What Happened on July 5?

  • Spam luncheon meat hit grocery store shelves. (1937) The Hormel Foods Corporation had previously packaged the meat as Hormel Spiced Ham, but it didn't sell well. The name Spam, which Hormel's trademark lists as SPAM, was chosen in a marketing contest. The product was successful and now is sold in 41 countries, and in 2007 the company sold its seven billionth can.

  • Oliver North was sentenced to a suspended three-year prison term, probation, 1,200 hours of community service and $150,000 US Dollars in fines for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal. (1989) The Iran-Contra Affair involved the sale of weapons to Iran, which was under an arms embargo at the time. The sale was made, in part, with the hope of six US hostages being released, becoming an arms-for-hostages situation, which the US would not publicly condone. North also diverted some of the money to fund rebels in Nicaragua.

  • The first mammal, Dolly the sheep, was cloned. (1996) Dolly was cloned from an adult cell by scientists Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell in Scotland. She lived for six years — the normal sheep life span is six to 11 years.

  • The trial began for the Chicago White Sox players accused of throwing the World Series. (1921) The group, commonly referred to as the "black sox," included baseball greats Shoeless Joe Jackson, Eddie Cicotte and Buck Weaver. It was considered a conspiracy to fix the game in response to very low pay for the players. Local gamblers agreed to pay the players an extra sum of money to lose — they were favored to win, so the gamblers stood to win big. The situation became publicly known when the gamblers didn't pay up. The trial, mostly for show, resulted in all players being acquitted after they agreed not to denigrate the game further.

  • The bikini debuted in Paris — more of a re-introduction, really. (1946) The bikini actually dates back to Ancient Greco-Romans, and Annette Kellerman, an Australian swimmer, was arrested in 1907 for wearing one on the beach. The acceptable modern bikini, however, debuted on this day at a fashion show at the Molitor Pool in Paris. It was designed by Louis Réard, a French engineer, and Jacques Heim, a French fashion designer.

  • Elvis Presley recorded his first commercial song, That’s All Right (Mama). (1954) The song, which hadn't been rehearsed by Elvis, was recorded by Sam Phillips, who is commonly credited for discovering him. The song played on the radio just two days after it was recorded and became Elvis' first hit.

  • The first black baseball player signed with the American League. (1947) Larry Doby signed with the Cleveland Indians on this day, just 11 days after black player Jackie Robinson became the first black player to sign with the National League.

  • The first black man won the Wimbledon tennis singles title. (1975) 31-year-old Arthur Ashe beat 22-year-old Jimmy Conners in four sets, winning the fourth set 6-4. Ashe won 51 tournaments in his career, and the new US Open home court was named after him in 1997.

  • Martina Hingis became the youngest player to win the Wimbledon singles championship in the 110-year history of the title. (1997) Hingis, just 16 years old, beat Jana Novotna. Hingis was the youngest top-ranked player in history for 209 weeks.

  • Roger Federer set a new record of 15 Grand Slam titles in tennis. (2009) Federer topped his record, winning his 16th Grand Slam title in 2010. He is considered one of the best tennis players in history and has been ranked number one for a total of 285 weeks throughout his career, just one week behind Pete Sampras, who holds the record.

  • The Salvation Army was founded. (1865) William Booth founded the charitable Christian church in London, England. It now operates in 121 countries worldwide.

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