U.S. Presidents in Dodger history
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President’s Day at Historic Dodgertown is a special day for the first major youth baseball tournament to be played in Vero Beach, Florida in 2018. Everywhere else, President’s Day is an American national holiday to honor the 44 persons elected to 45 terms as United States President (Grover Cleveland was elected twice to one term). Through the years, American Presidents have been involved with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers on many occasions from FDR to Clinton as evidenced by photos and correspondence.
FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT--Franklin Delano Roosevelt campaigned for the Presidency of the United States in 1944 and made a stop at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn on October 21, 1944. President Roosevelt confessed to the voters seated in an automobile on the infield in a steady rain that while he had never been to Ebbets Field, “I’ve rooted for the Dodgers and I hope to come back here someday and see them play.” (Youtube.com/FDR Ebbets Field.)
DWIGHT EISENHOWER—(L-R) Secretary of State John Foster Dulles; Colonel John Eisenhower, the President’s son; U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower; Dodger President Walter O’Malley; Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick.
Dodger President Walter O’Malley checks his watch for U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower before the start of the first game of the 1956 World Series on October 3rd at Ebbets Field. Eisenhower’s appearance at the World Series is the first by an American President since Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. The Dodgers defeated the New York Yankees in Game 1, 6-3.
HERBERT HOOVER—Former U.S. President Herbert Hoover thanks Dodger President Walter O’Malley for a ticket offer to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Dodgers’ 1959 season opener, a year where they would win their second overall World Championship in their history. Hoover sent his regrets as he was a resident of New York and would not be coming to California in the near future.
JOHN F. KENNEDY—Massachusetts Representative John Kennedy was not yet President John F. Kennedy, but on January 17, 1952, he presented a watch to Walter O’Malley to honor “Brooklyn’s Catholic Man of the Year Award.” The dinner was held at the Cathedral Club of Brooklyn, where Representative Kennedy awarded a Longines watch. On the back of the watch, the inscription reads, “CATHEDRAL CLUB OF BROOKLYN Presented to Walter F. O’Malley by Hon. John F. Kennedy, January 17, 1952, MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD.”
LYNDON JOHNSON—Vice President Lyndon Johnson invited Dodger President Walter O’Malley to a conference on Equal Opportunity to occur in the fall of 1963 in Los Angeles. As President of the United States, Johnson later would compliment the Los Angeles Dodgers on their Goodwill Tour to Japan in 1966 in a plaque presented to the team.
RICHARD NIXON—As a private citizen before his election as President, Richard Nixon sends a friendly note of condolence to Walter O’Malley after they lost the 1966 World Series to the Baltimore Orioles. Nixon praised the Dodger effort and mentioned he would also send correspondence to encourage Dodger outfielder Willie Davis, who had a difficult day when the Dodgers lost Game 2.
RICHARD NIXON (L-R) Dodger President Walter O’Malley; United States President Richard Nixon.
In a reception at the White House, President Richard Nixon greets Major League Baseball Players, officials, and team executives gathered before the 1969 All-Star Game to be played at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington D.C.
GERALD FORD— November 20, 1977 (L-R) Former U.S. President Gerald Ford; Walter O’Malley; Los Angeles City Councilman John Ferraro (partially seen).
Former U.S. President Gerald Ford greets Los Angeles Dodger Chairman of the Board Walter O’Malley at the Beverly Hilton Hotel as Ford was honored by the 1977 Gift of Life Award by the Holy Family Services.
JIMMY CARTER—President Jimmy Carter writes his appreciation to Dodger President Peter O’Malley for inviting his mother, Lillian, to throw out the first ball in Game 4 of the 1977 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 15, 1977.
RONALD REAGAN—(L-R) Peter O’Malley; Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Reagan attended games at Dodger Stadium as Governor of the State of California and was present to honor Don Drysdale on his day at the ballpark in 1969. Mrs. Nancy Reagan, the wife of the President, threw out the first ball for Game 1 of the 1988 World Series on October 15th, the game where Kirk Gibson hit his dramatic two-out, two-run home run to spark the Dodgers to their 1988 World Championship. And it was President and Mrs. Reagan who invited the Los Angeles Dodger players and spouses and front office staff to a reception in the White House Rose Garden to honor the new World Champions on October 26th, 1988.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH—(L-R) Dodger President Peter O’Malley; U.S. President George H.W. Bush.
Current U.S. President George H.W. Bush enters Dodger Stadium with Dodger President Peter O’Malley as President Bush attends the game as the Dodgers defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in a night game, 2-1 on June 14, 1991. President Bush also visited Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida on July 7, 1994.
BILL CLINTON—President Bill Clinton sends his best regards to Dodger President Peter O’Malley as O’Malley and the Los Angeles Dodger players depart for their 1993 Friendship Baseball Series. The Dodgers would play games against professional teams in Taiwan and Japan to help further the goal of international baseball.
GEORGE W. BUSH—(L-R) Annette O’Malley; President George W. Bush; Peter O’Malley.
U.S. President George W. Bush handwrites a personal letter to Peter O’Malley in congratulations for the 2008 induction of Walter O’Malley to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Bush was a partnership owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team that began his friendship with Peter O’Malley. President Bush said of Walter O’Malley, “He (Walter O’Malley) loved the game, he respected the game and he added value to the game.”