Oct 31, 2010; Arlington, TX, USA; United States former presidents George H.W. Bush (in red) and George W. Bush (in blue) shake hands after the ceremonial first pitch before game four of the 2010 World Series between the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE
The time for us to elect our president is upon us again, and the airwaves are sizzling with polls, ads, and runaway punditry. No point in letting a good topic go to waste, is there? Baseball has ties to the White House that go a long ways back.
On June 6, 1892, marked the attendance of a sitting President at a major-league game. Benjamin Harrison watched the Senators lose to the Reds in an 11-inning extravaganza. The game must have made an impression, because he ducked out of the office a couple of weeks later to catch the Senators-Phillies game on June 25th.
Optics prevented Grover Cleveland from attending, and McKinley declined an invitation to be the first President to throw out the first pitch.
The somewhat portly William Howard Taft was observed hoisting his considerable bulk out of his box seat in the middle of the seventh inning one day. Some people argue that the fans who saw him, imitated him, giving rise to the popularity of the seventh-inning stretch, although the stretch probably existed many years earlier.
Woodrow Wilson was a college ball player, and a knowledgeable fan. He is rumored to have had an early version of a man-cave at his private residence to which he would retreat with some buddies and talk baseball.
Herbert Hoover, in the Oval Office at the start of the Great Depression, became the first President booed during his appearance at a ball game, and Franklin D. Roosevelt famously decreed that baseball would continue through the war years, as it was critical to national morale.
The attendance record for Presidents belongs to Harry Truman, at 14.
Ike played semi-pro ball under an assumed name.
Richard Nixon, perhaps the most avid and knowledgeable fan of all the Presidents was offered, but declined, the job of Commissioner of Baseball.
Carter played softball. ‘Nuff said.
Reagan started his working life as a radio sportscaster, calling baseball games remotely with a teletype feed and sound effects.
G.H.W. Bush was the captain of the 1948 Yale College World Series championship team. They defeated USC for the title. Sparky Anderson was USC’s bat boy for the title game.
G.W. Bush was the managing general partner of the Rangers from ’89-’94.
Obama throws like a girl. ‘Nuff said.