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A Jewish State
Theodor Herzl proposes a solution to the 'Jewish Question' and to anti-Semitism: a separate and independent ...
My Father's Girl
Jane Addams, whose Hull-House became a symbol of progressive reform, here remembers her father who helped ...
Paris Goes to War
As the World War engulfs Europe in August 1914, Edith Wharton reports from Paris on the ...
Lord Charnwood recounts the development and importance of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, a signal event in American ...
Darwin Changes His Mind
Here is Darwin’s account of his visit to the Galapagos Islands with its myriad species, which ...
A Grand Way to Chronicle a War
A fascinating glimpse of World War II journalism behind the front lines at Paris’s Hotel Scribe, ...
The Genius and the Jerk
Walter Vatter explores the early years of Steve Jobs--was he a genius, or simply an expert ...
What fundamentalists believe, and why they are a force in ...
Peanuts, Popcorn & American Presidents - Preview
by Ray Robinson
Peanuts, Popcorn, and American Presidents
In the winter of 1909, the manager of the Washington Senators, Clark Griffith, who went from professional trapping in Clear Creek, Missouri, to a lifetime as a baseball man, proved why he was entitled to his nickname of the “Old Fox.” Manipulating his eclectic political connections in Washington, D.C., Griffith coaxed the President of the United States, William Howard Taft, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Washington’s League Park on April 10, 1910.
A jolly fellow, who could have been a doppelganger for the silent-screen comedian Fatty Arbuckle, Taft was so delighted with the invitation that come Opening Day he stayed for the whole nine innings. The legendary right-hander Walter Johnson pitched a one-hitter that afternoon, beating the Philadelphia Athletics 3-0 as an overflow crowd of fifteen thousand looked on.
Griffith may not have known it at the moment, but President Taft’s opening-day pitch inaugurated an annual baseball tradition. And it didn’t matter what political party the president belonged to. By 1920, when Taft had taken a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, he found himself on a train headed for Chicago, where New York’s Commerce High School baseball team was en route to play Chicago’s Lane Tech High School in an intercity championship game. Among the excited Commerce kids on the train was a seventeen-year-old, dimpled first baseman named Lou Gehrig. With his interest in baseball now a matter of record, Taft asked to see the Commerce boys. He greeted each of them ebulliently, including Gehrig.
“I’m looking forward to see all of you play,” Taft told the boys. What he saw, among other things, was a ninth-inning home run with the bases loaded by Gehrig, whose name was promptly misspelled as “Gherrig” in the New York Times the next day.