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Nationals add William Howard Taft as new racing president

Jan 25, 2013, 8:42 PM EDT

Taft Getty Getty Images

The Presidents’ Race at Nationals Park lost a little bit of juice after the Nationals let Teddy win, so the team is hoping that a new addition to the race will keep fans interested. While all sorts of names were thrown around over the past few days, the Nationals have settled on a pretty logical choice to join George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. And no, I’m not talking about Nixon.

Yes, the Nationals have chosen William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States. There’s actually a pretty neat baseball tie-in here, as Taft began the presidential tradition of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on April 14, 1910 at Griffith Stadium in Washington.

Taft and Roosevelt were noted political rivals, so we should see all sorts of choreographed hijinks between the two this year at Nationals Park. Oh, and the team should be pretty good, too.

  1. husky2score - Jan 25, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    Isn’t Taft the fat one? If so he would take up the whole warning track.

    • kirkvanhouten - Jan 26, 2013 at 10:37 AM

      It’s kind of pathetic that the only thing anyone can think of to say about Taft is that “oh, he was the fat one”. For god’s sake, he was the most powerful man in the nation. Maybe we should stop fitting into that stereotype of ignorant Americans so easily. Did you know that Taft was responsible for….umm….things….probably. And that one time he…..errr…


      He was fat, wasn’t he!

      • Roger Moore - Jan 26, 2013 at 10:50 AM

        And he wasn’t just president, either; he was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court after his term was over. That makes him the only person to hold the highest office in two different branches of our government.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 26, 2013 at 11:59 AM

        In all fairness, he was a one-termer who didn’t do much and fell asleep in meetings a lot. He wasn’t a very notable president. His work on the SCt was regarded better.

      • dcfan4life - Jan 26, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        A giant Obama head running the race would have been so much funnier…

  2. natsattack - Jan 25, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    He once got stuck in the white house bathtub and was so big he got buried in a piano box instead of a coffin.

    • whmiv21 - Jan 25, 2013 at 9:07 PM

      He eventually got a bathtub custom made. It could fit three grown men.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 25, 2013 at 9:29 PM

      Good old Glutton Taft! Watch your hot dogs and don’t sit too close to him — he’s rather “noisy,” if you know what I mean (both ends).

      Seriously, a competitor both sides of the aisle can hate: he opposed organized labor but also gave us the corporate income tax. Too tubby to win and everyone can get behind him to lose. Winning!

      • husky2score - Jan 25, 2013 at 10:41 PM

        Woah woah woah what?

      • historiophiliac - Jan 25, 2013 at 11:58 PM

        Too much? I didn’t even mention the rectal abscess.

    • pefsu13 - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:31 AM

      Well, that’s half true. After he left office he dropped a ton of weight and lived longer than doctors said he should have. I think it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 70+ lbs.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 26, 2013 at 12:07 PM

        Which still put him in the neighborhood of 250-275 (about his college weight too, I think) — he was a big dude and did a variety of diets in his lifetime.

  3. bluesnats - Jan 25, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Still better than Delmon Young

  4. hpt150 - Jan 25, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    Also, Taft was the (purported) originator of the 7th inning stretch.

  5. jhorton83 - Jan 25, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    Fuck Taft.

    • seeinred87 - Jan 27, 2013 at 7:05 AM

      That made me laugh. Pretty hard too.

  6. Old Gator - Jan 25, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    I’m glad the Gnats got to him before the Feesh signed him to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

    • umrguy42 - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:15 PM

      The Feesh would’ve just traded him to the Nats eventually for a couple of congressmen, so…

  7. tuberippin - Jan 26, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    James Madison is displeased

  8. canadabaseball - Jan 26, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    How is this not top news ?

  9. schmedley69 - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    Nixon would have been more fitting, because the Phillies are already preparing Impeachment proceedings to prevent the Nats from completing their second term as NL East Champs.

  10. steelers88 - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Who wins first in 2013 Teddy or Taft?

  11. mazblast - Jan 26, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    Taft was a huge fan of the game in more ways than one, and loved playing baseball as a kid. Unlike many Presidents, including the present one, he didn’t have to feign interest.

  12. statslady - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    William Howard Taft, the man who had to purchase a custom-built bathtub for the residence in order to cope with his enormous girth. Taft may well have been the first President to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day, but he was also the person responsible for the seventh inning stretch. His weight meant that his knees were so bad, he couldn’t remain seated for a full game, even though games then were much shorter than they are now. At one game, he rose after the top of the 7th, to stretch his knees. The crowd, seeing the President standing, also stood (as etiquette demands), also stood, and sat again once he had taken his seat again.

    Taft may well have been a big baseball fan, but the man had trouble moving around because of the damage done to his knees by his weight. That makes him almost as poor choice as a 5th President in the race as FDR would have been.

    Then again, even the slowest-moving players can hit an inside-the-park HR, as long as all of the outfielders are falling over each other.

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