It's opening day at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas, as the 41st prez hosts the opening of a new traveling exhibit, "Born to Play Ball." The former president, long a baseball fan and dad to the current president (who once owned the Texas Rangers), will be surrounded by the great sports personalities like Tommy Lasorda, Joe Morgan, and Bob Costas when he cuts the ribbon on the exhibit. Bush, who played high school and college ball, said, "I am so excited that the museum has chosen baseball as the subject of our next exhibit. It is a game that helped teach me leadership, teamwork, and perseverance, which have served me well throughout my life. I hope visitors will take away a sense of the passion these men and women all share for this most American pastime."
At the core of the exhibit is a list of 50 great players, five at every position, including groups for right- and left-handed pitchers, with honorable mentions at every spot. Highlights of the exhibit: a love letter from Marilyn Monroe to Joe DiMaggio and a baseball bat that Ted Williams broke in half in anger after Satchel Paige struck him out. (It was salvaged and Paige signed it.) What's more, a special set of presidential baseball cards for the Bush Museum store was printed, including cards featuring Bill Clinton tossing out the first pitch at an Orioles game and the current president as a little-leaguer. If you can't see it in Texas, the exhibit's next stop will be in Grand Rapids, Mich., at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.
By Paul Bedard