Way back when: Today in history
BY GENE CURTIS
Thursday, February 07, 2013
2/07/13 at 2:42 AM
1949 - DiMaggio contract
Center fielder Joe DiMaggio signed a one-year contract with the New York Yankees that he described as "the best contract I have ever had" and may have made him the highest-paid player in baseball history up to then. The exact terms of the contract were not revealed but it was believed it set a base pay of more than $60,000 plus bonuses based on attendance that would raise his pay to more than $90,000 or $100,000. Babe Ruth had received base pay of $80,000 plus bonuses that brought his pay above $90,000 for 1930 and 1931.
1991 - 10 Downing St. shelled
A mortar shell fired by the IRA exploded outside 10 Downing St. in London as Prime Minister John Major was meeting with his cabinet, but the only injuries were to three police officers and a civil servant. Major, who lived and worked at 10 Downing St., moved the cabinet meeting to another room and continued.
It was the Irish Republican Army's first mortar attack in Britain, though it had often used the weapon in Northern Ireland. Two mortar shells also fell near the nearby Foreign Office but did not fully explode.
2001 - White House shooting
An accountant who had been fired by the Internal Revenue Service fired several shots outside the White House before being shot in the right knee by a Secret Service agent and arrested. The shooter was identified as Robert W. Pickett, 47, of Evansville, Ind., who had acknowledged in court records that he suffered from mental illness. Pickett was shot after a 10-minute standoff when he aimed his gun at an agent. Pickett was sentenced to three years at a federal medical facility.
2009 - Australian wildfires
Entire towns were razed by wildfires raging through southeastern Australia, burning people in their homes and cars in the deadliest blaze in the country's history. The grim toll from blazes that had been burning for weeks across several states reached more than 200 two weeks later and an investigator said some bodies had not been identified or counted. Such fires were common for the time of year, but the worst drought in a century had left forests drier than usual, the temperature was 117 degrees, the relative humidity was 7 percent, and the wind was gusting to 50 mph. "Hell in all its fury has visited the good people of Victoria," Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said. Investigators had strong suspicions that some of the deadly blazes were arson.
Wildfires burn in Victoria state north of Melbourne, Australia. Associated Press file