O.J. Simpson verdict, baseball home run record: The News Journal archives, week of Oct. 2

"Pages of history" features excerpts from The News Journal archives including the Wilmington Morning News and the Evening Journal.

Oct. 2, 1961, Wilmington Morning News

Yanks’ Maris sets home run mark, smashes No. 61

Roger Maris hit his 61st home run in the New York Yankees’ last game yesterday, setting a major league record for a 162-game season in a 1-0 victory over Boston.

Under an edict of commissioner Ford Frick, Babe Ruth’s record of 60, set in 1927, still stands as the high for a 154-game season.

Page 18 from the Wilmington Morning News, Oct. 2, 1961.
Page 18 from the Wilmington Morning News, Oct. 2, 1961.

When Maris slammed a 2-0 fourth-inning pitch by Boston rookie Tracy Stallard into the lower stands in right field, about 360 feet from the plate, a Yankee Stadium crowd of 23,154 broke into a frenzied ovation. After he tipped his hat and ducked into the dugout, Maris was pushed out on the field by his teammates to take two more bows….

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Oct. 3, 1985, Evening Journal

Three Mile Island nuclear plant restart is underway

Middletown, Pa. – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today gave final approval for the restart of Three Mile Island’s Unit 1 reactor, clearing the way for operators to create a self-sustaining nuclear chain-reaction for the first time in 6½ years….

Plant personnel worked through the morning, preparing to begin the chain-reaction between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. today….

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling yesterday cleared the way for ending a period of dormancy that began in 1979 when fuel melted in the adjacent Unit 2 during the nation’s worst commercial nuclear accident. Unit 1 was not affected by the March 1979 accident, when Unit 2 lost its cooling shield of water and nuclear fuel melted, releasing radiation into the environment.

Sixteen people were arrested yesterday when 45 anti-nuclear power activists responded to the Supreme Court action with a protest at the plant’s main gate....

Oct. 4, 1995, The News Journal

Not guilty: O.J. Simpson acquitted of murder charges

O.J. Simpson went home a free man yesterday, spared by an unpredictable jury to pick up a life of privilege instead of a life in prison. Acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend, he pledged to track down the real killers who are “out there somewhere.”

In a courtroom on the verge of exploding with emotion, a hush fell as Judge Lance Ito’s clerk, Dierdre Robertson, read the two words: “Not guilty.”

Front page of The News Journal from Oct. 4, 1995.
Front page of The News Journal from Oct. 4, 1995.

Simpson smiled, mouthed the words, “Thank you,” at the jury, then clasped his hands together. Lead attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr., standing behind Simpson, slapped him on the back and laid his forehead on his shoulder. Attorney Shawn Chapman cried and clutched jury consultant Jo-Ellan Dimitrius’ hand.

Tears of anguish and shouts of joy burst from the three families whose lives were torn apart by the bloody June 12, 1994 slayings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

“Oh my God!” exclaimed Simpson’s grown daughter, Arnelle, embracing her brother, Jason.

“We did it!” a family member exulted to Cochran….

The gaiety stood in marked contrast to the solemn mood in the district attorney’s offices.

“Last June 13, ’94 [the day he learned of his son’s death], was the worst nightmare of my life. This is the second,” Goldman’s father, Fred, said at a prosecution news conference. “This prosecution team didn’t lose today. I deeply believe this country lost today. Justice was not served.”

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Time stood still as Delawareans awaited verdict

At 1 p.m. Tuesday, they waited with pounding hearts, eyes glued to televisions, ears cocked to radios. They drummed their fingers and rubbed their brows. A few prayed.

All over Delaware – in living rooms, offices, lunchrooms, bars, senior centers, malls, student lounges, classrooms, salons, jury rooms, the train station and Wilmington City Hall – people buzzed in anticipation of “The Verdict.”

As Judge Lance Ito spoke, silence fell. Phones stopped ringing. And when court clerk Dierdre Robertson uttered the words, “Not guilty,” emotions flowed.

Cheers, hugs and jubilation from some. Jeers, shock and disgust from others. And there was stoic acceptance as well.

O.J. Simpson had been acquitted of killing his ex-wife and a male friend of hers. While the trial of the century had ended, Delawareans remained divided along racial lines over Simpson’s guilt or innocence….

Catch up on history:The News Journal archives, week of Jan. 9

Oct. 5, 1957, Wilmington Morning News

Russians launch first artificial moon

The Soviet Union announced today it has the world’s first artificial moon streaking around the globe 560 miles out in space.

A multiple-stage rocket launched the earth satellite yesterday, the Russians said, shooting it upward at about five miles per second. They said the satellite, a globe described as 23 inches in diameter and weighing 185 pounds, can be seen in its orbit with glasses and followed by radio through instruments it carries.

Front page of the Wilmington Morning News from Oct. 5, 1957.
Front page of the Wilmington Morning News from Oct. 5, 1957.

Radio signals on the wavelength of the Soviet moon – sounding as a deep “beep, beep, beep” – were picked up by RCA engineers, and the satellite was sighted for the first time by a Terre Haute, Ind., moonwatch team.

In thus announcing the launching of the first earth satellite ever put in globe-girding orbit under man’s controls, the Soviet Union claimed a victory over the United States….

Reach reporter Ben Mace at rmace@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: O.J. Simpson verdict, baseball home run record: News Journal archives