On January 11, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt designates the Grand Canyon in Arizona a national monument. In 1540, Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado became the first Westerner to see the massive canyon, but it was not until 1869 that the first real exploration of the canyon took place, when geologist John Wesley Powell led a 10-man expedition down the Colorado River through the canyon's 277 mile length. A champion of environmental conservation, Roosevelt visited the canyon shortly after his 1901 inauguration. Congress immediately began debating national park status for the canyon; Roosevelt shortcircuited procedure by giving it national monument status, which offered the same government protections. Roosevelt protected a number of natural landmarks throughout the western U.S. in this manner during his presidency. (photo taken during the Powell expedition) On January 11, 1935, Amelia Earhart takes off from Wheeler Field, Honolulu. She would land in Oakland 18 hours and 2,400 miles later, becoming the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California. Commercial interests in Hawaii had offered a $10,000 prize to the first person to complete the flight. Earhart flew the same Lockheed Vega she used in several of her more notable solo flights; the airplane is now in the Smithsonian. On January 11, 1973, Major League baseball owners announce the American League will adopt a "designated pinch-hitter" rule for the upcoming season. This "designated hitter" would be part of the batting order from the game's start in place of the pitcher, who would be allowed to remain in the game. The rule had been suggested twice before earlier in the century and rejected; this time, Oakland Athletics owner Charles Finley (below) was able to gain support for the rule, but only in the American League. National League owners rejected the change, marking the '73 season as the first in which the two leagues would use a different rule. The Yankees officially became the first team to use a designated hitter; on opening day, DH Ron Blomberg drew a walk from Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant. Originally accepted as a 3-year experiment, the DH rule was later made permanent, and eventually adopted at most levels of both professional and amateur baseball. Baseball purists continue to denounce the rule, saying it makes pitchers less of a player by denying them the responsibility of hitting, and that it lessens the need for strategic in-game lineup changes by coaches.