Baseball and Presidents
For a frivolous interlude, some random musings on baseball’s connections to presidents.
Of course, presidents have been known to throw out ceremonial first pitches on Opening Day and, more recently, at All-Star games. And, one president has been credited with inadvertently instituting the tradition of the seventh-inning stretch. But, there are more connections than that.
Some musings after the jump.
Let’s start with namesakes. You’re probably thinking I’ll be stumped with Barack Obama. Not quite – just takes a little imagination. To wit, I give you the tandem of Marv Rackley and Bama Rowell. Both were National Leaguers whose careers overlapped slightly, most relevantly on Opening Day, 1947, when both appeared in Rackley’s career debut, which was, more famously, also the career debut of one Jack Roosevelt Robinson.
Some more namesakes:
- George Bush – John George Bucha or “Chief” George Borchers (as in “Hail the …”)
- Bill Clinton – William Clinton Zepp
- Ronald Reagan – minor leaguer Ronald Reagan, also Douglas Reagan Ault
- Jimmy Carter – Negro leaguer Jimmy Carter, also minor leaguer Earl Carter
- Gerald Ford – minor leaguer and NL President Ford Frick
- Richard Nixon – Albert Richard “Humpty Dumpty” Nixon - he had a great fall (actually, both the ballplayer and the president fell from grace – the ballplayer was banned from baseball for two seasons, but made a comeback)
- Lyndon Johnson – minor leaguer Lynn Johnson
- John Kennedy – John Kennedy - played third base for the Washington Senators during John Kennedy’s presidency
How many more can you get?
It’s been said that Democrats win the White House when the NL wins the World Series, and Republicans win when the AL wins the series. Actually, that has held for the past four elections, in all but one election from 1940 to 1976, and in all three of the 1920s election. The one notable departure was the Reagan/GH Bush/Clinton period. Here’s the table.
Any other patterns that anyone can divine?
Finally, HOFer Jim Bunning has been famously successful in both baseball and politics. Any others that anyone is aware of? Or, any others that you think would make (or would have made) good politicians?
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