July 30th

Edd “Kookie Kookie lend me your comb” Byrnes is 81 today.

Buddy Guy is 78.

Buddy Guy is one of the titans of the blues, straddling traditional and modern forms, as well as musical generations. He’s worked with Muddy Waters, Little Walter and Howlin’ Wolf, on one hand, and Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Rolling Stones, on the other. There are few notable blues figures that Guy hasn’t brushed up against. He was even an influence on Jimi Hendrix.

Buddy Guy Biography | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Oscar nominee (direction and co-writer, The Last Picture Show) Peter Bogdanovich is 75.

Paul Anka is 73. Anka is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, is 67.

Oscar best actor nominee Laurence Fishburne is 53.

Coach of the American men’s national soccer team, Jürgen Klinsmann is 50.

Lisa Kudrow is 51.

Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank is 40.

Joe Nuxhall, the youngest player ever to appear in the major leagues, was born on this date in 1928. Nuxhall pitched 2/3rds of an inning for the Cincinnati Reds on June 10, 1944. He was 15 years, 316 days old. He gave up 5 runs, with 5 walks, 2 hits and a wild pitch. It was 1952 before he again appeared, but he pitched for 15 more seasons. Nuxhall was a longtime Reds broadcaster. He died in 2007.

The Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel was born on this date in 1890.

Casey Stengel’s distinguished 54-year professional career spanned the era from Christy Mathewson to Mickey Mantle. He batted .284 over 14 seasons in the majors and accounted for both Giant victories in the 1923 World Series by hitting home runs. It was as a colorful and successful manager, though, that he earned Hall of Fame recognition. His feat of guiding the Yankees to 10 pennants and seven world titles in a 12-year span ranks as one of the most remarkable managerial accomplishments of all time.

Baseball Hall of Fame

A few Casey-isms:

“Can’t anybody here play this game?”

“Good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice-versa.”

“He’d (Yogi Berra) fall in a sewer and come up with a gold watch.”

One of the most remarkable Americans, Henry Ford, was born on this date in 1863. The following is an excerpt from Mr. Ford’s New York Times obituary in 1947:

Renting a one-story brick shed in Detroit, Mr. Ford spent the year 1902 experimenting with two- cylinder and four-cylinder motors. By that time the public had become interested in the speed possibilities of the automobile, which was no longer regarded as a freak. To capitalize on this interest, he built two racing cars, the “999” and the “Arrow,” each with a four-cylinder engine developing eighty horsepower. The “999,” with the celebrated Barney Oldfield at its wheel, won every race in which it was entered.

The resulting publicity helped Mr. Ford to organize the Ford Motor Company, which was capitalized at $100,000, although actually only $28,000 in stock was subscribed. From the beginning Mr. Ford held majority control of this company. In 1919 he and his son, Edsel, became its sole owners, when they bought out the minority stockholders for $70,000,000.

In 1903 the Ford Motor Company sold 1,708 two-cylinder, eight horsepower automobiles. …

With this material he began the new era of mass production. He concentrated on a single type of chassis, the celebrated Model T, and specified that “any customer can have a car painted any color he wants, so long as it is black.” On Oct. 1, 1908, he began the production of Model T, which sold for $850. The next year he sold 10,600 cars of this model. Cheap and reliable, the car had a tremendous success. In seven years he built and sold 1,000,000 Fords; by 1925 he was producing them at the rate of almost 2,000,000 a year.

He established two cardinal economic policies during this tremendous expansion: the continued cutting of the cost of the product as improved methods of production made it possible, and the payment of higher wages to his employes. By 1926 the cost of the Model T had been cut to $310, although it was vastly superior to the 1908 model. In January, 1914, he established a minimum pay rate of $5 a day for an eight-hour day, thereby creating a national sensation. Up to that time the average wage throughout his works had been $2.40 a nine-hour day.

The entire obituary is really rather fascinating reading.

Douglas Brinkley’s Wheels for the World (2003) is considered a good biography of Ford and the Ford Motor Company.

Vladimir Zworykin was born in Murom, Russia, on this date in 1889. He came to the U.S. in 1919. Zworykin’s television transmitting and receiving method using cathode ray tubes, developed in the 1920s and early 1930s, ranks him as the prime inventor of television.