History Book

NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD Radio History Book. Today, baseball’s Pete Rose breaks a 57-year-old record. Plus, Hurricane Ike hits the Texas Gulf Coast.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: But first, 300 years ago, a religious college moves towns and changes its name. Here’s Paul Butler.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: We begin today on September 10th, 1718. The Collegiate School, formerly of Saybrook, Connecticut, moves to its new campus in New Haven—30 miles away.

Congregationalist ministers began the school in 1701 to educate clergy, but the first fifteen years saw little growth, producing few graduates. A bidding war began in 1716 between rival towns when someone gave the school seed-money to build a permanent home.

Puritan minister Cotton Mather supported the school’s move to New Haven. He sent a letter to British East India Company governor Elihu Yale, suggesting the school might change its name in return for a substantial donation. Here’s Judith Schiff, chief research archivist at Yale University, quoting from that letter:

SCHIFF: If what is forming at New Haven might wear the name of Yale College, it would be better than a name of sons and daughters. And your magnificence might easily obtain for you, such a commemoration and perpetuation of your valuable name as would indeed be much better than an Egyptian pyramid.

Elihu Yale responded by sending a large gift of books and goods, and the school changed its name in recognition.

Yale College originally focused on theology and Biblical languages but introduced humanities and sciences by the late 18th century. Like other early U.S. seminaries and religious colleges, Yale gradually drifted from its Christian purpose. Notable graduates include: Noah Webster, Jonathan Edwards, William F. Buckley, and five U.S. presidents.

Next, September 11th, 1985:

[Game sound]

More than 47,000 fans fill Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, as the Reds host the San Diego Padres. Player-manager Pete Rose is the second man to the plate, facing pitcher Eric Show.

AUDIO: This will be interesting to see if Eric Show tries to pitch Pete…

Three days earlier, Rose matched Ty Cobb’s 57-year-old career hits record at 4,191…

AUDIO: The 2-1 pitch from Show…hit to center…there it is! Rose has eclipsed Cobb…

The crowd applauds for seven minutes. ABC’s Wide World of Sports names Rose its Athlete of the Year. He retired in 1986 with 4,256 hits. He remained manager until August 1989, when he was banned from baseball for life for gambling.

And finally, September 13th, 2008, 10 years ago:

[Hurricane Ike hitting shore]

Sounds of Hurricane Ike coming ashore, causing heavy damage to Galveston Island and surrounding areas.

NEWSCASTER: So many people stuck around. They wanted to see what Ike was going to give them. Well, I hope a lot of those folks are long gone…

Tens of thousands of Galveston residents did evacuate, including Nancy Kitchel.

KITCHEL: Our neighborhood was unrecognizable. There were boats, and debri, all over the road, I mean you couldn’t have driven in there if you wanted to…

After the storm, officials prevented homeowners from returning for two weeks. While Kitchel’s home survived the wind and storm surge, she still lost almost everything:

KITCHEL: By the time we were allowed to get back in there and do something, it was all molded, gone, shot, completely ruined…

The U.S. government estimated storm damage at more than $30 billion. In the end, 113 Americans died in the storm. Even after landfall, Hurricane Ike continued to wreak havoc, causing heavy rainfall as far north as Canada. The storm eventually hit Iceland, producing 30 foot waves, and dumping almost eight inches of rain with 89 mile-an-hour winds.

That’s this week’s WORLD Radio History Book. I’m Paul Butler.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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