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Monday, February 16, 2015

Presidents Day: players with presidential names.

Let's start with a list of all 43 presidents.  I count Cleveland only once while most give him two numbers because his two terms were not consecutive.  Only major league players are included.

ID First Middle Last FirstBirth MiddleBirth LastBirth
1 George

2 John

3 Thomas

4 James

5 James

6 John Quincy Adams

7 Andrew

8 Martin
Van Buren

9 William Henry Harrison

10 John

11 James Knox Polk

12 Zachary

13 Millard

14 Franklin

15 James

16 Abraham

17 Andrew

18 Ulysses S. Grant Hiram Ulysses Grant
19 Rutherford Birchard Hayes

20 James Abram Garfield

21 Chester Alan Arthur

22 Grover

23 Benjamin

24 William

25 Theodore

26 William Howard Taft

27 Woodrow
Wilson Thomas

28 Warren Gamaliel Harding

29 Calvin
Coolidge John Calvin Coolidge
30 Herbert Clark Hoover

31 Franklin Delano Roosevelt

32 Harry S. Truman

33 Dwight David Eisenhower David Dwight Eisenhower
34 John Fitzgerald Kennedy

35 Lyndon Baines Johnson

36 Richard Milhous Nixon

37 Gerald Rudolph Ford Leslie Lynch King
38 James Earl Carter

39 Ronald Wilson Reagan

40 George Herbert Walker Bush

41 William Jefferson Clinton William Jefferson Blythe
42 George Walker Bush

43 Barack Hussein Obama

1903-2012 397 pitchers have won at least 20 games in a season.  Sixteen of them had the last name of a President.  Click link to see the details.


Hall of Famers Whitey Ford and Walter Johnson are the most prominent players.  Three of the names had the advantage of two presidents: Adams, Bush and Johnson.

I found 570 players with a last name that matched that of a president.  This does not include birth last names for Ford and Clinton: King and Blythe.  There are about a dozen for King but zero for Blythe.  Several named Ford.  Lou and Jim Clinton.

For Washington there are Claudell, U.L., Herb, Rico, Ron and even a George who played 128 games for the White Sox in 1935-1936.

Lincoln, all pitchers: Ezra, Mike, Brad.   Ezra Lincoln (1868-1951) was a lefty pitcher who threw 138 innings in 1890.  Mike was a righty pitcher 1999-2010: 376 innings.  Brad righty 2010-2014, 222 innings.  Abe was taller than all three.

Of the eight Grants the aforementioned 20 game winning Mudcat (Jim) was the most prominent.

Eight players named Hayes included Von and Charlie.

Garfield didn't last long in office and perhaps fittingly had only the obscure Bill Garfield.

Cleveland served those two non-consecutive terms interrupted by the second Harrison but had only Reggie and Elmer.  Only six Harrisons played ball.  The one and only Hoover had seven.

John Kennedy had 20 players with his last name, including two named John, one of whom debuted with the Washington Senators while his namesake was still in office: 9/5/1962-6/16/1974; the other John: five games in 1957.  There were also Junior (1974-1983), Ted, Adam (1999-2012).

Many players named Johnson.  Surprisingly six named Nixon: Al, Russ, Donell, Otis, Trot, Willard.

Fifteen named Carter, including Gary and Joe.

Jefferson: Jesse, Reggie, Stan.

Madison: Art, Dave, Scotti.

Monroe: Ed, John, Larry, Zach.

Van Buren: Jermaine, Deacon.

Tyler: Fred, Johnnie, Lefty.

Many named Adams, Taylor, Johnson, Wilson and Jackson (Reggie).

Pierce: 8, including southpaw 20 game winner Billy.

Buchanan: David, Brian, Bob, Jim.

Robinson Cano is named after Jackie Robinson.  Why does a parent name a child after someone famous?

Birth Name: Jack Roosevelt Robinson ...


Theodore Roosevelt 1903
John Singer Sargent via Wikimedia Commons
(Jackie) Robinson was born on January 31, 1919, into a family of sharecroppers in Cairo, Georgia. He was the youngest of five children born to Jerry and Mallie Robinson, after siblings Edgar, Frank, Matthew (nicknamed "Mack"), and Willa Mae.[7][8] His middle name was in honor of former President Theodore Roosevelt, who died 25 days before Robinson was born.[9][10] After Robinson's father left the family in 1920, they moved to Pasadena, California...

Willie Mays
Birth Name: Willie Howard Mays (Say Hey Kid)
Born: May 6, 1931 in Westfield, AL ...


His father ... was named after president William Howard Taft ...

In the early 1960s I became aware of two National Football League (NFL) players with the first name Rosey.

Roosevelt Grier (born July 14, 1932)
New York Giants (1955-1962)
Los Angeles Rams (1963-1966)

Born in Cuthbert, Georgia as one of twelve children, Grier was named after Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was governor of New York at the time of Grier's birth and was elected president of the United States later that year.[2]

Roosevelt Taylor (born July 4, 1937 in New Orleans, Louisiana)
Chicago Bears 1961-1969
San Francisco 49ers 1969-1971
Washington Redskins 1972

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president from March 1933 to April 1945.

There are no baseball players with the last name Roosevelt, even though Roosevelt is the name that has had the most days as president.

As mentioned previously Washington and Kennedy are the only presidents with players who match on both first and last names.

Harding: Charlie Harding one game: September 18, 1913 for Detroit; 2 innings, 1 run, earned.

Shutout: Polk, Filmore, Arthur, McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft, Coolidge, Truman, Eisenhower, Reagan, Obama.

Reagan, of course, played Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander, himself named after a president, in a movie: The Winning Team (1952).

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