Getty Images / Bettmann / Contributor

Born April 8

Hall of Fame pitcher James "Catfish" Hunter had an incredible career. He never played in the minor leagues, his first start was in the Majors in 1965. He was a 5-time World Series champion and an 8-time All-Star. Kansas City/ Oakland A's owner Charles Finley gave him the nickname "Catfish" because he though the young pitcher needed a flashy name. Catfish's 1974 season was a gem, he won the Cy Young Award and led the A's to their third straight World Series victory while compiling a record of 25-12. After that season, Hunter was declared a free agent because of a contract violation by Finley. He became baseball's first "big-money free agent" when he signed a five year contract with the Yankees for $3.35 million. Sadly, Catfish was diagnosed with ALS in 1998 and he died in 1999 at the age of 53. We remember his incredible life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including influential artist Pablo Picasso.

1972: Paul Gray, U.S. bassist who was a founding member of the band Slipknot, is born in Los Angeles, California.

Slipknot emerged in the mid-1990s as a band known for its grotesque masks, trashing sound, and aggressive, dark lyrics. Slipknot's 1999 debut album sold about 2 million copies, and the band won a Grammy in 2006 for best metal performance for the song "Before I Forget." Read more

1954: Gary Carter, U.S. baseball catcher for the Montreal Expos and New York Mets who was an 11-time All-Star, is born in Culver City, California.

1947: Larry Norman, U.S. singer-songwriter who was one of the pioneers of Christian rock music, is born in Corpus Christi, Texas.

1946: James "Catfish" Hunter, U.S. baseball pitcher who played on five World Series championship teams, is born in Hertford, North Carolina.

1943: Michael Bennett, U.S. dancer and choreographer who won Tony awards for directing and choreographing "A Chorus Line," is born in Buffalo, New York.

1935: Oscar Zeta Acosta, U.S. lawyer who was a friend of Hunter S. Thompson and became the character Dr. Gonzo in Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," is born in El Paso, Texas.

1923: Edward Mulhare, Irish actor who had starring roles on TV's "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir" and "Knight Rider," is born in Cork, Ireland.

1920: Carmen McRae, influential U.S. jazz singer who worked with Count Basie, Dave Brubeck, and more, is born in New York, New York.

1918: Betty Ford, U.S. first lady who was the wife of President Gerald R. Ford, is born in Chicago, Illinois.

Unconventional, maybe … but seen from another view, Betty Ford was simply a modern woman, a reflection of her times. The first ladies of the 1960s and earlier displayed their eras' preferred characteristics for women in the public eye: modesty, cheerfulness, and general agreement with their husbands' policies. But by the time Gerald Ford took office in 1974, American attitudes were changing. More and more, women were speaking out and taking charge of their lives and their bodies. Betty Ford's candor and passion made her a classic woman of the '70s. Read more



1912: Sonja Henie, Norwegian figure skater and actress who was a three-time Olympic champion and starred in movies including "Sun Valley Serenade," is born in Oslo, Norway.

No one could top her, and everyone wanted to be like her. Henie was the first to sport the now ubiquitous women's figure skating look: short skirt and white boots. And she was the first to use choreography in her skating routines. Her innovation and glamour forever transformed skating and helped solidify its acceptance as a legitimate sport and Olympic pursuit. Henie's reign continued long after her competitive career ended. In 1936, she turned pro and began performing and touring in lavish ice shows. Read more




1892: Mary Pickford, Canadian actress who starred in silent films and co-founded both United Artists and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is born in Toronto, Ontario.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including influential artist Pablo Picasso.