The Washington Post

Taft great-grandson poses with Racing Taft

Images courtesy of the office of John G. Taft.


Can’t say I ever imagined the return of baseball to D.C. would eventually usher in an era in which local sportswriters would pen multiple items on the descendants of William Howard Taft — including one featuring both Screech and a video board screaming about Natitude. But that’s why we love sports, right? Because you never can guess what will happen next. The ultimate reality show, etc etc.

Like, one day the Caps are out of the playoffs; the next day they’re leading the division. One year the Redskins are a national joke; the next year they’re a franchise to be feared. One moment you’re at RFK Stadium for “Washington Post Live,” writing about how Felipe Lopez wants a John Deere hat from Austin Kearns, and then you wake up six years later and there’s a giant 8-foot-tall mustachioed likeness of William Howard Taft, shaking hands with the actual great-grandson of Taft in front of 26,000 crazed Nats Fans by the Navy Yard while Screech screeches his approval. Plus, “Washington Post Live” has been canceled.

Anyhow, I’ve previously written about John G. Taft, great-grandson of the 27th president, and his ample enthusiasm for the Nats’ newest racing president. Here he was at Wednesday’s game, calling out for the gentlemen to Play Ball while accompanied by the mascotted representation of his famous relative.

And as long as we’re doing this again, might as well drudge up another Taft baseball story. How about this one, from The Post’s editions of June 22, 1908, when Taft was running for the White House.

“Several congratulatory telegrams have been received from important baseball people who are aware of his interest in the national game,” The Post reported. “One of them was from Chance, manager of the Chicago Cubs. The Secretary is acquainted with him personally.

” ‘I wish,’ said Secretary Taft, ‘that I could see a rattling good game of ball. I have not had time to attend a game for a long while. I want it to be a good one, however — a game for blood.’

“‘Oh, I’ll show you some fine baseball,'” said his brother, Charles P. Taft, ‘when you come to Cincinnati later in the summer.’

“‘You see,’ remarked the Secretary, laughingly, ‘Charley is not only a baseball fan, but also a magnate, therefore I stand a chance of seeing some pretty good playing.'”

Cool story, unnamed Post writer from 1908.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.



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Sarah Kogod · April 5, 2013

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