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Baseball: The Presidents' Game Paperback – April 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

According to Mead ( Two Spectacular Seasons, LJ 2/1/90) and Dickson ( Paul Dickson's Baseball Dictionary, LJ 3/15/89), every U.S. President except Rutherford B. Hayes had a connection with baseball or one of the earlier versions of the game. The authors assert that both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln played some form of the game. They also detail the associations of later chief executives, in the form of playing, attending opening games, etc. The authors even include Richard Nixon's all-star picks. This picture-packed collection of White House anecdotes is fun reading. Recommended for most sports collections.
- Morey Berger, St. Joseph's Hosp. Medical Lib., Tucson
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"This is a perfectly wonderful book." --Kansas City Star

"[When] you read the book, and look at the pictures, you realize how much character is revealed in the nexus where president meets national pastime. The game implies the man." --The Washington Post

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Walker & Company (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802775152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802775153
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,507,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ron Kaplan on March 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
For those who have wondered about the tradition of our nation's leader throwing out the first pitch of the season, here is your answer.
Authors Mead and Dickson have compiled this entertaining look at how each president, beginning with one of the most UNathletic chief executives, William Howard Taft, has related to the national pastime. For example, while rough- and-ready Teddy Roosevelt was not much of a fan, Franklin Roosevelt was instrumental in keeping baseball going during the dark years of World War II.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was a pretty fair ballhand, a minor leaguer who found greener pastures in military and political pursuits. And Richard Nixon was considered by some to be an astute student of the game.
The President's Game is well-illustrated with seldom-seen photos and would be a welcome addition to both the baseball and the political science fan's libary.
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Format: Paperback
Since the opening day of the United States, baseball has been an interest of many of the presidents. Soldiers with George Washington at Valley Forge played a game called "base", which was a precursor to baseball as we now know it. John Adams wrote about playing a game called "bat and ball" in his youth, although Thomas Jefferson expressed disdain for the game. While Andrew Jackson is known to have played a similar game, Abraham Lincoln is the first president to be strongly linked to baseball. On page 5 there is a cartoon showing Lincoln with the other candidates for president in the 1860 election, and all have bats in their hands.
From that point on, there was a deeper involvement of the American presidents with baseball, although William Howard Taft was the first president to make the ceremonial first pitch. From that point on, every president, including the taciturn Calvin Coolidge, made it a point to demonstrate his interest in the game. The worst photo in the book shows Coolidge in an Indian headdress at a baseball game. Coolidge looks angry enough to act like a ballplayer and spit at the photographer.
There are many colorful historical anecdotes in this book and while it is clear that the presidents used their appearances at baseball games to their political advantage, most of them took a genuine interest in the game. In what may have been a rare point of political honesty, Richard Nixon said that he would have liked to be a sportswriter. There were several points of trivia that I was totally unaware of. In 1965, Nixon was recruited to be the director of the Major League Players Association. When Nixon declined, they hired Marvin Miller, who led them to the overthrow of the hated reserve clause.
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