John Quincy Adams Nadenbousch doesn't quite roll off the tongue, does it? This particular John Quincy Adams was the commander of the Berkeley Border Guards, who helped the army at Harper's Ferry during John Brown's raid. He was a pretty important guy in the town of Martinsburg, West Virginia, owning a whiskey distillery when the Civil War broke out. The Berkeley Border Guards ended up serving under Stonewall Jackson.
Martin Van Buren Bates, AKA the Kentucky Giant, was decidedly taller than the President he was named after. Martin Van Buren was one of the shortest Presidents at 5'6"; Bates was 7'11" (for comparison, Yao Ming is 7'6").
He was a normal-sized child until about the age of six or seven, when he had a huge growth spurt. He was more than six feet fall by the time he was a teenager and weighed almost 300 pounds. He joined the Confederate Army in 1861 and became a Captain. When the war ended, he joined the circus and met 7'5" Anna Swan. They got married in 1871 in London; Queen Victoria gave them two enormous diamond-studded watches as a wedding present. The two of them had two children – the first, a girl, was stillborn and weighed about 18 pounds. The second baby, a boy, also died. He weighed 22 or 24 pounds (reports vary).
Sure, George Washington did great things for our country, but so did George Washington Trendle – he produced the Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet. He became involved in the entertainment industry when a theater owner in Detroit offered him 25 percent ownership in the business to work there. The owner had already acquired 20 movie theaters, so this was no small chunk of change. The business prospered and a broadcasting company formed from it; ABC bought it in 1946 for $3.65 million. Trendle was known as a serious tightwad and was known for shortchanging employees on salary.
Woodrow Wilson Woolwine Strode
really ran the gamut as far as careers went – he was a decathlete, a football star and a Golden Globe-nominated actor. He was famous for his shot put and high jump abilities, which were more than 50 feet and about 6'4", respectively. He played for the UCLA Bruins in 1939 before moving on to the L.A. Rams in 1946 and the Calgary Stampeders (of the Canadian Football League) in 1948. He even tried his hand at pro wrestling at one point, before turning his attention to acting. He was in lots of notable movies, including Pork Chop Hill, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Ten Commandments and Tarzan. But his award-nominated performance was in Spartacus as the man who refuses to battle Spartacus and pays the price for it.
Abraham Lincoln Erlanger was a theater man. He produced, designed, directed and owned a theater. He and his partner produced tons of Broadway shows from the 1896 until the 1930s, including Dracula, Ben-Hur and The Jazz Singer. They also opened the "Jardin de Paris" where the Ziegfeld Follies were first performed, plus the New Amsterdam Theatre and the St. James Theatre (then called Erlanger's Theatre). In 1919, he refused the demands of the Actors' Equity Association and they went on strike, shutting down all of the theaters in New York, Chicago and Boston. Erlanger hemorrhaged money and lost his stronghold over the business.
Theodore Roosevelt Radcliffe, AKA Ted or "Double Duty", was one of only a few major league baseball players to live past their 100th birthdays "(he was 103 when he died in 2005). He played for more than 30 teams, had more than 4,000 hits, more than 400 home runs, won about 500 games and had 4,000-plus strike-outs. He earned the "Double Duty" nickname because he played both catcher and pitcher in back-to-back games at Yankee Stadium in 1932. He caught for Satchel Paige in the first game and pitched a shutout in game two. Ty Cobb said once that Radcliffe, as a catcher, wore a chest protector that said "Thou shalt not steal". In the 1960s, he was a scout for the Cleveland Indians.
William McKinley Randle, Jr., went by the name Bill Randle. He was a DJ in Detroit who helped launch the careers of The Four Lads, Bobby Darin and Fats Domino. Time Magazine called him the top DJ in America in 1950. He left radio a rich man in the 1960s and received his undergraduate degree at Wayne State, his law degree from Oklahoma City University, his doctorate in American studies and master's in sociology from Western Reserve University, his master's in journalism from Kent State and his master's in education from Cleveland State. Whew. At the age of 64, he passed the Bar exam and started his own practice in Lakewood, Ohio.
Monty Franklin Pierce Stratton,
AKA Gander, was a pitcher for the White Sox for five years, from 1934 until 1938, when he had to get his right leg amputated after a freak hunting accident. He stayed with the team for a couple years after that as a coach and a batting practice pitcher, using a wooden leg to get around. In 1946, he was able to pitch for the minor league and won 18 games in the East Texas League. This amazing comeback was the inspiration for The Stratton Story, starring Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson in 1949.