July 27 is a special day on the calendar.
Not only did the Korean War come to an end on this date in 1953 and the date in 1889 “The Star-Spangled Banner” became the official tune played at the raising of the flag, it’s also the day I was born.
I happen to share a birthday with multiple celebrities – “Orange Is The New Black” star Taylor Schilling, comedic actress Maya Rudolph, “Castle” actor Seamus Dever, actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers of “The Tudors” fame, comedian Bill Engvall from the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour,” actor Julian McMahon, most famous for his role as Christian Troy in “Nip/Tuck,” legendary actor Jerry Van Dyke, country singer Bobbie Gentry, and “Game of Thrones” actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jaime Lannister himself.
I also share a birthday with co-worker Cory Collins and multiple professional athletes, many of whom are having a pretty darn good 2015.
Rodriguez, who is 40 today, got it started by notching his 3,000th career hit on Friday, June 19. After missing all of last season, A-Rod is having a resurgent year full of milestones. He surpassed the 2,000 RBI mark on June 13 and moved into fourth place on baseball’s all-time home run list a month earlier. The three-time American League MVP and 14-time All-Star is trying to move past his suspension for performance-enhancing drugs and earn a place into Cooperstown. He continued his excellent rebound season with a three-homer game on Saturday.
Scherzer, who turns 31 today, threw a no-hitter on June 20 and nearly had a perfect game. The 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner and three-time All-Star has more in common with me than just a birthday. Scherzer is a native of St. Louis, where I lived for over seven years. While Scherzer was at Missouri, he played in a college summer wood bat league called the Northwoods League. The upper Midwest league includes teams located in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Scherzer played for the La Crosse Loggers, located in my hometown. So far in 2015, Scherzer is 10-8 with a stellar 2.33 ERA with 166 strikeouts in 143 innings pitched.
When June 21 arrived Spieth was atop the leaderboard and completed his victory at the U.S. Open. The now-22-year-old won the Masters earlier this year and is a rising PGA star. The native of Dallas, where my mother raised my brother and youngest sister, was the youngest U.S. Open champion since Bobby Jones in 1923. The University of Texas product is easily having the best year of his three-year professional career. Spieth was unable to add a third major to his resume, but was in contention at the British Open, where he finished in the top 5 and remained at No. 2 on the World Golf Rankings.
NBA player Jordan Hill, who is 28 today, got an early birthday present earlier this month with a new contract from the Indiana Pacers. The former Los Angeles Lakers center is coming off his best season and will replace Roy Hibbert, who was traded to the Lakers.
Turning 29 today is former Missouri and Atlanta Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll, who inked a big-money contract with the Toronto Raptors on July 9. Carroll, a first-round pick by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009, cashed in this month after helping the Atlanta Hawks earn the top seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs. The 6-foot-8 Birmingham native had the two best seasons of his career in Atlanta.
San Francisco 49ers safety Antoine Bethea, who is exactly the same age as Scherzer, is coming off his third Pro Bowl season. Born in Savannah, where my oldest son lives, Bethea was a sixth-round draft pick by the Indianapolis Colts. The Howard product started 14 games as a rookie, helping the Colts win Super Bowl XLI. Despite missing three games a year later, he made his first Pro Bowl, earned all-star honors again in 2009. He joined the Niners following the 2013 season and has 18 interceptions and 4.5 sacks over his nine-year career.
New York Jets receiver T.J. Graham, a third-round pick out of North Carolina State by the Buffalo Bills in 2012, is now 26. The Raleigh native finished his college career as the ACC career leader in kickoff return yards with 3,153. He also caught 99 passes for 1,453 receiving yards and 16 total touchdowns at N.C. State. After starting 17 games for the Bills in two seasons, Graham spent 2014 with the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets, catching three passes for 87 yards and a touchdown last year with the Jets.
Matt DiBenedetto, who is 24 today, has yet to win in his first season on NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series. The Grass Valley, Calif., native has two top-10 finishes in 49 XFinity Series races. While he’s still waiting for his first trip to Victory Lane in the No. 83 car, DiBenedetto will try to best his 18th-place finish at Talladega earlier this year.
Figure skater Peggy Fleming, who is 67 today, won Olympic gold at the 1968 Winter Games. The three-time world champion was ABC’s athlete of the year in 1967 and has worked as a commentator for several recent Olympic Games. A breast cancer survivor, Fleming has received multiple tributes in pop culture, including Snoopy having a crush on her in the “Peanuts” comic strip.
There are even three people from the professional wrestling world born on July 27 – former WWE champions Dolph Ziggler, who is 35, and 46-year-old, or Triple H, and 25-year-old Nick Hogan, the son of wrestling legend Hulk Hogan. Nick Hogan was once an aspiring wrestler and Motorsports athlete, but now makes his name as a club DJ while trying not to get arrested.
I also DJ on the side, but maybe I can get the younger Hogan to spin the tunes at next year’s birthday party. If I can only get everybody together for one collective party, it’d be one star-studded event.
The super gala can wait a year or two. Five NFL teams opened training camp today.
It’s a special day.