"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again."
Baseball is the American game. I'd like to have a brief history lesson, and field a baseball team from those who have lead this great nation. Presidents, come on out to the ball park!
1. George Washington, LF
First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen, and batting first for your Presidents... seriously, who else could take the first at-bat of any game? Leadoff man sets the tone for the rest of that inning, and you know that you're in good hands with Georgie at the plate. Long and lean (over 6 feet tall), he shows good discipline (he toughed out Valley Forge, I think he'll wait on that outside fastball on 3 and 1) and can drive the ball when he needs to. He doesn't steal as much as the prototypical leadoff man (after all, he cannot tell a lie), but his OBP is strong enough to make up for it.
2. Andrew Jackson, CF
It's no secret that I'm a big Jackson fan, but I don't think I'm reaching here with him at in the two-hole. Old Hickory shows a little pop at the plate -- it's no secret that he just kills the Indians and the Braves when he faces them, and they've come to fear his stick -- but he's not much of a power hitter (only 145 pounds!) It's hard to pitch around him in this lineup, but those are two teams that are almost forced to. He also plays some great defense in center; no one wants to run on that arm.
3. William Howard Taft, DH
An imposing presence at the plate, Taft is listed at 320 pounds, but goes closer to 350 during the season. Richard Armour wrote of him, "[He] is as big as two ordinary men, and fortunately named both William and Howard." The president who invented throwing out the first pitch will be knocking them senseless from the dish. He's soft on defense (actually, he's just soft), but luckily gets to DH; the Presidents just accept his lack of mobility on the basepath, but his at-bats are limited because he requires a pinch runner from the 6th inning on, lest he have a heart attack on the field.
4. Theodore Roosevelt, C
Speak softly and make the obvious jokes. Make no mistake: Teddy can hit. A former Mariner, Roosevelt is built in the Ryan Howard/Adam Dunn mold. Dingers and strikeouts will come often. Despite being known as a prodigious athlete, he's actually blind in one eye, so don't expect a lot of walks with him. It's his left eye, so he can still see the runner leading off first; some men forget this and get caught stealing on him. Teddy and Taft form quite a logjam on the basepath. Taft is morbidly obese and Teddy has not won a Presidential footrace yet, and had to resort to desperate measures this season just to stay competitive.
5. George H. W. Bush, 1B
Um, this one's real. He was the captain of the Yale baseball team. Left-handed first-basemen. He also met Babe Ruth.
6. Abraham Lincoln, RF
The Log Cabin Boy is known to have been "skilled with an ax" and is somewhat of a doubles machine. Frozen ropes to the gap are his specialty, and can place the ball behind the runner with great consistency. He was a journeyman throughout his career in the minors, but once he got the call, he stayed in the bigs for good. He might be too tall for his own good; he's all knees and elbows. He runs like a gazelle but it takes him quite a long time to accelerate. Despite taking a stance far off the plate (his long arms get to outside pitches), he's the only president in the lineup to wear a batting helmet. C'mon, Abe, no one's going to hit you in the head.
7. Zachary Taylor, 3B
Most of you have never heard of this guy, but believe me when I say that he won't remain unnoticed by the league for long. When he gets hot at the plate, he gets HOT! He's got a cannon of an arm, and plays incredible defense. He hits with enough consistency to warrant batting 6th, but in a stronger lineup he'd likely move further down.
8. Thomas Jefferson, 2B
The offense starts to get a little shaky down here. Jefferson isn't more than a utility infielder on most teams, but considering the lack of true athletes on the Presidents, he gets the nod. Just like the real life Washington baseball team, the middle infield is weak. He's a bit too tall to naturally play second base, and he's a bit too slow to make his offense worthwhile.
9. John F. Kennedy, SS
You know how people like to say Derek Jeter is overrated, that he's slow turning a double play and has limited range, but every once in a while makes an impossible play that makes you think he's the best there ever was? Well JFK at shortstop is a little like that, except without any of the offense. He hates the Reds. I think it's because they have his number (he's batting .100 against them, lifetime).
Starting Pitcher: Bill Clinton
They don't call him Slick Willie for nothing. While many suspect him of foul play with the ball, and he's been caught red handed with foreign substances more than a couple times, he's managed to escape any real consequences for his actions. Even when he's not doctoring the ball, he seems untouchable, and has incredible control. When he starts to throw the dirty pitches, though, not even his catcher knows where it's going. Incredible.