Gerald Rudolph Ford
(born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.)
- School University of Michigan
I watch a lot of baseball on the radio. - Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford was a Detroit Tigers fan while growing up in Michigan. An athlete himself, he played football at the University of Michigan. After serving in the Navy during World War II, Ford returned to Grand Rapids, MI to practice law and would attend games of the Grand Rapids Chicks of the AAGPBL.
Ford was elected to Congress in 1948 and, according to the White House website, showed "exceptional baseball talent" on the congressional baseball team. In 1949, he played catcher on the Republican team in the annual Republican/Democratic game, and in the 1957 contest, he hit an inside-the-park grand slam home run.
When Spiro Agnew resigned in 1973, Ford was appointed Vice President. He was in attendance and participated in a ceremony when Hank Aaron hit his 714th home run in 1974 to tie Babe Ruth's mark. A few months later, President Richard Nixon resigned, and Ford became the only man to serve as President without being elected to the presidency or the vice-presidency.
While President, Ford attended two major league games. He threw out the first pitch for the Texas Rangers opener against the Minnesota Twins on April 9, 1976, and at that year's All-Star Game at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, PA. During his time in the White House, he also signed a bill allowing girls to play Little League baseball.
Recently, the Gerald R. Ford Library put on an exhibition regarding the connections of Presidents and baseball, featuring a number of photos of Ford.
- White House Biography
- Wikipedia Entry
- Internet Public Library POTUS Page
- Play Ball Mr. President! exhibit at the Gerald R. Ford Library
|United States President
1974 – 1977