On this day in 1989 Pete Rose is banned for life from any activity that has anything to do with Major League Baseball. Rose made a settlement that was equivalent to a no contest plea for betting on baseball games while manager of the Cincinnati Reds. The worst accusation was that he bet on his own team. Rose maintained his "innocence" until he was persuaded that coming clean might allow the ban to be lifted and get Rose into the hall of fame. Nope, Rose is now looked upon as a liar and a cheat.
On this day in 1305 Scottish patriot William Wallace was executed by means of hanging, drawing, and quartering for high treason against Edward I of England. No he didn't yell "freedom" upon his death, no there weren't cries of mercy from the crowd, and no he didn't have fireballs come out of his eyes.
On this day in 1775 King George III declares the American colonies in a state of open and avowed rebellion. This recognition by the king actually helped the American cause of independence as their side was publicly acknowledged.
On this day in 1942 the battle of Stalingrad begins with the German army capturing much of the city from the Russians. Save one pocket of resistance near the Volga river, the entire city was in German hands. But Josef Stalin ordered his soldiers to make their stand. Soon bitter street battles took place. Victories were made by a matter of feet, instead of miles. A counter attack by the Russians was made that encircled the Germans in Stalingrad and they were forced to surrender after a bitterly cold winter. 2 million people died as a result of this battle alone.
On this day in 1927 amid numerous protests Sacco and Vanzetti, admitted anarchists, were executed in the electric chair. They were accused of killing a paymaster and his guard and stealing $15,000. Although there was no evidence tying them to the crime, they were convicted 6 years prior. Most of the evidence presented was later discredited and the fact that they were Italian immigrants in an era of racial discrimination against foreigners was attributed to the verdict. Even after another man confessed to the crime a judge upheld the ruling.