2002 — Hostage crisis in Moscow theater
On October 23, 2002, about 50 Chechen rebels storm a Moscow theater, taking up to 700 people hostage during a sold-out performance of a popular musical.
The second act of the musical "Nord Ost" was just beginning at the Moscow Ball-Bearing Plant's Palace of Culture when an armed man walked onstage and fired a machine gun into the air. The terrorists—including a number of women with explosives strapped to their bodies—identified themselves as members of the Chechen Army. They had one demand: that Russian military forces begin an immediate and complete withdrawal from Chechnya, the war-torn region located north of the Caucasus Mountains.
Chechnya, with its predominately Muslim population, had long struggled to assert its independence. A disastrous two-year war ended in 1996, but Russian forces returned to the region just three years later after Russian authorities blamed Chechens for a series of bombings in Russia. In 2000, President Vladimir Putin was elected partly because of his hard-line position towards Chechnya and his public vow not to negotiate with terrorists.
1993 — Carter homers to win World Series
On October 23, 1993, Toronto Blue Jay Joe Carter does what every kid dreams of—he wins the World Series for his team by whacking a ninth-inning home run over the SkyDome's left-field wall. It was the first time the World Series had ended with a home run since Pittsburgh's Bill Mazeroski homered to break a 9-9 tie with the Yankees in the seventh game of the 1960 series, and it was the first time in baseball history that a team won the championship with a come-from-behind home run.
The Blue Jays were leading the series three games to two, but thanks to a five-run seventh inning (punctuated by a three-run blast from outfielder Lenny Dykstra), the Philadelphia Phillies were ahead 6-5 in the ninth. It looked like the Phils would tie the series and force a seventh game—but then they brought reliever Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams out of the bullpen. Though Williams had saved an impressive 45 games that season, he'd earned his nickname by throwing wild pitches when his team was in a tight spot, and he'd already blown a 14-9 lead for the Phillies in Game 4.
Williams did just what the Blue Jays were hoping he'd do. First he walked leadoff batter Rickey Henderson in four straight pitches. Then, after Devon White finally popped out to left field after nine pitches, Williams gave up a single to Series MVP Paul Molitor. With Henderson on second and Molitor on first, Joe Carter stepped up to the plate.
Carter took two balls, then two strikes. Then he cracked a low slider hard toward the left-field pole. "Ninety-nine times out of a hundred," he said later, "I hook that pitch way foul." But this time, he didn't. The ball swerved right and disappeared over the wall.
— This Day in History is courtesy of History.com.