PRESIDENTS DAY AND BASEBALL IN SYRACUSE

With Monday, February 20th celebrated as Presidents Day in the United States, we thought that we would have some fun with who really were the best Presidents when it came to wins and losses with our home town team.

First the fact that Baseball in Syracuse has been played under the last 25 Presidents including Ulysses S. Grant in 1876 is astounding.  The then Syracuse Stars WPCT during Grant’s term was a lofty .678 (124-59).

The Chiefs have won eight Governors Cups since 1935, three coming under Franklin Roosevelt, one under Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower and two under Richard Nixon.  Nixon could have had a third in 1976, but left office early and allowed Gerald Ford to pick up the Chiefs last Cup Title.

As far as Pennants, or first place finishes the Stars/Chiefs have had nine since 1878 with Rutherford B. Hayes getting it going.  Chester Arthur won one in 1885, while Grover Cleveland picked up two in 1888 and again in 1897 during his second term in office.  Teddy Roosevelt help to capture the 1904 title and Woodrow Wilson won it tweleve years later in 1916.  It would take 54 years for another first place finish and again Richard Nixon came to the rescue in 1970. Ronald Reagan followed with a title in 1985 and George Bush Sr. in 1989.

When it comes to second place finishes the Chiefs have done that trick 13-times in their history.  Interestingly, a Democratic President has been in office during eight of those years.  Starting With Grover Cleveland in 1889.  Teddy Roosevelt finished second in 1903 and 1905 and William Taft again in 1910.  It took seventeen years later for Calvin Coolidge to do it again in 1927.  The Democrats then took over as FDR captured 1935 and 1938 and Harry Truman finished as a bridesmaid in 1946 and 1952.  Lyndon Johnson did it in 1964, while Gerald Ford got the Republicans their first second place finish in 49 years in 1974.  Jimmy Carter 1979 and Bill Clinton 1998 rounded out the field.

Best Winning Percentage went to Grover Cleveland. Combined he went 518-382 .575.  President Cleveland’s two terms were interrupted by Benjamin Harrison from 1893-1897.  During that time in between Cleveland’s dominance, the Stars disbanded twice.

Gerald Ford was next at .546, followed by Teddy Roosevelt .532 and Richard Nixon at .521 and Harry Truman at .513.

The worst – William McKinley’s .389 took the trophy and a subsequent move by the Stars to Brockton,  MA after the 1901 season.  Woodrow Wilson’s .431 was not much better than Dwight Eisenhower’s .432 and the loss of baseball in our community for a three year stretch 1958-1960.

Presidents who captured Rookie of the Year honors,  best records during their first year in office included Ulysses S. Grant in 1876 (56-14), Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878 (29-11), Chester Arthur in 1881 (52-37), William Taft in 1910 (78-57). Harry Truman in 1946 (81-77), Lyndon Johnson in 1964 (88-66), Gerald Ford in 1974 (77-64) and George Bush Sr. in 1989 (83-62).

The President with the most wins in a season went to Calvin Coolidge’s 1927 squad that went 102-66 but finished second to the Newark Bears.  Teddy Roosevelt team went 91-44 in 1904, while Grover Cleveland’s 1888 team was 81-30.  Harry Truman’s 1947 Chiefs went 88-65 with a Governors Cup and a trip to the Little World Series.

The President with the most losses, Woodrow Wilson’s 33-116 finish in 1920 took honors.  Warren Harding followed that season up in 1922 with a 64-102 record.  Many scholars believe that those two seasons might have led to the Great Depression.

And rounding out our look back on United States Presidents, Chiefs players with ties to our past men in office include David Hayes in 1934 (Rutherford B. Hayes), John Wilson in 1935 and Gary Wilson in 1982 (Woodrow Wilson), Jim and John Kennedy from 1968-73 (John Kennedy), 10 players named Johnson from Henry in 1935 to Reed in 2003 (Lyndon Johnson), Arnold Carter 1943 and Shannon Carter in 1999 (Jimmy Carter) and Homer Bush in 2001 and David Bush in 2004 (George Bush Jr. and Sr.)

Looking for a trend in 2007, how about in the year before the next election the Chiefs are 618-545 .531 wpct dating back to Harry Truman.  Start printing the playoff tickets now!!!!!

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