Posted: Feb 17, 2017 12:11 AM MST
Updated: Feb 17, 2017 12:30 PM MST
2013: Danica Patrick becomes the first woman to win pole position for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, earning the front starting spot for the Daytona 500. A week later, she finished eighth in the actual race, making her the highest placing female driver in the history of the race, which has been run since 1959.
2013: Country music singer-songwriter Mindy McCready is found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on the front porch of her Heber Springs, Arkansas, home. Her death came one month after her boyfriend and the father of her son had taken his own life on the same spot. McCready, who had battled years of addiction before he suicide, was best known for hit songs such as "Guys Do It All the Time," "Ten Thousand Angels" and "A Girl's Gotta Do (What a Girl's Gotta Do)."
2008: Kosovo declares itself an independent state in defiance of Serbia and Russia. Over the following days, a number of countries, including the United States, Turkey, Albania, Croatia, Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom, announced their recognition, despite protests by Russia and others in the United Nations. Pictured is the "Newborn" monument in the capital city of Pristina that was inaugurated for the announcement of Kosovo's independence, which has been repainted with flags of the countries that have since recognized the country.
2006: Following a 10-day period of heavy rains and a minor earthquake, a massive mudslide buries the town of Guinsaugon in Southern Leyte, Philippines, killing 1,126 people.
1996: NASA's Discovery Program begins with the launch of the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft on the first mission ever to orbit and land on an asteroid. The spacecraft orbited and studied the near-Earth asteroid 433 Eros for a year before landing on Feb. 12, 2001.
1996: World champion Garry Kasparov beats the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue to win a six-game chess match. Kasparov lost the first game of the match on Feb. 10 to become the first reigning world champion to lose to a machine under regular time controls, but then won three and drew two of the following five games, beating Deep Blue by a score of 4–2 (wins count one point, draws count one-half point). On May 11, 1997, an upgraded version of the machine, with human intervention between games, won the second six-game match against Kasparov by two wins to one with three draws.
1991: Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, best known for the hit songs "The A Team," "Sing," "Don't" and "Thinking Out Loud," is born in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, England.
1989: Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Vernon "Lefty" Gomez, a five-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees in the 1930s, dies of congestive heart failure at age 80 in Greenbrae, California. He was selected as an All-Star every year between 1933 and 1939, won 20 games in a season four times, won the pitching Triple Crown in 1934 and 1937, and set a World Series record by winning six games without a loss.
1982: Jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk, known for his unique improvisational style and who is the second-most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, dies of a stroke at age 64 in Englewood, New Jersey.
1981: Socialite, actress and entertainer Paris Hilton is born in New York City.
1981: Actor and filmmaker Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who first found fame as a child actor on the sitcom "3rd Rock from the Sun" and has since starred in movies such as "10 Things I Hate About You," "(500) Days of Summer," "Inception," "The Dark Knight Rises" and "Looper," is born in Los Angeles, California.
1979: Punk rock band The Clash opens their first U.S. tour with a concert at The Palladium in New York City. The band is seen here during a 1980 show in Oslo, Norway.
1974: Actor Jerry O'Connell, best known for his childhood role in the movie "Stand By Me" and later for his role in the sci-fi TV series "Sliders," is born in New York City. O'Connell, seen here with his wife, actress and model Rebecca Romijn, also has appeared in films such as "Jerry Maguire," "Scream 2," Kangaroo Jack" and "Piranha."
1972: Singer-songwriter and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, best known as the frontman for the punk rock band Green Day, is born in Oakland, California.
1971: Actress and model Denise Richards, best known for movies such as "Starship Troopers," "Wild Things," and "The World Is Not Enough," is born in Downers Grove, Illinois.
1968: The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame opens in Springfield, Massachusetts, on the campus of Springfield College, where James Naismith invented the game in 1891. The Hall has moved twice since, first to a larger facility in Springfield on the bank of the Connecticut River in 1985 and again in 2002 to a new building constructed next to the second site.
1965: Film director and producer Michael Bay, best known for directing movies such as "Bad Boys," "The Rock," "Armageddon," "Pearl Harbor" and the "Transformers" film franchise, is born in Los Angeles, California.
1964: The Supreme Court of the United States rules in Wesberry v. Sanders that congressional districts have to be approximately equal in population.
1963: Basketball legend Michael Jordan, who won six NBA titles while playing for Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, is born in Brooklyn, New York. A Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, Jordan was named NBA Finals MVP each year he won a title with the Bulls, won NBA Most Valuable Player five times in his career and was a 14-time All-Star. The 1985 NBA Rookie of the Year after leading North Carolina to the 1982 NCAA Championship, he led the league in scoring 10 times and in steals three times and was a two-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion. He also won two Olympic gold medals, one in 1984 and another in 1992 with the USA "Dream Team." After retiring initially in 1993 to pursue a baseball career, he returned to the Bulls in 1995 and then retired for a second time in 1999. He returned for a third and final stint in the NBA with the Washington Wizards during the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons. He is now the majority owner and head of basketball operations for the NBA's Charlotte Hornets.
1963: Comedian and actor Larry the Cable Guy, who rose to fame as a member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour with his catchphrase "Git-R-Done!," is born Daniel Lawrence Whitney in Pawnee City, Nebraska. Besides his comedy albums, he is also known for his movie roles in "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector," "Delta Farce" and "Witless Protection," and for voicing the tow truck Mater in the Disney-Pixar "Cars" movies.
1962: Actor Lou Diamond Phillips, best known for the movies "La Bamba," "Stand and Deliver," "Young Guns" and "Courage Under Fire," is born Lou Diamond Upchurch at the Subic Bay Naval Station in the Philippines.
1959: The first weather satellite, Vanguard 2, is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, by the United States Naval Research Laboratory to measure cloud-cover distribution.
1954: Actress Rene Russo, best known for movies such as "Major League," "Lethal Weapon 3," "In the Line of Fire," "Get Shorty," "Ransom" and "Thor," is born in Burbank, California.
1952: Winston Churchill announces that Great Britain had developed its own atomic bomb. The country's first test detonation, codenamed Operation Hurricane, would come on Oct. 3, 1952, off the northwest coast of Australia. Britain was was the third nuclear power after the U.S. and the Soviet Union to add nuclear weapons to its arsenal.
1949: Chaim Weizmann begins his term as the first president of Israel. Weizmann, seen here, second from right, with Albert Einstein in 1921, would serve until his death from respiratory inflammation in November 1952.
1940: Singer-songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Gene Pitney, best known for songs such as "Town Without Pity," "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance," "Only Love Can Break a Heart" and "It Hurts to Be in Love," is born in Hartford, Connecticut. Besides his own hits, Pitney also wrote the early 1960s hits "Rubber Ball" by Bobby Vee, "He's a Rebel" by The Crystals, and "Hello Mary Lou" by Ricky Nelson. He died of heart disease at the age of 66 on April 5, 2006.
1936: Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and a three-time NFL MVP over the course of a record-setting NFL career with the Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1965, is born in St. Simons, Georgia. Brown, widely considered one of the greatest professional football players ever, led the NFL in rushing yards in eight of his nine seasons. He retired at age 29 holding the NFL records for both single-season (1,863 yards in 1963) and career rushing (12,312 yards), as well as the all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (106), total touchdowns (126) and all-purpose yards (15,549). He was the first player to reach the 100-rushing-touchdowns milestone and is the only rusher in NFL history to average more than 100 yards per game for a career. He played collegiately at Syracuse University, where he excelled at not only football, but also basketball, track and lacrosse, also earning induction into the College Football Hall of Fame and the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. He also began an acting career while still playing, and went on to appear in movies like "The Dirty Dozen," "Ice Station Zebra," "100 Rifles," "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" and "Mars Attacks!"
1933: The magazine News-Week appears for the first time at newsstands. The name was later changed to Newsweek.
1933: The U.S. Senate passes the Blaine Act, named for its sponsor Wisconsin Sen. John J. Blaine, initiating the repeal of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which established Prohibition in America. The repeal was formally adopted as the 21st Amendment on Dec. 5, 1933.
1925: Actor Hal Holbrook, best known for longtime one-man show as Mark Twain and for his movie roles in "Into the Wild," "The Firm," "All the President's Men" and "Magnum Force," is born in Cleveland, Ohio. Holbrook's "Into the Wild" role earned him nominations for an Academy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. He's also a five-time Emmy winner for his work on television.
1909: Bedonkohe Apache leader Geronimo, who fought against Mexico and the United States over their expansion into Apache tribal lands for several decades during the Apache Wars, dies from complications of pneumonia at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, at age 79. Geronimo had surrendered to U.S. authorities as a prisoner of war in 1886 after a lengthy pursuit.
1904: Giacomo Puccini's opera "Madama Butterfly" premieres at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. Originally performed in two acts, it was poorly received in its premiere, causing Puccini to withdraw the opera and substantially rewrite it, this time in three acts. When his new version debuted on May 27, 1904, it was a huge success and it is now a staple for opera companies around the world.
1864: The H. L. Hunley becomes the first submarine to engage and sink a warship, making a clandestine night attack on the USS Housatonic in Charleston, South Carolina, harbor. Soon after, the Hunley sank, killing all eight of her crew. It was the third time the Confederate States Navy submarine sank, claiming a total of 21 crewman including its inventor, Horace L. Hunley, but this time the ship was lost for good.
1863: A group of citizens in Geneva, Switzerland, founds the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded, which later became known as the International Committee of the Red Cross.
1801: An electoral tie in the United States presidential race between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr is resolved when the U.S. House of Representatives elects Jefferson as president and Burr as vice president on the 36th ballot cast over the course of seven days. The situation, created because the original U.S. Constitution allowed members of the Electoral College to vote for two names for president, was rectified with the Twelfth Amendment, ratified in 1804, which stipulated that electors must make a distinct choice between their selections for president and vice president.
1673: French playwright Molière, considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature, dies at age 51 in Paris, France. Molière, who suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, had collapsed on stage coughing up blood during a performance of the last play he'd written but finished the show. Afterward, he collapsed again with more coughing and hemorrhaging and died a few hours later. Among Molière's best-known works are "The Misanthrope," "The School for Wives," "Tartuffe or the Impostor," "The Miser," "The Imaginary Invalid" and "The Bourgeois Gentleman."
1621: The Plymouth Colony militia elects Myles Standish as the colony's first commander. Standish would continue to be re-elected to that position for the remainder of his life.