Appropriately enough, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was copyrighted that year
When the Chicago Cubs face the Cleveland Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday in Cleveland, fans will be hoping for the team’s first World Series win in over a century. The last time it happened was Oct. 14, 1908, when the Cubs beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1 to score their second title, just one year after winning its first.
But that’s not all that happened in 1908. Step up to the plate, and take a look:
The year started with the first Times Square ball drop: The ball was lowered from the flagpole on top of One Times Square on New Year’s Eve 1907 to ring in 1908. Made by immigrant metal worker Jacob Starr, the 700-pound ball was five feet in diameter and made out of wood, iron and 100 25-watt light bulbs.
“Waiters in the fabled ‘lobster palaces’ and other deluxe eateries in hotels surrounding Times Square were supplied with battery-powered top hats emblazoned with the numbers ‘1908’ fashioned of tiny light bulbs,” according to the Times Square Alliance. “At the stroke of midnight, they all ‘flipped their lids’ and the year on their foreheads lit up in conjunction with the numbers ‘1908’ on the parapet of the Times Tower lighting up to signal the arrival of the new year.”
Muir Woods became a national monument: The Redwood forest north of San Francisco in Marin County was designated as such by President Theodore Roosevelt, on Jan. 9. It was, according to the National Park Service, the first national monument that was created from land that had been donated by a private individual. (Previously, the land had been owned by William Kent and Elizabeth Thatcher Kent.)
“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was copyrighted: The words to baseball’s so-called national anthem — sung during the seventh-inning stretch — was written by vaudeville performer Jack Norworth, who claimed that he had never seen a game before batting out the lyrics on an envelope after seeing a subway sign “Baseball Today—Polo Grounds.” Copies of the tune, with music composed by Albert von Tilzer, were submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office on May 2, according to the Library of Congress.
Mother’s Day was first celebrated: Philadelphia activist Anna Jarvis is believed to have started the tradition by sending 500 carnations to her mother’s church, Andrew Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, W.V., on May 10.
The FBI formed: A memo signed by then Attorney General Charles J. Bonaparte, dated July 26, explained the workings of what would be a “regular force of special agents” conducting investigations for the Department of Justice. The agency now known as the FBI started with 34 men at a time, when, as the agency puts it, there was plenty to investigate: political machines like Tammany Hall, abhorrent conditions in meat packaging plants, tensions between immigrant communities in rapidly growing cities, and more.
Before 1908, Bonaparte had been “borrowing operatives from the Secret Service,” according to the agency. “These men were well trained, dedicated—and expensive. And they reported not to the Attorney General, but to the Chief of the Secret Service. This situation frustrated Bonaparte, who had little control over his own investigations.”
The Ford Model T was introduced: “It was the coming in 1908 of Henry Ford‘s cheap and sturdy Model T that made the car available to all classes and that finally broke down the barrier between urban and rural America,” as Fortune columnist John Chamberlain wrote in 1962 for the magazine’s A History of American Business. (The series of articles later became the book The Enterprising Americans.) The first Model T was produced on Oct. 1 of that year.
The first Gideon Bible was ordered for a hotel: The practice of putting Bibles in hotel rooms dates back to Nov. 9, 1908, when the Superior Hotel in Superior, Mont., ordered 25 of them, according to The Gideons International, which had been founded as an association for traveling Christian businessmen a decade earlier.