Troy Aikman - February 5, 2014

The "Faces of the Tour" series on the ATT blog continues with a return to the athletes whose pictures hang on the walls of the Toy Box.  Today, we will talk about our first football player of the series:  Troy Aikman.  

Aikman was born in 1966, a California native who had a talent for football from day one.  In fact, he was the number one draft pick of 1989, and became the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys during his first year with the team.  He actually stayed with the Cowboys  for the next twelve years, the only team he played for during a very distinguished career - a rare thing for any professional athlete in this day and age.  Aikman led the team to three Super Bowl victories and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.  Retired now, he partnered with another retired player, Roger Staubach, to become a co-owner of a NASCAR team.  Currently, he is a sportscaster for the Fox network. 


Troy Aikman was offered the opportunity to play baseball right out of high school, but he declined.  Instead, he attended the University of Oklahoma and played football with the Sooners.  What baseball team expressed interest in Aikman?

a)  Baltimore Ravens

b)  New York Mets

c)  Philadelphia Phillies

d)  Oakland A's

e)  Indianapolis Colts

Answer Below.


On this day in 1919, a group of three prominent silent film actors and one admired director created a collective organization with the intention of protecting their own interests from the then-powerful commercial movie studios.  United Artists Corporation was originally established by Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and D.W. Griffiths, a powerhouse team at the time.  Their long-term successes varied, though, as did the longevity of their membership.  By 1933, talking pictures pushed Pickford, Fairbanks and Griffiths out of the limelight, and only Chaplin remained of the original four.  Almost one hundred years later, UA has become a subsidiary of MGM Studios, and its most prominent member is Tom Cruise.  The times change, but the movies live on! 

Even the most popular presidents make mistakes.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt was no exception.  During his second (of four) terms in office, Roosevelt became frustrated with the Supreme Court because they consistently declared many of the New Deal policies he wanted to use to break the Great Depression unconstitutional.  He decided that the best way to deal with it was to take away the power of the conservative justices themselves, and to appoint more liberals to the court.  On this date in 1937, FDR announced his intention to enlarge - or "pack" - the court with more-sympathetic judges.  Spoiler alert - it didn't work.  He was forbidden from adding new justices, but things worked out for FDR in the long run.  He outstayed his naysayers and was able to appoint more sympathetic judges once his opponents retired or passed away. 


One of the things the American Treasure Tour blog aspires to do is to acknowledge the important contributions women have made in our society.  Today, however, we celebrate the birth of a woman who most would consider far from a philanthropist.  In fact, Myra Maybelle Shirley Reed Starr, born on February 5th, 1848 in the town of Carthage, Missouri, was a downright criminal!  Part of her problem was in her taste for men - married twice, first to Jim Reed, then to Sam Starr (with unsubstantiated rumors of a third marriage to Charles Younger of the James-Younger gang thrown into the mix by some), both husbands would be dead by Belle's fortieth birthday due to confrontations with lawmen.  In fact, Belle, an acquaintance of the James (as in Jesse and Frank), Cole and Younger gangs, would herself be dead before her forty-first birthday, with shotgun wounds to her back and neck, although no one is completely sure who pulled the trigger.  It could have been another bad guy, a lawman, or even a disgruntled son.  Horse thieving, rustling, bootlegging, and hiding known criminals were some of her crimes, but clearly, love proved deadliest of all for Miss Belle Starr. 

Time to move on to a hero.  The baseball legend Hank Aaron turns 79 today.  Now retired, Aaron's record remains impressive.  One of few men to jump from the Negro American League to the National League after its desegregation, Aaron played for twenty-two years - all but one of those years with the Braves (first in Milwaukee, then in Atlanta).  To be honest, the records Aaron made - and in many cases still holds - are too vast to explore here.  But we wish him a happy birthday and a congratulations on having such an amazing resume!


I never doubted my ability, but when you hear all your life you're inferior, it makes you wonder if the other guys have something you've never seen before.  If they do, I'm still looking for it.  - Hank Aaron

Answer:  b)  New York Mets