Starting in 1875, and continuing to the present, what's the longest running annual sporting event in the US?
Granted, I didn't know either, nor did any of the 3 contestants attempting to answer the Final Jeopardy question -- which is where I swiped this from. Hey, hacks like me get their material wherever they can -- OK?
Obviously, the it couldn't have been the Super Bowl. That only dates back to the late 1960's.
The Daytona 500 is a mere pup too, checking in at 1959.
Ah, but the Indy 500 goes way back, you say? Indeed it does -- all the way back to 1911. But we're talking 1875 here. Horseless carriages weren't even on the drawing board back then.
Baseball goes back that far, right? Yep, what we now know as major league baseball started with the National Association back in 1871, which would become the National League in 1876. Problem is -- the American League didn't form until 1901, and the first World Series wouldn't occur until two years later in 1903. But we're getting closer to the neighborhood.
By most accounts, Dr. James Naismith didn't even invent basketball until 1891, so we can safely rule out the NBA championship.
What sport goes back that far?
Golf, for sure. Despite the guys in charge that sometimes act like they're that old, Augusta National, home of the Masters tournament, didn't come to exist until 1932. The first "Masters", then known as the Augusta National Invitational, would occur in 1934. Not even close. The US Open? That started in 1895, so we're back in the neighborhood, but not quite back far enough. The British Open? Sure, that goes all the way back to 1860, but the question was about a US event, so that doesn't qualify.
Tennis? Nah. The US Open started about the same time as the Super Bowl. We're in the wrong century again.
Wait a minute. Hockey. They've been playing that forever. That was my guess, but it turns out Lord Stanley's cup made it's debut in 1894.
If you watched the same Jeopardy episode yours truly did, then you've known the answer all along after Alex Trebek finally revealed it, or maybe you just knew it right off the bat. But if you didn't, and you don't, let me give you a hint.
Think Louisville, Kentucky, mint juleps, and a "run for the roses".
Yep, the Derby started back in 1875. The 3-year-old thoroughbreds have been running that same mile and a quarter ever since.
Of course, other notable things happened in 1875. Ulysses S. Grant was the President, the post-civil war carpetbaggers were looting the south, outlaws that would later become legends like Billy the Kid and the James gang were marauding the wild west and, if my sources are correct, that was the same year Regis Philbin and William Shatner made their public debuts; Morley Safer of 60 Minutes fame wrote his first column, my buddy Mel started thinking about chrome, and the Princess started plotting ways to mystify, enchant, and confound me to this day.
What a year.