Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Slide, Lincoln, Slide!

Baseball season has begun, at least in places where games haven't been snowed out (gotta love Chicago).  It is a little known fact that Abraham Lincoln loved baseball, and was a pretty deft pitcher.  In fact, if he had just been given a pitching tryout for the New York Yankees, his political career likely never would have happened, which would have resulted in a vastly different world.

Actually, it's not clear if Lincoln ever encountered baseball during his lifetime, though one imagines that if he could have swung a baseball bat as well as he swung an axe, he would have been a fierce hitter.  And Snopes.com has a pretty compelling refutation of the "Castro as frustrated would-be baseball professional."

But Lincoln has a larger than life presence, literally, at the home games of the Washington Nationals.  He is prominently featured in the mid-fourth inning "President's Race" between the four presidents carved on Mt. Rushmore.  Last season, Lincoln was evidently the class of the field, winning almost 60% of the races.  Like many baseball clubs, he was also very streaky, and many of his race wins came in clusters.  (I know this because a blog has game-by-game results of the President's Race.)

Let's go to the video:

All anyone would care to know about the "President's Race" -- and a lot more -- is here on a blog dedicated to the event, "Let Teddy Win!" (because of a running gag where TR loses every race).  (Yes, the pun was intended.)

A special tip of the stovepipe hat to The Abraham Lincoln Observer, who wrote about the race on his blog earlier this week.


The Abraham Lincoln Observer said...

Josh: A belated thank you for your link to THE ALO. In fact, for some reason I hadn't realized until now how consistently good Lincolniana is in general. (Dang, another blog that puts me to shame.) My apologies, and I'll be adding you to my blogroll. Keep up the good work.

Joshua Patty said...

Mike (The ALO): I was happy to link to your fine blog, which I always enjoy reading. And thanks for the compliment. (And thanks for reminding me to update my blogroll -- you've been added.)

Lincolnphotog said...

I have read that Lincoln was playing baseball or the mid-18th century version of the sport, when he learned that he had won the nomination of the Republican Party for president.

I have come across that tale a cople of times in my reading.

I learned of your blog from LincolnBuff2.

Joshua Patty said...

I don't remember any specific stories about what Lincoln was doing when he learned that he had received the Republican nomination in 1860. That he was playing a version of baseball seems a little out of right field (if you pardon the expression), but who knows. He had to be doing something.

I'm glad you've come across the blog. I didn't know LincolnBuff2 had come across my blog -- I hope she enjoys it. I read all of her posts.