"The premise," writes Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times, "divide up all MLB history by presidential administrations, find the ballplayer from that era who is most similar to the president, and explain the comparisons.... The downside is that it runs the risk of becoming political. The point of this is to be fun, not to get people caught up in some damn debate. Still, I want to get the guys who I think are good comps."
Jaffe runs the risk of "becoming political" with all the dexterity of Prince Fielder and does indeed start the sort of conversation that may just never end. His first comparison:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-45)/Ernie Lombardi
In 1921, when he was an up-and-coming politician still in his late 30s, FDR came down with polio. It cost him the ability to walk. Through arduous physical therapy, he made a modest improvement. He could walk short distances, and even give a speech standing, provided he either clung to the podium for dear life or had an assistant standing next to him.
In other words, it's even money who would win a foot race between these two.
That's terrible, but Lombardi was the slowest player in baseball history. People tell tales about how he'd be thrown out at first on balls hit to left field.
Both these men helped make history in 1940. FDR became the first man to win a third presidential term, and Lombardi is the only Hall of Famer from the Reds' first world championship.
Willard Hershberger, Lombardi's backup became the first (and still only) baseball player to commit suicide mid-season in that campaign. A few years later, FDR installed James Forrestal in his cabinet. While serving as Secretary of Defense under Truman, Forrestal became the first and only cabinet member to commit suicide.
I'll only point out that the best thing about the above comparison between Roosevelt and "The Schnozz" is that FDR dinna like no Italians so much, whom he referred to as a "bunch of opera singers."
To whom does Jaffe compare Clinton? George W. Bush? Gerald Ford? Find out here.
And this seems like a good time to remind readers of the great corporate welfare scam that is taxpayer-financed stadiums: