A Brief History
On January 7, 0000, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem in what is now Israel, or perhaps more precisely, on the West Bank of the Jordan River in Palestine. “What?” you might ask. “I thought Christmas Day was December 25th.” Well, for most Americans December 25th is Christmas Day, but not for everyone. We discussed this fact in our article “ Is January 6th The Real Christmas?” and explained that Armenians use January 6th and Eastern Orthodox faiths as well as Ukrainian and Greek Catholics use January 7th as Christmas Day. It seems there is no real historical record to say with any authority the exact day when Jesus Christ was born so apparently these dates are someone’s best guess. Back on Christmas Day (December 25, 2019), we told about “10 Famous People Born on Christmas Day” and promised to readdress this topic to cover January 7th Christmas as well, so here we are! (As noted previously, this author is a January 7th birthday boy, to the everlasting glee of his Ukrainian mother and her side of the family.) Feel free to nominate other Christmas babies that you believe belong on this list.
Edwin Elpidio Encarnación, major league baseballer, 1983.
A slugger of the first magnitude, Edwin has over 400 home runs and over 1200 RBI’s so far in his career, with the prospect of adding considerably to those great numbers before he is through. Born in the Dominican Republic, he got his big league start with the Cincinnati Reds, but made his main mark (on the baseball) as a Toronto Blue Jay. Playing for the Cleveland Indians in 2017, he belted 32 home runs, the 7th year in a row he had eclipsed the 30 homer mark despite twice being on the disabled list and missing many games. He is a 3 time All Star. Fittingly, on Christmas Day of 2019 he signed a one year contract with the Chicago White Sox as a free agent. If he can stay healthy, he is a tremendous bargain at $12 million.
Zoe Salmon, model and television hostess, 1980.
More proof that the best looking humans are born on January 7th, this Northern Ireland born beauty won the 1999 Miss Northern Ireland beauty contest. She has worked as a model and as the television hostess (presenter) on the children’s show, Blue Peter, as well as making other television and movie appearances. She is also involved in charitable work and has run a marathon race for charity. Sorry, guys, she has been married since 2016.
Alfonso Guilleard Soriano, major league baseballer, 1976.
Another one of the many great baseball players from the Dominican Republic, Alfonso achieved great success in his baseball career, stroking over 2000 hits and slugging over 400 home runs on his way to 7 All Star selections and being given the Silver Slugger Award 4 times. He even led the league in stolen bases in 2002. Playing both Right Field and Second Base, Alfonso started his professional career in Japan, then both started and finished his major league career with the New York Yankees (1999 and 2014 respectively), with appearances in Texas, Washington and Chicago in between. In 2004, he donated $2.6 million toward developing young Dominicans as baseball players.
Éric Serge Gagné, major league baseballer, 1976.
Yet another famous baseball player not born in the United States, Gagné hails from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and has the French name to go with his Quebec heritage. A relief pitcher, Gagné is one of the few that has snagged a coveted Cy Young Award (National League, 2003) and was a 2 time National League Rolaids Relief Man Award winner (2003, 2004). Growing up speaking only French, he (somewhat paradoxically) attend college at Seminole Junior College in Oklahoma, where he taught himself English by watching television. In the major leagues, he became the first pitcher to ever record 50 or more “saves” in a season, and became the fastest to achieve 100 career saves. He was a 3 time All Star and retired after the 2008 after career shortening injuries. He attempted a major league comeback in 2010 and again in 2017, to no avail. Over a 3 year period he converted an incredible 84 consecutive save opportunities!
Doug E. Doug (Douglas Bourne), comedian, actor, producer, director, 1970.
A New Yorker of Jamaican and African American descent, all you need to know about his acting career is the fact that he appeared in such classics as Dr. Giggles and Eight Legged Freaks, a resume alone that should make him an indelible part of your cinema graphic memories! Okay, he also appeared in other, relatively normal movies such as Operation Dumbo Drop and Cool Runnings, Jungle Fever, Class Act, Hangin’ With the Homeboys, as well as the remake of That Darn Cat, and was the voice of an animated character in Shark Tale. A more recent gig has been his appearance in the 2015 film, An Act of War. He started out as a stand up comic and has also delved into producing and directing, as well a becoming a YouTuber.
Nicolas Cage, actor, 1964.
Born with the Hollywood connected name of Nicolas Kim Coppola, Nick decided to change his appellation to avoid any intimation of nepotism in his acting career (his uncle is Francis Ford Coppola). Of Italian descent on his father’s side, Nick’s mother is of German and Polish descent. Nick was conveniently born in California and attended Beverly Hills High School before taking his acting ambitions to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. By the way, the “Cage” name is an homage to the Marvel character, Luke Cage. (If you were wondering…) Starring in numerous films, Cage has won an Academy Award (Leaving Las Vegas, 1995) and been nominated for another. Despite well publicized money problems, Cage has also contributed millions of dollars to charity. He, unlike many Hollywood types, does not discuss religion and is a self-described non-political person, although he has endorsed Andrew Yang for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination. His body of work is too large to get into detail here but suffice to say he has starred in some really good and some really bad movies!
Rand Paul, politician, 1963.
The son of Texas politician and 3 time Presidential candidate (Libertarian) Ron Paul, Randal Howard Paul was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Baylor University before getting his MD degree from Duke. Rand has represented Kentucky in the US Senate since 2011 as a Republican, and even ran for the 2016 Republican nomination for President until finishing 5th in the Iowa caucuses, causing him to drop out. His career as a doctor of ophthalmology took him to a practice in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where his specialties were cataracts and glaucoma. While at Baylor he became involved with the Conservative political movement and has kept to a conservative and libertarian political ideology since. He has also been associated with the Tea Party.
Katie Couric, television news, author, 1957.
Katherine Anne Couric is the product of a French heritage father and a Jewish heritage mother, and was born in Arlington, Virginia. (Note: Dr. Zar was also born in Virginia!) She attended the University of Virginia and studied journalism and American Studies, partaking of the production of the school newspaper. After graduation, she almost immediately began her television career, landing jobs with ABC, NBC and CNN. She earned an Emmy and an Associated Press Award in her early career in Washington, leading to bigger and better things. In 1989 she went to work for NBC and made frequent appearances on the Today Show and as news anchor and started a long run as a Today regular from 1991 to 2006 before moving to CBS news as an anchor. Katie has had numerous high profile assignments since, both at CBS and NBC, including hosting the Olympics television broadcast of the opening ceremonies and 5 years with the 60 Minutes show. A former high school cheerleader, Katie is eminently adorable and charismatic, and has been called “America’s Sweetheart.” Couric’s 2008 interview of Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin was one of the most famous political interviews in television history, with Palin coming across as totally inept and ignorant of relevant political history. She even served as the only guest host used by former Tonight Show host, Jay Leno. Katie has also made cameo appearances in movies and television shows.
Kenny Loggins, singer-songwriter, 1948.
Hailing from Everett, Washington, Loggins has had a terrific musical career in pop music, starting with writing songs for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and playing with a few unremarkable bands. He wrote “Danny’s Song,” a major hit for Anne Murray in 1973 and was covered by Loggins personally as part of the duo, Loggins and Messina. The duo had a big hit with “Your Mama Don’t Dance” in 1973 and was the top rock duo of the 1970’s until superseded by Hall and Oates later in the decade. Loggins went on to co-write and sing the 1984 #1 hit, “Footloose,” a tune from the movie by the same name. Loggins also had successful collaborations with other major rockers such as Steve Perry, Melissa Manchester, Stevie Nicks and Michael MacDonald. One mistake Loggins made was turning down the chance to star alongside Barbra Streisand in the 1976 remake of A Star is Born. (The role went to Kris Kristofferson.) Kenny has also appeared on numerous television shows and even contributed to video games and movies. Perhaps you are familiar with the theme song from the hit comedy, Caddyshack (1980), “I’m Alright,” yet another memorable Kenny Loggins hit.
Stephen Nickolas Belichick (Biličić), football player and coach, father of Bill Belichick, 1919.
In case you ever wondered about the background of arguably the greatest NFL coach in history, we go back to his origins by examining the football career of Bill Belichick’s father, Steve. Steve got his start at Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio), now known as Case Western Reserve University and went on to play in the NFL with the Detroit Lions in 1941. World War intervened with Steve’s football playing, and after serving in the US Navy he returned to collegiate football as the head coach at Hiram College (Ohio), where he also served as head coach of the basketball team. After assistant coaching positions at Vanderbilt and North Carolina, Steve went to the US Naval Academy in 1956 where he spent the next 3 decades as a scout. Of Croatian descent, Steve is the son of immigrants to Pennsylvania that moved to Struthers, Ohio when Steve was only 5. He is the father of New England Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick. The Belichick Library at the Naval Academy has an extensive collection of football memorabilia thanks to Steve and Bill making contributions.
Question for students (and subscribers): Who is your favorite person born on January 7th? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Maxwell, John. Jesus’ Birth: When Christ was born. Dove Books of Swiss Cottage, 2014.
Ware, Steven. When Was Jesus Really Born? – Early Christianity, the Calendar, and the Life of Jesus. Concordia Publishing, 2013.
The featured image in this article, Adoration of the Shepherds by Dutch painter Matthias Stomer, 1632, is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason: The author died in 1660, so this work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or fewer. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1924. The photograph by Paris Orlando of the painting is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.