“I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough, it’ll make sense.” ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
Baseball Styled Presidents’ Day
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
This Presidents’ Day weekend, I thought I would have some fun with describing presidents in terms of baseball. Consider this post as a modest history lesson for the baseball fan or an introduction into baseball for the presidential historian. If you are neither, then maybe you can find a blog about why the Angels should trade Mike Trout for your team’s package of leftover bits and pieces.
George Washington and Kenesaw Landis: Both men were the first leaders of new entities. Washington led an army and Landis was a judge, so both men were qualified for their new position of authority, despite having to navigate the complexities of a newly-born nation and sport, respectively.
Andrew Jackson and Mickey Mantle: Southerners who won battles for the Yankees. The Indians definitely disliked both men who made themselves dangerous adversaries. Both men were also known for the ability to party, while still getting the job done.
Abraham Lincoln and Jackie Robinson: The link between these two is probably the most obvious. Emancipation of an oppressed group of people is tied to both men.
“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.”
― Abraham Lincoln
Theodore Roosevelt and Curt Flood: These Trust Busters battled for justice in two different eras, but their effects are still felt today. While Teddy fought to keep big business honest, Flood did the same with Major League Baseball when he challenged the reserve clause that denied him free agency. Today, large corporations operate under the threat of anti-trust legislation and MLB no longer has complete control over players due to the efforts of these two men.
John F Kennedy and Ken Griffey Jr: These men burst onto the scene at young ages and hailed from families with well-known names in their fields. These men experienced significant popularity as they captured the attention of their fan bases. Before becoming President, Kennedy was a mariner as a member of the Navy while Griffey had most of his success for the Mariners of Seattle. Griffey, and his father, also played for the Reds, while JFK battled them in the Cold War.
Richard Nixon and Moe Berg: When you think of these well-educated guys, you should think about their greatest claim to fame, or infamy. Berg, a 15-year MLB backup catcher, served as a WWII spy, while Nixon is eternally linked to the Watergate scandal. I just wish it was the only scandal that ended with “gate”, but I doubt that trend will ever end.
Ronald Reagan and Vin Scully: These great communicators with Irish heritage have strong ties to Southern California, where Reagan was an actor and Scully was the voice of the Dodgers. Reagan also worked as a sports announcer before his career took off in acting. He actually joined Scully in the booth for the first inning of the 1989 All-Star game where Bo Jackson led off the bottom of the inning with a homerun to center field. Scully also supported Reagan politically and they lived within a short distance of each other after Reagan left office.
Donald Trump and Tim Tebow: These men are loved as much as they are hated and are attempting to venture into a field where they haven’t been before. While Trump has achieved his goal, Tebow’s chances appear to be limited. Trump excels in self promotion, but Tebow has him beat in quoting the Bible. Whether you root for or against either guy, neither seems deterred in their pursuits.
Do you have your own President-baseball connection? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
I am a child of the 1980’s who became engrossed in baseball after attending my first Angel game in 1982. As we headed to the Big A, I was told great tales of a man named Reggie. Sitting down the first base line, I watched the lineup announcement with great anticipation, but discovered that Reggie wasn’t in the lineup. It didn’t matter, the experience was magical, my grandma bought me my first Angel cap, and I fell asleep in the car on the way home. As the next decade emerged, I started a 25-year run in fantasy baseball, which ended with the 2014 season. I have been working in education since 2002 and also spent 2 seasons working for the LA Dodgers. Now, I am having fun observing baseball rather than obsessing over every box score that included one of my fantasy players.