Regular Birdhouse contributor Jerry Modene observed that on Monday, the new backup third baseman will officially become the first-ever St. Louis Cardinals player with that surname. I found that surprising, given the common nature of the name Washington and the scores and scores of Cardinals having worn the uniform over the years.
It seems quite amazing that the "Father of Our Country", our very first president, has never had a namesake don the famous birds on the bat uniform at the major league level in the regular season. Yet, it is true.
Jerry had picked off many of the more well-known Cardinals players with presidential last names in this post on our Message Board. That initial group included 18 players plus Rico, but Jerry was stymied in trying to find a first baseman for his "All-Presidential Team".
I decided to take the challenge. With the help of the Cardinals Media Guide and Lee Sinins invaluable "Complete Baseball Encyclopedia", I initiated a one-man search party for additional past Cardinals "presidents" to complete the roster.
There is an amazingly large number of players to choose from.
In fact, with sixteen new players in 2007 and eight more so far in 2008 (Matt Clement, Kyle Lohse, Kyle McClellan, Jason LaRue, Troy Glaus, Cesar Izturis and Brian Barton, along with Washington), exactly 1,821 men have been Cardinals since 1892. Only 2.3% of them share their family name with a US president.
With that, we offer you the 41 members of the St. Louis Cardinals All-Time Presidential Team.
|P||Babe Adams||1906||1G w/StL, 18 yrs with PIT|
|P||Joe "Wagon Tongue" Adams||1902||Early Gene Simmons?|
|P||Guy Bush||1938||Longtime Cubs starter|
|P||Reggie Cleveland||1969-73||Starter for bad teams|
|P||Mudcat Grant||1969||2-time All-Star passed thru|
|P||Al Jackson||1966-67||Won 13 in '66|
|P||Danny Jackson||1995-97||Went 2-12 in '95|
|Larry Jackson||1955-62||13-16 wins 6 straight years|
|P||Mike Jackson||1971||One G thriller|
|P||Jerry Johnson||1970||Very brief (11.1 IP) stop|
|P||Ken "Hook" Johnson||1947-50||Late '40s swingman|
|P||Si Johnson||1936-38||Long career, won 12 in '37|
|P||Tyler Johnson||2005-07||Current lefty specialist|
|P||Mike Lincoln||2004||Elbow problems|
|P||Chuck Taylor||1969-71||Won 16, saved 11 in 3 yrs|
|P||Ed Taylor||1903||Career=1G, 3IP, 0ER|
|P/OF||"Brewery Jack" Taylor||1898||Great nickname!|
|P/3B||Jack Taylor||1904-06||90 starts, 90 CGs!|
|P||Ron Taylor||1963-65||Started a few G early on|
|P||Zeke Wilson||1899||1-1 in 5 G to close career|
|C||Ed Harding||1886||1-for-3 in only game for StL|
|C||Terry Kennedy||1978-80||Dad was front office exec|
|C||Darrell Johnson||1960||Later managed, ex-Brownie|
|C/1B/2B||Jimmie "Ace" Wilson||1928-33||2-time All-Star catcher|
|1B/3B/OF||Bob Johnson||1969||Well-traveled; only 29 StL AB|
|1B/2B/3B/OF||Craig Wilson||1989-92||All Craigs are utilitymen|
|2B||Adam Kennedy||1999, 07-08||Current 2B drafted by team|
|2B/SS||Jim Kennedy||1970||Junior Kennedy's brother|
|SS||Hod Ford||1932||2 ABs at end of 15 yr career|
|SS/3B||Sparky Adams||1933||39 G near career end|
|SS/3B||Charlie "Swamp Baby" Wilson||1932-33, 35||Short 186 AB career|
|3B||Bull Johnson||1952-53||64 RBI as 3B regular in '51|
|3B||Rico Washington||2008||Newest member of the club|
|OF||Buster Adams||1939, 43, 45-46||Starting OF in '45|
|OF||Curt Ford||1985-88||OF reserve for 2 NL champs|
|OF||Alex Johnson||1966-67||Later starred with CIN|
|OF||Lance Johnson||1987||Later starred with CWS|
|OF/1B/3B||Carl Taylor||1970||45 RBI in 245 ABs|
|OF||Joe Taylor||1958||Only 23 ABs with StL|
|OF||Chief Wilson||1914-16||144 RBIs in last 3 seasons|
|OF||Preston Wilson||2006-07||Bad knee ended good career|
As noted above, it was a mighty struggle to find a first baseman and the outfield is surprisingly sparse. Your first baseman could be one of four players, yet in total, they amassed only 24 games at the position, led by outfielder Carl Taylor, who logged 15 games there in 1970.
Not surprisingly, almost all of the players, 38 to be exact, played after their initial namesake was in office. Two Cardinals preceded their presidents, Ed Harding in 1886 and Zeke Wilson in 1899. Only one, the appropriately-named Chief Wilson in 1914-16, played during his Chief Executive's term. (Alex Johnson in 1966-67 suited up during Lyndon Johnson's time in office, but Andrew Johnson trumped them both by 100 years.)
The breakdown by position:
In the Cardinals presidential leaderboard, we find current Cardinal Tyler Johnson and his namesakes in the lead with nine, followed by the Taylors with seven former Cardinals players.
With 41 presidential Cardinals, they are just one short of the number of actual presidents in US history – until this coming fall, that is. Of the 42 Chief Executives, George Washington has now joined 15 other presidents who share their last name with a Cardinal. Therefore, 26 other Commanders in Chief have missed out - so far. (Grover Cleveland served twice, non-consecutively.)
Here is the complete list:
|Presidents of the United States||Years||Cardinals|
|6||John Quincy Adams||1825-1829||4|
|8||Martin Van Buren||1837-1841||0|
|9||William Henry Harrison||1841||0|
|11||James Knox Polk||1845-1849||0|
|18||Ulysses Simpson Grant||1869-1877||1|
|19||Rutherford Birchard Hayes||1877-1881||0|
|20||James Abram Garfield||1881||0|
|21||Chester Alan Arthur||1881-1885||0|
|27||William Howard Taft||1909-1913||0|
|29||Warren Gamaliel Harding||1921-1923||1|
|31||Herbert Clark Hoover||1929-1933||0|
|32||Franklin Delano Roosevelt||1933-1945||0|
|33||Harry S. Truman||1945-1953||0|
|34||Dwight David Eisenhower||1953-1961||0|
|35||John Fitzgerald Kennedy||1961-1963||3|
|36||Lyndon Baines Johnson||1963-1969||9|
|37||Richard Milhous Nixon||1969-1974||0|
|38||Gerald Rudolph Ford||1974-1977||2|
|39||James Earl Carter Jr||1977-1981||0|
|40||Ronald Wilson Reagan||1981-1989||0|
|41||George Herbert Walker Bush||1989-1993||1|
|42||William Jefferson Clinton||1993-2001||0|
|43||George Walker Bush||2001-pres||1|
By the way, before you ask, no, the team has never featured an Obama, Clinton (already noted) or a McCain. There's always time, though!
On the other side of the coin, having been born in the Dominican Republic precludes Albert Pujols from trying to be the first man to make both lists, but who knows what could happen down the road? Perhaps he will become Missouri's answer to Arnold Schwarzenegger one day!
Jerry Modene inspired and directly contributed to this article.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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