I Like Ike’s Birthday
Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas on October 14, 1890. Ike, as the Eisenhower boys were called, was the third of seven sons. Ike’s family moved to Abilene, Kansas, and the years he spent in the town were among the most important of his life.
Ike relished the history of the Wild West and of ancient times. He named Hannibal, Caesar, Pericles, and Socrates as among his boyhood heroes, competing with cowboys and lawmen for his admiration. Ike’s devotion to the study of the past sometimes came at the expense of other homework and chores and once led his mother to lock up his history books as punishment for neglecting his childhood duties.
Eisenhower excelled at sports - baseball and football in particular, but he also boxed, fished, trapped, hunted, camped, and played poker - the latter learned at the hand of an eccentric outdoorsman and adventurer who taught him how to compute percentages and figure odds, invaluable skills for the future military and political leader.
Ike’s poker skills were enhanced by his powers of observation, some of which were recorded in the margins of his school books, where he rated his teachers as “good” or “cross.” Eisenhower continued his habit of writing character assessments throughout his military and political careers. Historians rate his personnel decisions in the Army and politics as among his greatest skills.
Other important character traits emerged in the Abilene years. Ike attended integrated schools, but when some of his football teammates refused to line up opposite a visiting African American player, Eisenhower volunteered for the position, and shook the player’s hand after the game.
To help bring money into the household, Ike baked and sold tamales; grew and sold sweet corn and cucumbers; harvested wheat, picked apples, and hammered out steel grain bins. He joined the Belle Springs Creamery after graduating high school in 1909, toiling as a fireman from 6:00 p.m. to 6 a.m. seven days a week. With his creamery proceeds he supported his brother Edgar through two years of college at the University of Michigan. The plan was for Edgar to work the next two years for Ike’s schooling. Instead Ike won an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, and left the creamery and Abilene in 1911.
Dwight David Eisenhower was born the year the US census pronounced the frontier closed and died the year man walked on the moon. In between those milestones he planned and led the greatest amphibious military assault in history and served two terms as President. Yet on reflection of this eventful life he declared: “The proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene.”
Happy birthday Ike!
-from the Eisenhower Library
Baseball’s postseason began this week and today the San Francisco Giants take on the Washington Nationals. The last postseason matchup of baseball’s Nationals and Giants took place in the 1933 World Series, when the teams were known as the Washington Senators and New York Baseball Giants.
FDR was on hand to thrown out the first ball in Game Three on Thursday, October 5th at Griffith Stadium in Washington, as shown in this newsreel “local” intended to show in DC area movie theaters that weekend.FDR is shown shaking hands with the opposing play-managers, both future Hall-of-Famers: Joe Cronin (SS) for the Washington Nationals, and Bill Terry (1B) for the New York Giants. Other Hall-of-Famers playing include Mel Ott (RF), Giants #4. Goose Goslin (RF), Nationals #5; and Heinie Manush (LF), Nationals #3.FDR did not prove to be a good luck charm for the New York team that particular day, but the Giants did go on to win the Series 4 to 1.
Little League Baseball celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.
President Ford welcomed the final eight teams from the 1974 Little League World Series to the White House on August 26, 1974.
The teams represented Red Bluff, California; New Haven, Connecticut; Tallmadge, Ohio; Jackson, Tennessee; Victoria, British Colombia, Canada; Maracaibo, Venezuela; the Republic of China (Taiwan); and Athens, Greece, which included the children of American military and Embassy staff in Europe.
Image: President Ford with the Little League baseball team from Red Bluff, California (White House photograph A0364-23)
Happy 75 to Little League Baseball!
Tonight is the 85th Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
President Ford greeted Boston Red Sox Manager Darrell Johnson, Cincinnati Reds Manager George “Sparky” Anderson, and players from the National and American League teams on the field prior to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 13, 1976. The game was played at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Gerald R. Ford walks with Darrell Johnson, manager of the Boston Red Sox, and George “Sparky” Anderson, manager of the Cincinnati Reds, before the start of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 7/13/76.
-from the Ford Library
We’ve made it to Thursday! How about some summer baseball photos?
President John F. Kennedy throws out the first ball at the 32nd All-Star Baseball Game, on this day in 1962.
Speaker of the House John W. McCormack, Dave Powers, Vice President Johnson, President Kennedy, Commisioner of Baseball Ford. C. Frick, Lawrence O’Brien, others ( in foreground- Dennis Marcel, Frank Brown, members of the Washington Boys Club ). Washington, D.C., 7/10/1962.
-from the JFK Library
Heads up! We’re almost halfway through the World Cup.
Brazilian superstar Pelé showed President Ford, a former college gridiron standout, what he could do with his kind of football when visiting the White House on June 28, 1975.
Original images White House photographs A5272-18 to 22.