When we launched OYEZ Baseball during the Fall of 2001, little did we know the warm reception that our efforts would receive. Our original collaboration, which drew analogies between baseball personalities and Justices of the United States Supreme Court, garnered wonderful feedback from educators, students, and fans across the country. It also fueled our enthusiasm to take the game to the next level and another branch of government. Perhaps Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks said it best when he suggested "Let's play two." So taking Mr. Cub's counsel to heart, we created Presidential Baseball.
This project would not have been possible without the strong team that stands behind it. Our colleagues Andrew Suprenant, Jim Ferolo, Jason Matteson, Mike Boccieri, and Ozzie Ramsay have continued to produce work of the highest caliber. They play their game with enthusiasm, flexibility, and creativity, which has made Presidential Baseball that much better.
Many thanks go out to Eric Hanson, a talented Northwestern undergraduate. With his imagination and hard work he racked up a number of extra base hits as he ably compiled incorrect answers for the game. We also thank John Constance, a skilled student and veteran of William and Mary's club baseball team, for helping us with revisions for the 2009 season. We also acknowledge the generosity of Justia, the best source for legal information—including sports law—on the planet.
Paralleling our previous effort, in addition to our own knowledge of baseball and American presidential history, we have relied heavily upon many valuable sources that other scholars and statisticians have compiled. We gladly acknowledge these works below for those who may want to dig deeper into the rich personal histories that we have only begun to chronicle.
So why baseball and presidents? We see connections on many levels.
In our day and age, the president is often considered the personification of the United States. He (and someday she) holds the only at-large political office in the nation, and thus is charged with representing all of the American people. Presidents are frequently considered windows into the personalities and values of their times.
The same could be said of baseball, which, despite recurring contract and labor disputes, greedy players and miserly owners, remains the nation's pastime. If you are unconvinced of that designation, ask yourself this: When was the last time you saw a president on the gridiron throwing out the first pass of the season, or taking to the hardwood to launch the year's first free throw?
Additionally, most Americans are taught to revere the president, and if visiting the nation's capital will nearly always stop by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to snap a photo of the White House. While acknowledging that aura of respect and mystique that accompanies the office, we also believe it is important to remember that there have been only a few truly great presidents in the nation's history. Some others have amassed solid records, while most have been simply mediocre or poor. Baseball tends to produce similar results on the field, as only a small fraction of big-league players will ever grace the halls of Cooperstown.
We hope that you will be entertained by the stories from the diamond and the Oval Office that we have collected here. Our larger goal is to help you better appreciate the complex challenge of presidential leadership, and to explore how some presidents have risen to that task (and in the process sometimes transformed their office and the nation), while others have endured frustration and defeat.
Paul Manna & Jerry Goldman
C-SPAN Survey of Presidential Leadership.
1999. A Site to Complement C-SPAN's 20th Anniversary Television Series,
American Presidents: Life Portraits. March-December.
Joseph J. Ellis. 2000. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. New York: Vintage Books.
Neil A. Hamilton. 2001. Presidents: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: Checkmark Books.
The Library of Congress. "By
Popular Demand: Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies."
William B. Mead and Paul Dickson. 1997. Baseball: The Presidents' Game. New York: Walker and Company.
Sidney M. Milkis. 1989. "History of the Presidency." In Michael Nelson (ed.), Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the Presidency. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly.
Stephen Skowronek. 1997. The Politics Presidents Make: Leadership from John Adams to Bill Clinton. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Jeffrey K. Tulis. 1987. The Rhetorical Presidency. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
The White House. "Presidents
The White House. "Presidents
of the United States."
Baseball Almanac – The "Official"
Baseball History Site
Bob Bloss. 1999. Baseball Managers: Stats, Stories, and Strategies. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
The Deadball Era
Fantasy Information Central –
Fantasy Football and Baseball News
Lloyd Johnson. 1999. Baseball’s Book of Firsts. Philadelphia: Courage Books.
Major League Baseball
Museum of Hoaxes
National Baseball Hall of Fame and
David S. Neft, Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. 2001. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball 2001. New York: St. Martins Griffin.
David Nemec, et al. 1992. 20th Century
Baseball Chronicle. Montreal: Publications
James A. Riley. 1994. The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues. New York: Carroll and Graf Publishers.
Dan Schlossberg. 1998. The New Baseball Catalog. Middle Village, NY: Jonathan David Publishers, Inc.
Mike Shatzkin (ed.). 1999. The Ballplayers:
Baseball’s Ultimate Biographical Reference, Vol. 1 and 2. New
York: The Idea Logical Press. Also available on the Internet at <http://www.pubdim.net/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/>