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Taking a look back two decades

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Two decades ago, I was living in south London, and had never SEEN a baseball game, even on television.

How things change... What else was life like, twenty years ago, on the day it was announced major-league baseball was coming to Arizona?

On this date...
  • The #1 movie in America was something called Man of the House, which history has clearly forgotten entirely, but which was apparently a comedy starring Chevy Chase. This replaced the previous week's chart-topper, The Brady Bunch Movie. Feel free to mention this to people who say "They don't make movies like they used to." However, also in theaters at the time were Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption.
  • The #1 song on the Billboard top 100 was Madonna's Take a Bow, enjoying the second of its seven-week run at the top.
  • Daniel Hudson celebrated his eighth birthday. Socrates Brito, the youngest player on the Diamondbacks' 40-man roster, was three days past turning 2½.
  • Sad news as the Weekly World News announced the death of the world's fattest cat, the 58-pound Tiddles.
  • The Rolling Stones played the Tokyo Dome, as part of their Voodoo Lounge tour, which grossed $320 million, a record for the time. Here's their setlist.
  • The Phoenix Suns - the only active pro sports team in the city at that time (the Coyotes wouldn't move from Winnipeg until the following year) were on a four-game winning streak, and sat on top of the Pacific Division by 5.5 games.
  • The OJ Simpson trial reached its 128th day.
  • Cierra Ramirez, star of ABC Family's The Fosters, was born.
  • After revealing on The Jenny Jones Show, that he was attracted to an acquaintance, Scott Amedure was murdered by the object of his affection, Jonathan Schmitz.
  • Microsoft reported it would ship more than 400,000 test versions of its new Windows 95 software worldwide in the operating system's biggest trial to date.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals signed Darnell Coles as a free agent. Inexplicably, this somehow failed to steal Jerry's thunder.
In 1995
  • The top-rated television show was Seinfeld, followed by E.R. and Home Improvement. To give you some idea of how the TV landscape has changed, the top program last year was NCIS, which got a 12.6 rating. Twenty years ago, no fewer than 23 different shows pulled in better than a 12.6, including such forgotten classics as Dave's World, Madman of the People and the ABC Sunday Night movie.
  • A gallon of gas cost $1.08, a postage stamp was 32 cents, and an ounce of gold was $391.
  • The average baseball salary was $1,071,029. It was $3.82 million last year. No player earned $10 million in 1995, with the best-paid being Cecil Fielder of the Tigers, at $9.24 million.
  • March 1995 saw the arrest of Nick Leeson for his role in the collapse of Barings Bank [see the film Rogue Trader], the Sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway and the murder of Mexican pop-star Selena, while Mississippi finally got around to ratifying the 13th amendment, abolishing slavery.
  • Elsewhere in the year, the Oklahoma City bombing took place, the worst incident of terrorism in the US to that point; a new media format called "DVD" was announced; and the first ever full-length computer animated film, Toy Story, was released in November.
The Internet in 1995

  • There were 40 million Internet users world-wide. For contrast, Facebook alone has more than 15 times that now. There were also only 23,500 websites: now, it's estimated there are one billion. 1995 was the year Microsoft introduced Internet Explorer 1 - at that time, Netscape Navigator was pretty much the browser of choice.
  • No wonder some people thought it'd never amount to much. "Electronic publishing? Try reading a book on disc. At best, it's an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can't tote that laptop to the beach."
  • Intel released their 133 MHz Pentium processor, with the Pentium Pro processor reaching an astonishing 200 MHz. Your average phone these days is likely ten times or more faster then that Pentium.
  • Google didn't exist. The domain name wasn't even registered until September 1997, although the first search engine service, Yahoo!, was launched on March 1. Ebay was founded in September 1995.
  • Amazon did exist, however. This is what it looked like:
    Amazon