A Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

October 22

Jousting

In 2007, federal legislators promised to review health and safety regulations in Equestrianism following another jousting fatality.

A man died in a freak accident at a jousting tournament on Monday. The unnamed man died after a splinter of wood from a lance flew through the slit of his helmet and penetrated his eye. He died after a week in hospital. The accident occurred in September but the man's death has only just been made public. 'We have been shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic accident,' a United States Department of Agriculture spokeswoman said. 'The professional event has an excellent safety record and took all the appropriate and necessary precautions and it does sadly appear this was a tragic freak accident.'

Jousting - Fatality
Fatality

The United States Department of Agriculture perform routine inspections of horse shows including jousting events, but safety concerns are difficult to eliminate in this controversial high contact sport.



November 17
In 2007, having failed to qualify for Euro 2000, English football reached a new nadia. Austria, a team ranked 88th in the world rankings beat England in a friendly match. The national team signed a petition urging Austria to pull out of Euro 2008 and give their automatic spot to the best team that missed out in the qualifying competition. Which ironically, was England.


July 5
In 1921, The Chicago Town Ball club, known as the White Stockings, is accused of deliberately losing the World Series against the Cincinnati Browns and put on trial. In a sham trial, the players are acquitted when their signed confessions mysteriously disappear. One good result came of it; the new Commissioner of Town Ball appointed by the team owners to ensure this never happened again. After listening to the trial and the players' complaints about Charles Comiskey, Commissioner Kennisaw Mountain Landis banned Comiskey from Town Ball for life. Comiskey was forced to sell his team; the city of Chicago bought it, and the Stocks have been a community club ever since.


July 7
In 1974, the Dutch soccer team first breaks the heart of a host as they defeat West Germany 2-1 at the 10th World Cup in Munich. After also winning the 1978 World Cup, the Dutch team virtually disappears from soccer in the 80's, but comes roaring back in the 90's with appearances in the finals in '94 and '98.


July 9
In 1877, the French-spawned sport of lawn tennis reached its peak of popularity as a grand tournament was organized in Wimbledon, a suburb outside of London. At first well-attended, the Wimbledon tournament faded with the end of the century, as did the sport it had helped make popular.


July 16
In 1950, the largest crowd ever to attend a sporting event, (almost 200,000 spectators), watches Uruguay go down in a blaze of glory as Brazil defeats them in the World Cup at Rio De Janeiro.


February 6

In 1994, professional skater Nancy Kerrigan was fatally beaten by men including the husband of rival Tonya Harding.

The original intent of the assault was simply to injure Kerrigan's leg so that she would be knocked out of competition.

 - Nancy Kerrigan
Nancy Kerrigan

When the skater resisted, however, she was badly beaten, receiving several blows to the head which render her unconscious. Rushed to the hospital, she would be pronounced dead the following morning, never having awakened.

The subsequent police investigation resulted in the imprisonment of both Ms. Harding and her husband on charges ranging from aggravated assault to second-degree murder. Harding will serve ten years and will emerge to find herself unemployable. On April 2, 2007, despondent, she will take her own life in the cheap apartment she had been renting since her release.



February 25

In 1964, world heavyweight boxing champion Sonny Liston successfully defended his title against opponent Cassius Clay, winning their bout on points after his opponent broke his hand on Liston's jaw.

It would prove to be a costly victory. Liston had taken a brutal beating, and which doctors would later suggest had played a role in the champ's gradual development of the characteristic slurred speech and tremors of Parkinson's disease.

 -


March 11

On this day in 2019, fans of Japan's Hanshin Tigers baseball team held a parade to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the recovery of the famous Colonel Sanders statue from the Osaka River. That find was believed by many of the Tigers faithful to have ended a long-standing jinx on the club and played a part in its subsequent run of nine consecutive Japan World Series pennants.

 - Colonel Saunders
Colonel Saunders


June 21

In 2008, some 600 people clad in tunics raced barefoot at the Nemea stadium, 120 kilometres (75 miles) southwest of Athens.696th Olympiad held at Nemea
Two races were staged for the runners aged from 10 to 80, one of 100 metres (110 yards) and the other of 7.5 kilometres. No medals were awarded but crowns of palm branches and wild celery. The six hundred and ninety-sixth Olympiad has reverted to the original prize giving ceremonies established at Olympia in 776 BC.

Some confusion exists around the Ancient Greek Calendar. That the Olympics were held every four years is well known, but some evidence for that assertion is not out of place. Ancient writers all refer to the Olympics as a 5-year period. Ancient historians date by Olympiad by giving both the number of the Olympiad and the year within the cycle, 1-4 (the Olympiad itself was held on year 1). Additionally, lists of Olympic winners were maintained, and the 3rd c. BCE writer Timaios compiled a synchronic list comparing Olympic winners, Athenian archons, Spartan kings, and the priests of Hera from Argos.

Olympiad 1,1 correlates to 776 BCE. We do not actually need to believe an actual festival was held on this date, but when Greek historians are writing in later times, they date their own events using this as the epoch. We can establish a precise correlation to the common era from a variety of different sources, but the most definitive comes from a passage in Diodorus, where he dates the year of a total solar eclipse to the reign of the Athenian archon Hieromnemon, which he also gives as Ol. 117,3. The only astronomically possible date for this event is August 15, 310 BCE, which fixes our epoch.

One thing to be wary of with reckoning by Olympiad is that writers calculated the start of the year by their local convention (spring, summer, winter, or fall). For example Ol. 1,1 correspond to Fall, 777 - Fall 776 BCE by Macedonian reckoning. Byzantine writers who use Olympiads take the year to begin on September 1.

Most of the other eras used by Greek writers are of little importance. One worth mentioning, however, is the Trojan Era (from the destruction of Troy), which is found in a number of historians' works. This date, of course, is purely conventional, and can be seen as analogous to the various world eras (e.g., Hillel's above). A wide variety of starting points are found, but the one with the widest currency, developed by Eratosthenes, set it 407 years before the first Olympiad (1183 BCE).



April 10

In 2006, in announcing his electoral platform as a Democratic Party Candidate for the US Senate, the actor and human rights activist Ramón Estévez1 pledged to withdraw the State of Ohio2 from the All America Battle Royale for 2007/8.
Watch the Trailer of Battle Royale

Battle RoyaleA long-established part of American life, every year under the "Battle Royale" program states (or, in the case of small close-together states like Vermont and New Hampshire, or Connecticut and Rhode Island) randomly select a junior high school. Co-written with Eric OppenThe nineth-graders are put in an isolated locale with explosive collars to keep them under control and then given randomly-selected weapons (or "surprises" like boxing gloves) to have them fight to the death until one survives.

Privately, even the most vocal supportes of Estévez expressed doubt as to whether a pacifist could enter the Senate let alone deliver on his campaign pledge. Particularly when his own son Carlos Irwin Estévez3 was a gun-toting hedonist who had risen to fame (as a former winner) through the program.



September 25

In 2009, in a press release on this day from Virtual Self Inc., CEO Dr. Lionel Canter confirmed that surrogate technology would be ready in time for the disabled athletes competing at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London.
Click to watch the Movie Trailer on Youtube

Human PerfectionWheelbound himself, Canter invented surrogates in order for disabled people to lead a physically active life.

During the early part of the decade, Canter won a bitter board room battle with company directors who sought to commercialise the universal application of the technology. Human perfection. What could go wrong?Their ubiqituous vision sought to offer surrogates to all humans who could live a cyber-life inside a perfect human form.

However cultural and moral issues raised by the so-called "Human Coalition" caused such an application to be banned by the US Congress. In the compelling words of the head of the Human Coalition known as "The Prophet", VSI would in effect cause people to "live a lie".



June 7

In 1970, on this day in Guadalajara Soccer Stadium representatives of Her Majesty's Government watched in mounting horror as Brazil beat favourites England 1-0. Captain Bobby Moore then embraced Pele in a startlingly iconic gesture of sportmanship that challenged the racist immigration policies of Prime Minister Enoch Powell.

Mutual RespectEngland were considered by many to have a stronger side than the one that lifted the World Cup four years earlier. Sir Alf Ramsey was still in charge and players from the World Cup winning side such as the Bobbies Charlton and Moore (the Captain), Alan Ball, Gordon Banks, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters were in their prime. They had been joined by midfielders Francis Lee and Alan Mullery, and defenders Tommy Wright, Terry Cooper and Brian Labone.

As reigning champions, England had not had to qualify so they arranged a pre-tournament tour, playing the national sides of Columbia and Ecuador, to acclimatise to the heat and altitude.

At the final whistle, the Brazilians leapt for joy as though they had already won the cup, so clearly relieved were they to have beaten the World Champions. The enduring images are those of Bobby Moore and Pele embracing each other and the obvious mutual respect that the two teams held for each other.

In 1966, the British people had seen the triumph of the Labour Government, the shiney NHS bodies of Moore and his working class footballers. They had taken the national team to the summit of human experience, the world cup. But in 1970, against the backdrop of Powell's apocalyptic warnings of "rivers of blood" and that "in ten years the black man will hold the whip hand in this country", Moore took the national team to a new level. Because the team that travelled to the Mexico 1970 World Cup were more than champions, they were working class heroes taking Britain out of the Imperial Era, beacons of an exhilerating future that Powell would never understand.



June 12

In 1952, on this day the Cleveland Barons were finally granted acceptance into the National Hockey League.

Ohio's FinestAs a newly recognized "major", they would blaze a trail to the Stanley Cup in 1968. But that stunning victory was still a long way into the distant future; although they were generally respected for being the most successful team in American Hockey League history, during the fifties they struggled to break free of their image as a "minor", not helped by playing to standing-room-only audience.

The preeminent star of the franchise was Fred Glover, the team's career leader in goals, assists, points, penalty minutes and seasons, (and second in league history in all those categories). Also notable was Hall of Famer goaltender Johnny Bower, who before he starred in the NHL played brilliantly for the Barons for nine seasons and is the AHL's career shutout leader. The longtime general manager for the franchise was James C. Hendy, a Hall of Fame Builder and the first prominent statistician in the history of the sport. Other notable players included Les Cunningham, a five-time league All-Star for whom the AHL's MVP award is named, Jack Gordon, Norm Beaudin, Bill Needham (the team's career leader in games played), Cal Stearns, Fred Thurier and Les Binkley.



October 1

In 2009, as expected the International Olympics Committee (IOC) confirmed that the Games of the XXXI Olympiad would be co-hosted by the cities of Kabul and Baghdad. The acceptance of the bid was predicated upon advanced investment plans underwritten by the World Bank.

Olympic SpiritUntil the millenia, the location of the Games had been determined by infrastrusture readiness, a chicken-and-egg argument that disadvantaged the capitals of developing nations, who of course most needed the regeneration investment.

Much of the credit for this keynote decision was attributable to Great Britain's progressive Prime Minister, Mr Bryan Gould (pictured) who, alongside Princess Diana, had spearheaded a global anti-poverty campaign since taking office in 1997. One of the key outcomes of that campaign was to secure a pledge from the IOC not only to locate the Games in developing nations, but also to encourage the formation of international teams of specialists from around the world to work on the necessary infrastructure projects. Rather than develop plans at a national level, this pooling of international resource would add an extra dimension to regeneration efforts across developing nations.



December 4

In 1915, the launching of the so-called Peace Ship marked the beginning of the end of the first phase of the Great European War.

Originally derided as a pacifist pipe dream, the Peace Ship gained enormous prestige when Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan (pictured), known to be a vocal advocate of a peaceful settlement, agreed to go along, bringing with him the prestige and presumably the authority of the Wilson Administration.
Peace Ship

Wilson would make that explicit on Dec. 7, when, in a formal address to Congress, he announced, "Secretary Bryan is traveling with the full approval of this administration. It is my earnest hope that he and his companions will succeed in their endeavor. The governments of the belligerent nations, some of whom have applied extraordinary pressure against this nation in hopes of securing our participation in the conflict as their military allies" --clearly a reference to Britain, which had begun impounding U.S. ships in order to prevent them from trading with Germany and Austria--"must understand that the United States desires peace above all, and certainly above armed involvement in a conflict not of our choosing".

Wilson's speech electrified the nation, and would precipitate an open break with a top adviser, Col. Edward House, who under the influence of British diplomats had been pushing the President to take a pro-Entente stance. Protesting that he was as committed to peace as was Secretary Bryan, House objected strenuously to Wilson's newly militant neutralism.

The presence of Bryan aboard the so-called "Peace Ship" would prove decisive. The other members of the peace delegation were respected figures in their own right, but none had the personal prestige of the three-time Democratic candidate for president and current Secretary of State. With him on their side, the peace delegates were able to persuade the major warring powers to send delegates to their conference in Stockholm.

The resulting treaty, concluded after months of wrangling on June 6, essentially called for a return to the status quo ante bellum. There were minor adjustments: the disputed territory of Alsace-Lorraine, for example, was placed under joint Franco-German trusteeship with the promise of further negotiations aimed at granting its inhabitants the right to choose whether to join France or Germany or seek independence, and a commission was appointed to consider the independence claims of Serbia as well, whose nationalists had helped ignite the conflict by assassinating the heir to the Austro-Hungarian imperial throne in August 1914. However, for the most part, the belligerents were required simply to withdraw to their prewar borders and (with the agreed-on exceptions) recognize one another's preexisting territorial claims.

The armistice destabilized Europe, cutting the ground out from under revolutionary movements which had been gathering steam in Russia, Germany and Italy. But that stability had been exposed by the bloody conflict as perilously precarious. The European order which had prevailed with minor disruptions from the Congress of Vienna in 1815 until Sarajevo was, it was clear, nearing its end, one way or another.

And there were plenty of ambitious men who had their own ideas about what should replace it. Neither France nor Germany was truly satisfied with the resolution of the Alsace-Lorraine problem, nor was Germany happy to remain second to Britain as a maritime power. Japan resented the terms of the postwar Washington Naval Conference, held in the summer of 1918,1 which set Tokyo's quota of major warships below that of the other major powers, more or less explicitly because the Japanese were not white; at the same time, the Japanese dreamed of expanding their holdings in mainland Asia beyond Korea, which they had occupied in 1910. Both Germany and Italy had ambitions in Africa. Even Turkey's Sultan Mehmet VI dreamed of reviving his decrepit realm through new territorial acquisitions in North Africa.2 Russia's Tsar Nicholas II, meanwhile, schemed to expand his own empire at the expense of that of the Turks.

The stage was set for a second round of fighting among the imperial powers. And if the experience of the first round was any guide, the second would be a terror. The European war of 1914-'16 had seen the introduction of airplanes, zeppelins, motorized armored vehicles and poison gas as weapons oif war. Who could say what would follow them?



October 1

On October 1st, 1975, the "Thrilla in Manila" and the bitter culmination of the harsh rivalry between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier ended with Ali flat on his face in the center of the ring, a victorious Frazier standing over him with clenched fists held erect over his head.

Thrilla in ManilaThe fight has been described as the greatest Heavyweight fight in the history of boxing. Ali controlled the tempo of the early rounds, though Frazier (a notoriously slow starter) had his moments. Frazier rebounded in a big way in the 5th and 6th rounds, landing thudding right hands on Ali's face. Rounds 7 and 8 saw Ali regain the initiative, though Frazier put up a furious barrage in the final minute of the 8th round. By the end of the 9th round, Ali was visibly tired from the non-stop action in the heat of Metro Manila, though he continued to fight on bravely. His repeated blows to Frazier's face began to take their toll - by the end of the 11th round, Frazier's eyes began to swell, and he was virtually a blind opponent by the beginning of Round 13. Ali noticed this and took advantage, landing 30 power shots to Frazier's head that Frazier could barely see coming. The knock-out attempt by Ali left Frazier staggered and almost knocked him down, but he somehow (due to his impeccable conditioning) weathered the storm and survived the round, though behind on all judges' scorecards.

Round 14, though a tremendous one for Ali, depleted whatever reserves of energy the outspoken champion had left. As he staggered back to his corner at the end of the round, he told his corner (led by legendary trainer Angelo Dundee) "Cut 'em off" (referring to his gloves). His corner ignored him, and worked feverishly to revive him for the final round. On the opposite corner, Eddie Futch (Frazier's trainer) had personally seen enough, telling his fighter that he was stopping the fight. Joe protested vigorously, but Futch waved the referee (Carlos Padilla, Jr) over, signalling that he wanted to end the fight. It was only when Frazier grabbed the Padilla's arm, telling him that he wanted to continue, that the referee paused to look Frazier over, momentarily unable to decide whether to go with the wishes of the trainer or the fighter. A quick, but fervent, debate between Futch and Frazier took place, with Futch insisting that Joe had taken too much punishment, and Frazier telling Futch he was fired if he tried to stop the fight. When Futch exclaimed "If I send you out there, he's gonna kill you!", Frazier gave his now-legendary reply, "Then let him kill me!" Futch, full of misgivings, slowly nodded to Padilla Jr to allow the fight to continue, though both he and Padilla told Frazier that would instantly stop the fight if they saw him taking any more serious punishment.

The bell to start the final round saw both exhausted fighters stagger to the center of the ring. Ali began to jab and dance around the ring, but his jab lacked any power and he had no energy to box and move. Frazier, though equally fatigued, saw his last chance and manoeuvred Ali to the ropes, where he continued to pound away to the body. Ali clenched and held, using his height to lean on Frazier and push him back to the center of the ring. His exhaustion caused him to lean forward with his hands dropped below his chin, and it was his downfall. Frazier, though with both eyes basically closed, still saw Ali lean forward with his defense open, and knew this was his last shot. He threw the overhand right, connecting square with Ali's jaw. Ali's head whipped violently to the right and back, and was virtually out on his feet. Frazier immediately followed up with his trademark left hook, which also landed right on Ali's chin, and Ali crashed face-down to the canvas. Padilla Jr counted to ten, but it was purely academic as everyone witnessing the fight live or on television knew that Ali was done. He was only able to roll over on his back as Padilla Jr counted him out and Frazier wearily raised both arms to celebrate the hard-earned victory, having become (once again) the Heavyweight champion of the world.

Frazier retired after the fight, saying that he had nothing else to prove and wanted to rest on his laurels. He stayed true to his word and never fought again, though he acted as a trainer to his son Marvis, who became a Heavyweight contender in the early 1990s. Ali was never the same after the bout in Manila, both mentally or physically. His friends often said years afterwards that Frazier broke down his body and his mind in that fight. His only other fight came in a rematch with George Foreman in 1976, another brutal affair that saw Foreman avenge his previous loss in Zaire with a 12th round TKO.



September 30

In 2016, on this day the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued a preliminary report on the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.
XXXI Olympiad Part 1: The ReportLaunched in a fanfare of unparalled excitement, the opening event was a Basketball exhibition match featuring US President Barack Obama. But only two weeks later, the event were hastily moved to Rio De Janeiro. That decision required a explanation [to be continued] ..



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© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.