Calvin Coolidge was the only American president (so far) born on the Fourth of July. So what better time to bring some attention to Silent Cal?
Earlier this week, the Washington Nationals announced that the nation's 30th president has been added to the lineup as the sixth Racing President. His first race will be Friday night. He joins a roster that already includes George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft, who took the field for the first time in 2013.
Baseball is America's national pastime. So naturally the country's presidents have had a close relationship to the game.
Abraham Lincoln had a baseball field, called the White Lot, built on the White House grounds. Chester A. Arthur was the first Chief Executive to welcome a professional team to the White House when the Cleveland Forest Cities from the National Association stopped by on April 13, 1883. And on June 6, 1892, Benjamin Harrison became the first sitting president to attend a Major League game.
But the closest relationship between America's presidents and its national game is the first pitch. William Howard Taft threw out the first presidential first pitch on April 14, 1910, in the first MLB game of the season, between the Washington Senators and Philadelphia Athletics. (Washington won, 3-0.) Taft was a huge baseball fan, attending 14 games during his four years in the White House. Legend has it he created the seventh-inning stretch when he stood up in the middle of the seventh inning during one of those games.
Kid Reporter Riley Neubauer recently attended a Yankees-Phillies game at Yankee Stadium. What was it like to cover a game as a member of the media? Riley takes us behind the scenes.
For a 1:05 p.m. game on June 24, I arrived at Yankee Stadium at 9:45 a.m. I walked up to the press gate, picked up my SI Kids credential, and headed up to the press box. You wouldn’t believe the view of the field from there! The press box is located behind home plate near the second deck of seats. It looks like a theater with desks. You can see the whole field from there, and even though you are a little on the rightfield/third base line, you have a clear view of rightfield.
Ryan Howard, first baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies, was at Yankee Stadium today this past week to play the Yankees. Sadly for Howard, the Phillies lost 10-2, but they still won the series 2–1. Howard has been a Phillie ever since he became a major leaguer since in 2004. He was National League Rookie of the Year in 2005 and the NL MVP in 2006. Howard has a reputation for being especially friendly to young fans and eagerly signs autographs. Together with his wife, Krystle, Howard has written three children’s books about a young baseball player. Kid Reporter Riley Neubauer had a chance to speak with Howard in the visitors’ dugout before the game.
The history of the Cleveland Indians from the late 1950s to the early 1990s is one of many, many, many losses. But after forty years without so much as a playoff berth, an unforgettable cast of characters banded together and led the Indians to ultimate dream – the 1995 World Series.
On June 19, many members of that great team returned to Progressive Field, the site of countless wins in the late innings, to be honored by the franchise that they helped revive after 41 years of perennial losing.
SABR’s 45th annual convention ended Saturday with a range of fabulous opportunities for people who sleep, eat, and breathe baseball.
The day began with an instant highlight: a White Sox player panel, moderated by Dan Migala and featuring former White Sox players Ron Kittle, Carlos May, and Mike Huff. The players shared fun anecdotes about their years together in Chicago. Kittle recalled how satisfying it was to crush a home run off the roof of a stadium. Huff shared memories his first career game appearance, as a defensive replacement, and his first at-bat in the bigs, which was a single. Huff also talked about being asked to mentor Michael Jordan when Jordan briefly played in the White Sox organization. Kittle’s great sense of humor added the kinds of jokes and insights only a player could share. For me, it was great seeing Migala moderate another panel. I loved seeing him talk analytics at the SABR Analytics conference last March.
The 2015 SABR Annual Convention continued Saturday with yet another day filled with hilarious panels and research presentations that were equal parts info-packed and entertaining.
One highlight was a panel featuring two Negro Leagues players, Al Spearman and Ernie Westfield, moderated by SABR Negro Leagues Committee chair member Larry Lester. The three presenters went back and forth sharing stories of what it meant to play in the Negro Leagues and how they battled through adversity along the way. They told the crowd of baseball fans how they feel that if players like speedster Cool Papa Bell and slugger Josh Gibson were given the chance to play in the major leagues with white players, they would have been truly be able to showcase their talents.