Pinstripe Alley, a blog providing news coverage of the New York Yankees, recently published an article highlighting Richard Nixon’s connection with MLB stars and the role they played in his re-election campaign in 1972.
In the summer of ‘72 a reporter questioned the President about his favorite MLB players. Despite being an Orange County native, Nixon named New York Yankee legends Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle, who was an avid outspoken Nixon supporter, among his favorites.
In October of ‘72 the Nixon campaign received word from former MLB stars Bobby Thomson, who wanted to endorse Nixon. Thomson had cemented his name in baseball lore when he hit the famed “Shot Heard ‘Round the World'' to win the National League Pennant and send the New York Giants to the World Series in 1951. At the same time former MLB pitcher Ralph Branca also told the White House of his intention to endorse the President. Incidentally, Branca was pitching for the Brooklyn Dodgers when Thomson hit the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”
While these endorsement offers may have seemed silly to some, the White House fully embraced them. An internal Nixon administration memo expressed excitement about the endorsements of Thomson and Branca. It also made note of the public support of Yankees legend Babe Ruth’s widow Claire. The memo even recommended that the campaign reach out to the widow of Yankees legend Lou Gehrig; though no contact was made.
While these events likely played little to no role in Nixon’s landslide victory in the 1972 campaign, they remain interesting nonetheless.