Monday, February 15, 2016

President's Day at Wrigley Field

The country celebrates President’s Day today, and Wrigley Field has hosted a few presidents over the years.

President Taft’s brother Charles was the owner of the Cubs who sold the team to Charles Weeghman, the man who built Wrigley Field. President Taft saw the Cubs play three times, although none of those games were in the “new” ballpark.

In 1920, Warren Harding came to see the Cubs as he campaigned for the presidency. He was friends with Cubs owner William Wrigley, and was very close to Cubs minority owner Harry Sinclair. After he won the presidency Harding even invited Cubs legend Cap Anson to visit him at the White House (photo). Unfortunately for Harding, Harry Sinclair later led him into the biggest scandal of his presidency, the Teapot Dome Scandal. (Note: Harding saw the Cubs play an exhibition game, and it also wasn’t at Wrigley Field, it was in Ohio).

In 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt attended a World Series game at Wrigley Field. It was the day that Babe Ruth called his shot. Roosevelt was the Governor of New York at the time and was running for president. He watched the game seated next to Chicago mayor Anton Cermak, who would later take a bullet intended for the president.

On September 30th, 1988, President Reagan attended a game at Wrigley Field. He threw out the first pitch, and broadcast an inning with Harry Caray. Reagan got his start in radio in the 1930s broadcasting Cubs games for WHO-Radio in Iowa. He was a life-long Cubs fan.

On June 30th, 1999, President Bill Clinton watched a game from a skybox at Wrigley Field. It was four months after the Senate voted to acquit him on perjury and obstruction charges after he had been impeached by the House of Representatives.

(A few other presidents also watched the Cubs play live, though not at Wrigley Field. In 1929, President Hoover attended Game 5 of the World Series in Philadelphia, and on Opening Day 2006, President George W. Bush came to a Cubs-Reds game in Cincinnati)