I was born on this date in 1962. Please indulge me as I’d like to take a look at October 19 through the years. Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield was born on the same exact day as me. Once at a press conference, I brought up this fact to him and even showed him my driver’s license to prove it. Holyfield laughed as did the other reporters at our table.
October 19, 1962 also saw the United States in the opening days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. That morning, President Kennedy met with Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara and the Joint Chiefs of Staff before leaving for a scheduled trip to Ohio and Illinois. They discussed various military actions and the possible consequences. Ironically this meeting took place two years to the day that The United States imposed a near-total trade embargo against Cuba. For more irony, in 1917, the same year Kennedy was born, Love Field in Dallas was opened on October 19.
Traveling back to the 18th Century, 1781 to be precise, Charles Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington and Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau at Yorktown Virginia on October 19, essentially ending the Revolutionary War.
In 2004, Curt Schilling and his bloody sock beat the Yankees in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series to even things up at three games apiece. Exactly one year to the day, I was sitting in Yankee Stadium watching the Yankees beat the Marlins in Game 2 of the World Series. What a difference a year makes!
In 1994, my friend Dennis and I went to see Pulp Fiction. I remember coming out of the theater in awe. I had never seen anything like that film before. It was funny, it was violent, it was gory, it was told in a non-linear format and it was immediately placed in my Top 10 favorite films of all-time list.
Aside from Mr. Holyfield, there are a few other celebrities whom share my birthday. These include artist Peter Max, Journalist Jack Anderson, actor John Lithgow and Robert Reed (The Brady Bunch) as well as wrestler turned actor, Tor Johnson (Plan 9 From Outer Space). Lithgow hails from the great city of Rochester, which is the same place my wife was born and raised. If I ever meet Lithgow, I will have two points of reference to start a conversation with him. In an ironic twist both Reed and Johnson also died on the same day, May 12!
Former First Daughter Amy Carter (1967), director producer, screenwriter and son of Ivan, Jason Reitman (1977), first round pick in the 1986 NBA Draft out of North Carolina, Brad Daugherty (1965), actor and writer Jon Favreau (1966) whom I once met at a Bruce Springsteen concert; and South Park co-creator Trey Parker (1969) all came into the world on this day. My former co-worker Lydia and a friend from the old neighborhood, Mary, also share my birthday. Mad Magazine writer and Facebook friend Dick DeBartolo also claims 10/19 as his birthday.
There are a few notable deaths on this date. During a trip to Ireland I learned that Writer Jonathan Swift died on October 19, 1745. Swift wrote one of my favorite pieces of satire, A Modest Proposal. Academy Award winner Actor Gig Young, whom has a part in one of my favorite movies, That Touch of Mink, shot and killed his wife then turned the gun on himself in 1987.
Needless to say 19 has always been my lucky number. I always tried to secure that uniform number when I played any organized sports. Some legendary number 19’s in the sports world are: Bryan Trottier of the New York Islanders, Willis Reed of the New York Knicks, the San Diego Padres Tony Gwynn and Johnny Unitas of the (then) Baltimore Colts and then the San Diego Chargers. All of them are Hall of Famers and none of them were born on my birthday. However, Jose Batista of the Toronto Blue Jays who sports number 19, does share my birthday. I’m guessing he took the number to honor my, er I mean his birthday. During his brief stay in Toronto, John Cullen (no relation) wore number 19 for the Maple Leafs. I would love to get that jersey as a gift!
On the night of October 18, 1977, Reggie Jackson hit three home runs securing his World Series MVP Award and giving the New York Yankees their first championship in 15 years. The next day the Daily News headline shouted: REGGIE REGGIE REGGIE! When I met Reggie I got him to sign a copy of the paper with the Inscription: To Tommy Happy Birthday Reggie Jackson. The date of the Newspaper? October 19, 1977.
As fate would have it, this year I get a special event on my birthday as well. George Lucas and the Walt Disney Company must know what a huge Star Wars fan that I am. They will show the third and final trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens tonight during Monday Night Football. Happy birthday to me!