Wednesday History: August 19
Today, Aug. 19, the first race was held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Eddie Gaedel made his Major League debut and the Beatles U.S. tour began in San Francisco, according to history.com.
Five miles northwest of Indianapolis and spanning 328 acres, Indianapolis Motor Speedway held its first race in 1909. It all began as a testing facility with the growing automobile industry in Indiana. The cars of different makes and models would race against each other and spectators would go to the showroom afterward to see the autos.
The first race was five miles and 12,000 watched Louis Schwitzer win at a speed of 57.4 mph.
The surface of crushed rock and tar was replaced with more than 3 million paving bricks and dubbed "The Brickyard." The Indianapolis 500 has been held every year with two exceptions: 1917-18 and 1942-45.
In 1951, Eddie Gaedel, at 3-foot-7-inches, made his Major League debut for the St. Louis Browns as a stunt by owner Bill Veeck.
Veeck's father was the owner of the Cubs and took over after his death. He eventually bought the Cleveland Indians and signed African-American Larry Doby the same year as Jackie Robinson. Cleveland won the World Series in 1948.
Veeck went on to buy the Browns and, during a doubleheader with Detroit in the bottom of the first inning, Eddie Gaedel walks up to the plate. He was walked on four pitches.
In February 1964, the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show only to return to Europe. Over the summer, still at the top of the charts, The Beatles took the stage in San Fransisco to begin their first U.S. tour.
It all started at The Cow Palace, with seating for 17,000. Their managers didn't think the Beatles would sell out. It did, with 17,130 buying tickets. Their shows lasted about 35 minutes playing the same 12 songs in the same order beginning with "Twist and Shout" and ending with "Long Tall Sally."
Other history on this date, Aug. 19:
- After defeating the British in 1812, U.S. Navy frigate Constitution is given the nickname "Old Ironside."
- Adolf Hitler became president of Germany in 1934.
- Cambodia and U.S. sign a military aid pact in 1970.