – The Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore the Louisiana Territory left St Louis, MO, under Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend Second Lieutenant William Clark (1804).

20 May – Charles Lindbergh in his monoplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, completed the first solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic from New York to Paris in 33.5 hours (1927).

29 May – New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepali Sherpa, made the first successful ascent of Mount Everest, at 29,029 ft the tallest mountain on earth (1953).

7 Jun – Hudson Stuck, Harry Karstens, Walter Harper and Robert Tatum completed the first verifiable summit of Mount McKinley, at 20,237 feet the tallest mountain in North America (1913).

12 Jun – In the first human powered flight across the English Channel, Bryan Allen flew the Gossamer Albatross 22 miles in 2 hours (1979).

19 Jun – The first official, recorded baseball game occurred near Hoboken, New Jersey, in which the New York Baseball Club beat the Knickerbockers 23-1 (1846).

27 Jun – Captain Joshua Slocum aboard the sloop Spray completed the first solo circumnavigation of the earth (24 April 1895 to 27 June 1898).

22 July – Wiley Post became the first person to fly solo around the world, accomplishing the feat in the Winnie Mae and flying 15,596 miles (25,099 km) in seven days, 18 hours and 45 minutes (1933).

29 Jul – Mawenzi, the highest summit on Mount Kilimanjaro (19340 ft and the highest mountain in Africa), was first reached by the German climbers Edward Oehler and Fritz Klute (1912).

8 Aug – Endurance, the ship of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition under Ernest Shackleton, left Plymouth, England headed for Buenos Aires (1914). After Endurance was trapped in ice, he and his crew endured one of the greatest sea-faring survival stories in history.

31 Aug – Walter Cronkite began his career as anchor of CBS news, becoming the face of American news for a generation (1963).

5 Sep – Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali, won the gold medal for light heavyweight boxing in the 1960 Olympics in Rome (1960).

8 Sep – The first football (soccer) season of the British Football League, the oldest association of football clubs in the world, began with 12 member clubs (1888).

11 Sep – With the opening ceremonies in Kaula Lampur, Malaysia became the first Asian country to host the Commonwealth Games (1998).

12 Sep – During the Scottish Cup championship, and in the second greatest difference in score in football (soccer) history, Arbroath defeated Bon Accord 36-0 (1885).

13 Sep – British explorer Henry Hudson arrived at the river that would later bear his name, the Hudson River (1609).

1-9 Oct – The heavily favored Chicago White Sox were defeated in the 1919 World Series by the upstart Cincinnati Reds in what became infamous as the “Black Sox scandal”; an attempt by some White Sox players to throw (lose) the series in return for cash (1919).

13 Oct – In the first game of the American Basketball Association, the Oakland Oaks beat the Anaheim Amigos 134-129 (1967).

20 Oct – Rutgers, Columbia, Yale and Princeton jointly wrote the rules for American football (1873).

21 Oct – Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Straits that would later bear his name, connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific (1520).

24 Oct – Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to go over Niagara Falls (Horseshoe Falls) in a barrel and survive (1901).

24 Oct – The Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series, the first time it was done by a team from outside the United States (1992).

30 Oct – Boxer Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay) defeated George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire, in the famous match known as the Rumble in the Jungle (1974).

6 Nov – Rutgers defeated Princeton in the first intercollegiate American football game in New Brunswick, NJ (1869).

19 Nov – Football (soccer) legend Pele scored his 1000th goal (1969).

26 Nov – The US National Hockey League was formed (1917).

27 Nov – In an American Basketball Association game between the Kentucky Colonels and the Los Angeles Stars, Penny Ann Early became the first female professional basketball player (1968).

28 Nov – Frank Duryea won the first automobile race in America, traveling 54 miles from Jackson Park in Chicago to Evanston, Illinois in 10 hours (1895).

3 Dec – The Duquesne Country and Athletic Club in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania defeated an all-star collection of early football players 16-0, in the first all-star game for professional American football (1898).

5 Dec – Christopher Columbus became the first European to set foot on Hispanola, thus “discovering” the New World (1492).

9 Dec – America’s oldest rifle club, the Massachusetts Rifle Association, was founded (1875).

14 Dec – Norwegian Roald Amundsen and his expedition reached the South Pole (1911).

18 Dec – Members of the American Antarctic Mountaineering Expedition summited Vinson Massif, the highest mountain in Antarctica (1966).

21 Dec – William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts and founded Plymouth Colony (1620).

21 Dec– The first crossword puzzle, Arthur Wynne’s “word-cross”, was published in the New York World (1913).

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