Inaugural Babies

Major League Baseball players born on the day a U.S. President was inaugurated:

–The first major leaguer born on an Inauguration Day was born on March 4, 1861, the day Abraham Lincoln was sworn in (until the mid-20th century, scheduled inaugurations usually took place on March 4). The player born that day was apparently the child of patriotic parents because they named their brand new baby after the brand new president. Abraham Lincoln Wolstenholme was born in Philadelphia, cradle of the nation. Abe Westenholme grew up to play in three games in 1883 for the brand new National League franchise in Philadelphia, which eventually became the Phillies but was then known as the Quakers. The other MLB players born on the day a U.S.president was sworn into office were:

–Joseph Herr, who was born the day of Lincoln’s second inauguration (“with malice toward none, with charity for all…”), played in 66 games in the old American Association when it was considered a major league.

–Mike Lehane was born on April 15,1865, the day Lincoln died after being shot the previous evening, Vice-President Andrew Johnson being then sworn in as the new president. Lehane was another American Association guy, playing two seasons for the short-lived Columbus Solons franchise.

–Red Bowser got into one game as a member of the 1910 Chicago White Sox. He was born the day Vice-President Chester Arthur was sworn in as President, after James Garfield had died the previous day from gunshot wounds he had suffered back in July.

–Lefty O’Doul and Neal Brady were both born on March 4, 1897, the day William McKinley was sworn in for his first term as President. O’Doul was one of the best hitters in the NL from 1929 through 1932. Brady pitched a few games for the pre-Babe Ruth Yankees as a kid, then pitched mostly in the minors before popping up briefly with the Reds in 1925.

–Bill Hart was born on March 4, 1913, the day Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated for the first time. Hart’s middle name was Woodrow, which I assume was not a coincidence. He was a career minor leaguer who got his chance with the Dodgers during World War II, thanks to a perforated eardrum that disqualified him from military service.

–Alex Monchak was born on March 5, 1917, the day of Wilson’s second inaugural. Monchak played in the majors for a short time in 1940, served in the Army with valor on the European Front, and coached and scouted in the majors for a very long time, particularly as Chuck Tanner’s first base coach for years, a position he held for the Pirates’ 1979 World Champions. Born in 1917 during the segregationist Woodrow Wilson’s administration, Monchak died in 2015 during the Obama administration.

–John Easton was born on March 4, 1933, the day Franklin Roosevelt was inaugurated for the first time. Easton was a Princeton grad and engineer who appeared as a pinch-runner for the Phillies in one game in 1955, and three times as a pinch hitter (0 for 3) for the Phils in 1959.

–Dave Boswell was born the day of FDR’s fourth inauguration, January 20, 1945. He was an important part of the Twins’ starting pitching staff in the last half of the 1960’s, when the Twins were one of the strongest teams in baseball. He got into an infamous fight with Billy Martin, his rather sociopathic manager, and arm injuries derailed his career.

–Kevin Maas was born on January 20, 1965, the day Lyndon Johnson was inaugurated for a term in his own right, after having ascended to the presidency on John Kennedy’s assassination.
Kevin Maas is Gary Sanchez’ recurring nightmare this offseason.

–Julio Santana was born January 20, 1973, Richard Nixon’s second Inauguration Day (Nixon’s
term foundered as the result of an intrusion on the Democratic National Committee, surely something no one would ever try to take advantage of again after that). Santana was a journeyman pitcher whose career might have fared better had he not pitched at the height of the hitting explosion of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

–Matt Morris was born on August 9, 1974, the day the aforementioned Nixon formally submitted his resignation and Gerald Ford was sworn in to succeed him. Morris is one of five pitchers to rack up 100 career Wins for the Cardinals since the end World War II.

–John Baker and Freddy Guzman were born on January 20, 1981, the day Ronald Reagan was inagurated for the first time. Baker was a backup catcher for a few years and had a memorable game for the Cubs in 2014 when he came in to pitch at the end of a long extra-inning contest and scored the winning run to give himself the W. He works in the Cubs front office now, presumably a fun place to be at the moment. Guzman is an outfielder who accumulated about 100 career PAs in the majors over several years bouncing around with a few different organizations, and has played in recent seasons in the Mexican League.

We won’t know for a long time if any kids born today will end up in the majors, but personally I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a bunch of babies born today to women named Rosemary.

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32 Comments on "Inaugural Babies"

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Voomo Zanzibar
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Kevin Maas wasn’t even all that great in 1990. He just hit homers. The hype came from the fact that the Yanx were a last place team for the first time in a quarter century, and he was the only thing to get hyped about. Sanchez is a Catcher who has shown big defensive potential. Maas played first, and wasn’t particularly good at it (especially compared to the injured guy he was covering for). As for offense, Gary had 229 PA last year. Here’s their stats, compared through Maas’ first 229 PA: .299 / .376 / .657 / 1.032 .241… Read more »
David P
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Voomo – I agree re: Sanchez. Here’s the list of players with OPS of .930 or greater with 200+ PAs in their first season: Willie McCovey Ted Williams George Watkins Albert Pujols Ryan Braun Wally Berger Frank Thomas Johnny Mize Dale Alexander Chuck Klein Tommy Henrich Moose Skowron Bill Salkeld Jose Abreu Adam Dunn Charlie Keller Paul Waner Del Bissonette Frank Robinson Earl Averill That’s a pretty darn good list! The only real “busts” were Watkins, Alexander, Salkeld, and Bissonette. But they all debuted between ages 26-30, so probably weren’t great prospects (and none of those 4 completely dropped off…they… Read more »
Scary Tuna
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Sanchez is in good company on that list.

Alexander was still playing well when his major league career was cut short by a freak injury incurred during treatment for twisted knee. He made it back to the minors the next year and remained a productive hitter at that level for nine seasons.

Hartvig
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“We won’t know for a long time if any kids born today will end up in the majors, but personally I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a bunch of babies born today to women named Rosemary.”

That made me laugh so loud it scared the dog.

Phil Gaskill
Guest

Color me deprived, or depraved, or whatever you want to color me, but I don’t get the reference to the name Rosemary. Maybe I don’t watch enough TV? Please clue this poor ignorant soul in to the joke so I can scare MY dog too!

David P
Guest

It’s a reference to the movie Rosemary’s Baby, in which Rosemary gives birth to Satan’s baby.

Phil Gaskill
Guest

Oh, thanks! I actually never saw that movie (although I’ve HEARD of it, of course). And I’d forgotten (or maybe I never knew) that that was the plot.

Richard Chester
Guest

Cap Anson and Jim O’Rourke have played through the most presidential administrations, 8 each. Anson played from Grant through McKinley and O’Rourke from Grant through T. Roosevelt (he didn’t play while McKinley was president). Nick Altrock and Jim Kaat have played through 7 administrations.

DougN
Guest

Seven also for Nolan Ryan (Johnson thru Clinton). Six for Jack Quinn (Taft thru Roosevelt), Eddie Collins (Roosevelt thru Hoover), and Pete Rose (Kennedy thru Reagan).

Richard Chester
Guest

If I have done my work correctly Don Heffner holds the record for most seasons played under 1 administration for his entire career. He played from 1934 to 1944, a total of 11 years under FDR.

oneblankspace
Guest

Other suspects: Jamie Moyer, John Smoltz, Tom [Flash] Gordon, Cal Ripken Jr 5 (Reagan→Obama), Julio Franco 4 (Reagan→Dubya), Tim Raines & Harold Baines 5 (Carter→Dubya), Pete Rose 6 (JFK→Reagan), Phil Niekro 5 (LBJ→Reagan), Walter Johnson 5 (TR-Taft-Wilson-Harding-Coolidge), Cy Young 5, Nolan Ryan 7 (LBJ→ Clinton), Pud Galvin 6 (Grant-Hayes-Garfield-Arthur-Cleveland-Harrison), Carlton Fisk 6 (Nixon→Clinton)

Mike L
Guest

You realize that this seems like a terrible jinx–maybe to the Presidency itself: References to Lincoln (assassinated), Garfield (assassinated), McKinley (assassinated), Wilson (serious stroke in office), FDR (had a stroke and died in office), Kennedy (assassinated), Nixon (impeached and resigned). Reagan (victim of an attempted assassination).

Brent
Guest

The mythology is that Tecumseh or some other Indian leader put a curse on William Henry Harrison for the Battle of Tippecanoe, and that every President who was elected in a zero year from him forward was fated to die in office. It works for 140 years. Harrsion (1840), Lincoln (1860), Garfield (1880), McKinley (1900), Harding (1920), FDR (1940), JFK (1960). Of course, Reagan (1980) stopped the curse, but Hinkley’s bullet came pretty close W (2000) was never close personally to death, so the curse must be broken now.

Mike L
Guest

Formidable curse.

David P
Guest

Nowhere to put this but sad news as both Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte have died in separate car accidents in the Dominican Republic.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/yordano-ventura-and-andy-marte-have-died/

Doug
Guest

Ventura is the third youngest pitcher to allow no runs when starting and winning a World Series elimination game, when he went 7 scoreless to win game 6 of the 2014 series. The two younger pitchers (Bret Saberhagen and Johnny Podres) both pitched shutouts to win seventh games.

Steven
Guest

Lyndon Johnson’s inauguration should read January 20, 1965.

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