Today in History: What Happened On Dec. 12

Avery Klatsky, Staff Writer

  • 1787 – Pennsylvania becomes the second state to ratify the United States Constitution


Thanks to a 46 to 23 vote, Pennsylvania was the first large state to ratify the Constitution, as well as the first state to endure a heavy Anti-Federalist challenge to ratification. The Constitution is one of the most important documents in our nation’s history.



  • 1899 – George F. Grant from Boston, Massachusetts, patents the wooden golf tee


Not only was George Franklin Grant the first African-American professor at Harvard, he was also a dentist and the inventor of the wooden golf tee. The wooden golf tee (U.S. Patent 638,920) revolutionized the way the game of golf was played, allowing players to elevate the ball on the first shot of every hole in order to hit the ball farther, higher and more accurately.



  • 1949 – The American League (AL) votes 7-1, rejecting the legalization of the spitball in baseball


The spitball, an illegal pitch in Major League Baseball, is when a pitcher moistens the ball with saliva or other illegal substances to make the ball move or curve more than normal. Other common names for the “spitball” include the spitter, mud ball, shine ball, supersinker and the vaseline ball.



  • 1975 – Sara Jane Moore pleads guilty to trying to kill former US President Gerald Ford


Released from prison on Dec. 31, 2007, Sara Moore, a Charleston, West Virginia native,  served 32 years in prison for attempting to assassinate President Ford. Moore, along with Lynette Fromme, are the only two women to have attempted to assassinate an American president. President Ford, ironically, was the attempted target of both of the women’s assassination tries. The two attempts were both in California, and took place three weeks of one another.



  • 2016 – Cristiano Ronaldo wins the FIFA Ballon d’Or for the 4th time


Ronaldo, considered by some to be the world’s best soccer player, won the Ballon d’Or award for the fourth time in his career. The Golden Ball, as it is called, is given to the world’s best men’s player in soccer. The rivalry for the award was between Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who is also in the conversation for the best player on the planet. Soccer, being the planet’s most popular sport, also comes with having some of the most famous awards in the athletic sphere, including the Ballon d’Or.