“Why, hell, they were trying, damn right. Hell, better hitters than them couldn’t hit me. Why should they’ve been any different?”
~Jackie Mitchell, Throwing Shade at Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig
In every way, outside of the action on the field for like 95% of games, baseball is the most exciting American sport. Well, that might not be true, but the history of baseball is definitely more fascinating than the history of any other sport. At least it’s fascinating to us. We’ve got an entire section of all the crazy hijinks that happened in early American baseball history. So why did it take us this long to talk about the teenage girl that struck out two of the best batters of all time? Well, because it happened forever ago, sorry, we’re not all-knowing wizards with encyclopedic knowledge of every single instance of American lore, or at least we recognize that we aren’t when we’re mostly sober.
But yes! Jackie Mitchell, when she was just seventeen years of age, somehow managed to strike out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. That’s a thing that happened. And we’re going to have to talk about it.
Jackie Mitchell: The Seventeen-Year-Old Girl Who (Probably Legitimately) (Shut Up Let Us Have This) Struck Out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig
“What do you mean no one knows who I am anymore? I got a star on the Walk of Fame, dammit!”
Last week, we posted an article about famous celebrities who have a star on the Walk of Fame that maybe, just maybe, proved that getting a star has less to do with your achievements and more to do with your willingness to find someone to spend $40,000 on the damn thing. But despite the amount of shit we gave Bobby Flay for his Hollywood star, all the people included in our first article were at least some amount of famous to today’s culture.
But Hollywood has been around for a while, and let’s just say that not all the stars on the Walk of Fame have aged particularly gracefully. So for our second Hollywood Walk of Fame article, we will focus on people who, sure, may have been big deals a half century ago, but now simply elicit blank stares of, “…Who?” when we come across their name today. Consider this, we don’t know, a history lesson or something.
An Incomplete List of Every Strange, Surprising, or Altogether Weird Names on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Part 2- Much, Much, Much Less Famous, but Equally Confusing Entries)
Posted in 20th Century Insanity, America Fun Fact of the Day, Strange America
Tagged America, Dead End Kids, Fibber McGee and Molly, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars, Hoot Gibson, Johnny Hayes, paderewski, Parkyakarkus, Walk of Fame
“Okay guys, I don’t know who decided to write this article, but I’ve doubled our whiskey rations for it. Things are about to get bleak.”
~AFFotD Editor-in-Chief, Johnny Roosevelt
Our Gang helped define an entire era of early Hollywood entertainment. From 1922 through 1944, the franchise, which you may know better as The Little Rascals, put out 220 short films and one film, featuring 41 child actors during that span. They remain such an important cultural touchstone that we even decided to revisit the characters in a 1994 motion picture (which, like, did only okay). But when we started looking into the actors who played iconic characters such as Spanky and Buckwheat and Alfalfa, we discovered something a little…perturbing.
That cast is haunted, guys.
Sure, snopes has weighed in on this to preemptively tell us we’re wrong. But we’re not. To prove so, we’re going to talk about the early, non-natural demises of original cast members in what promises to be our most depressing article yet. We excluded things like overdoses and people who got heart attacks in their 50s because, well, we just don’t want to write a bunch of jokes about that kind of stuff today.
But we’ll leave it to you once you’ve seen the evidence. Was the original Little Rascals cast cursed?
(Yes they fucking were.)
The Original Little Rascals Cast Was Probably Cursed?
Posted in 20th Century Insanity, America Fun Fact of the Day, American Heroes, The Best of the Rest
Tagged Alfalfa, America, Billy Laughlin, Bobby Hutchins, Bonedust, Carl Switzer, Chubby, Clifton Young, Darla, Darla Hood, Darwood Kaye, Donald Haines, Froggy, Harold Switzer, Jay R. Smith, Little Rascals, Little Rascals Curse, Norman Chaney, Our Gang, Waldo, Weston Doty, Wheezer, Winston Doty
“What, you mean you DON’T race drunk on champagne in cars on fire anymore?”
The Indianapolis 500, a Triple Crown of Motorsport race, stands as one of America’s oldest and most prestigious opportunities for people to drive cars really fast in a circle for a few hours. As dangerous as braving breakneck speeds for the chance at a large payday can be for drivers, when the race was first run in 1911, early car technology made it an even crazier proposition. Automobiles were relatively new in the early 20th century, and things like “seatbelts” or “anything to give off the semblance of safety” were laughably foreign concepts.
For the first two years of its existence, the Indianapolis 500 was only driven by Americans, and won by Americans, which we here at American Fun Fact of the Day generally approve of. But we’re here to talk about the 1913 Indy 500, because even though it was won by a French person (booo) it featured fires, booze, and broken limbs, which pretty much describes our typical Staff holiday party. So strap in (because the drivers of this race couldn’t) and open a bottle of champagne (which the drivers of this race could) and get ready to take in some American history.
The 1913 Indianapolis 500 (Was Drunk and on Fire)
“Hahaha, the late 80s and early 90s were a MESS.”
Everyone loved the 1989 music video for Opposites Attract when it came out, even though it has aged about as gracefully as Laura Flynn Boyle. For those of you too young to remember the music video’s popularity (or those of you too wired on cocaine to remember those years), it was a duet between Paula Abdul and a cartoon cat named “MC Skat Kat” voiced by “The Wild Pair.” As with most things that happened between 1988 and 1992, we have to go out of our way to confirm that, yes, this was a thing that actually happened, and no, we’re not making this up. Our staff has long since drunk away any semblance of creativity, so trust us, making up something this comically stupid is beyond us.
The song shot up to #1 on the charts, and because music executives are as [redacted] as they are [redacted again, seriously they’ve threatened to sue us if we publish this analogy] they decided they were going to cash in (or should we say kash in) on the popularity of this groovy hip hop kat who raps about staying out and partying by giving him his own album.
So in 1991, the same year that N.W.A. disbanded, the album The Adventures of MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob was released on Virgin Records. It was produced by Paula Abdul, had a comically “this is how the young kids talk nowadays right?” press release attached to it, and it is awful.
Let’s talk about it.
The History of The Adventures of MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob
“Wait, without Budweiser, that means I’ll have to drink a better beer, which is literally any other beer.”
~America in 1976
Even when we’re screeching harpies hating on everything you love (which, apparently, solely consists of fucking ALDI, you goddamn lunatics of the internet) we are at least aware of the hatred we’re spewing. For example—many Americans like Budweiser. Like, they buy it, and drink it, and describe the flavor as something better than “remember that kid who would always sit alone and chew grass during recess? We’re pretty sure he’s now the brewmaster for Anheuser-Busch” and that’s fine. Let your freak flag fly, enjoy getting full before getting drunk and, we don’t know, unironically wearing trucker hats, it’s your life and do what makes you happy. We’re putting that out there because, invariably, every time we talk about Budweiser (which fucking sucks) an army of mouth breathers flock to the comments section to respond to our (correct) point (that Budweiser is trash). They say things like “Hey! Asshole! I like Budweiser!” (literally the only valid argument you have) or “Listen Mr. Fancy Beers, go back to your IPAs and your porters or whatever” (which inevitably is brought up in the articles where we never once mention IPAs or porters).
So, we know two things here. First of all, we know that we have a fun fact that most of you are unaware of. And secondly, we know that many of you will be absolutely fucking livid at the tone we take to tell you about it (that tone being “Budweiser is like if someone drank gutter water and thought ‘if only this could get me a slight buzz’”) (which is the correct tone). And we say bring it on. Budweiser is trash, no one should drink it, and for a brief moment in 1976, a group of Teamsters actually managed to make that happen. This is their story.
Unsung Heroes: The Budweiser Beer Strike of 1976
“Let me write an article or I’ll kill your family.”
~Cal Van Buren
It’s widely believed that in order to become a writer for America Fun Fact of the Day, you must first survive the whiskey challenge (drink a bunch of whiskey), then the hot dog challenge (eat a bunch of hot dogs), then the murder someone without asking questions challenge (RIP Dan Bilzerian
And that’s pretty much true. But our latest writer to pass that test is our newest editor, Cal Van Buren, who decided to tell you about the House of David. We’ll let Cal take it from here as he tells you about the crazy religious communes, baseball, and hair hair HAIR. Enjoy.
The House of David: The Religious Commune That Took Baseball By Storm
“Um, we still don’t really know how championships should work?”
~1925 NFL Officials
As we’ve discussed previously, when the NFL was getting off the ground, things were patently ridiculous. That’s not too surprising—frankly, the early days of any professional sports league looks silly in retrospect. By the sixth season of the league’s existence, things were starting to settle somewhat, but clearly they still had some growing pains. In fact, 1925 might very well be the most absurd season in NFL history. And no matter what you thought of last week’s Super Bowl (WHY DIDN’T YOU RUN THE BALL MORE ATLANTA), at least you know that the Patriots are the top team in the league this year (SHUT UP BOSTON FANS). 1925 did not have that luxury. Let’s take a dive, shall we.
The Beautiful Mess That Was The 1925 NFL Season
“You can’t both be called the Tigers. Or you can. Whatever. We’re kind of making this up as we go along.”
~Jim Thorpe, the first president of the NFL
The NFL is part of our nation’s DNA, exhibiting everything we stand for. Teamwork. Perseverance. Struggle. Old white men punishing people when they dance too much in celebration. A shocking inability to properly handle domestic abuse. And, of course, Tom Brady’s cleft chin. Imagining America without football is almost impossible. What would we do with our winter Sundays? Football is in the bible, you guys. “On the seventh day, the Lord kicked back a 12 pack on his recliner and watched NFL Red Zone with a close eye on his fantasy team.”
We think. Listen, just like most Americans, we like to use the bible to make our point, despite not having really “read it.” But we digress.
The point is, as much as we assume that football has always been with us, there was a time when the league was brand new and very, very ridiculous. So let’s hop in a time machine of words and go back to 1920, where the first season of a National Football League took place. It was sloppy as hell.
The First Season of the NFL was Ridiculous
“*gets hit by lightning* *chugs a beer* Don’t worry guys, I’m good.”
Most history curriculums are pretty bad at telling us about the crazy things that have actually happened in the world, if you think about it. Sure, McCarthyism during the Cold War is “something we should know” but how come no one talks about the time we tried to build a military base on the moon in 1959? Hell, even when history tries to get edgy (like, for instance, the existence of Teddy Roosevelt) it somehow manages to leave out some of the best parts (like how his daughter was a pet-snake keeping badass). This goes double for history. We know about Babe Ruth and his philandering, boozy ways, but we don’t know about the pure insanity that was Charlie Sweeney. Likewise, everyone and their mother knows at least the name “Cy Young” when it comes to pitchers, but was Cy Young an alcoholic who once was struck by lightning during a game that he stayed in and finished? We didn’t think so.
So we here at America Fun Fact of the Day have decided to do history a favor and help them spice things up a bit by telling you a little bit about Ray Caldwell, one of the most badass pitchers to ever play professional baseball, and one of the few people who can give Charlie Sweeney a run for his money.
Ray Caldwell: The Alcoholic Lightning Rod of Major League Baseball