United States

George H.W. Bush Remembered for College Baseball Career

He was a pilot, politician and public servant. But in New Haven, George H.W. Bush is also remembered for his college baseball career.

Four decades before the American people elected him president, his Yale teammates selected him to be their team captain.

And at the Yale field on June 5, 1948, one of baseball’s all-time greats crossed paths with a future president.

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“That's an iconic photograph because here you have the most famous baseball player in the United States next to the captain of the Yale baseball team who was also a decorated war hero," said Judith Schiff, Yale Library’s chief research archivist.

Babe Ruth presented Captain George H.W. Bush with his autobiography for the Yale Library.

“It’s pretty incredible just to think about HW has a lifelong legacy inspiration and incredible achievement so to be in the same shoes that he stood in its humbling to say the least,” said Simon Whiteman, the current Yale Baseball captain.

Whiteman, who plays shortstop, said he remembers Bush cheering on Yale as the team opened the season as Texas A&M his freshman year.

“One of the games it was in honor of him so he threw out the first pitch,” Whiteman said.

In June 2017, George and Barbara Bush invited the Bulldogs to their family compound in Maine after the team won the Ivy League and school record 34 games.

“The trip to A&M was very planned and the trip to Kennebunkport was not it was like a spur of the moment, they send us an invite of course drop everything to go,” Whiteman said.

It was the late first lady’s last birthday.

“We sang happy birthday to her she enjoyed she thanked us very much, later on she wrote us a little note thanking us even though we sang off key, she was very appreciative,” Whiteman recalled.

A lifelong baseball fan, 41 remained loyal to his Bulldogs.

“Later on in life he really held family and sports athletics very high regard,” Whiteman said.

As the starting first baseman, Bush played in two College World Series. His wife Barbara was the team’s scorekeeper.

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