A few days removed from Presidents Day, I decided it would be appropriate to take a look back at some of the most iconic sports moments in recent presidential terms.
Theodore Roosevelt (1901 to 1909): Joe Tinker and the fellas on the Chicago Cubs dominated the early 1900s, winning back-to-back World Series in 1907 and 1908. What Cubs fans didn’t know then was that the Cubs’ 1908 championship would be the last until 2016.
Warren G. Harding (1921 to 1923): President Harding’s two-year term (he died in office due to heart complications and pneumonia) was a really great stretch of baseball for New Yorkers. The New York Giants won their first title in 1921 and repeated as champions the following year. In 1923, the New York Yankees won their first World Series (they have 27 now).
Calvin Coolidge (1923 to 1929): In 1926, Gertrude “Queen of the Waves” Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel. It took Ederle 14 hours and 31 minutes to swim the 21 miles between Great Britain and the northwestern tip of France, not to mention on that particular stormy day the seas were especially choppy and wavy, and she beat all previous records by nearly two hours.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933 to 1945): While the end of FDR’s run as president was dominated primarily by World War II, it was also in 1938 when Joe Louis knocked out Max Schmeling in two minutes at Yankee Stadium. Louis knocked out the German Schmeling to snatch the belt of heavyweight champion.
Harry Truman (1945 to 1953): In 1947, Brooklyn Dodgers infielder Jackie Robinson became the first-ever African American to play Major League Baseball. Robinson shattered the MLB’s color barrier, which led to integration throughout the league. Robinson’s story stands out as a turning point in ending segregation in America. His No. 42 jersey is retired by all of Major League Baseball.
Dwight Eisenhower (1953 to 1961): With America up until this point being dominated by Major League Baseball, it was time for change. A new league was needed, and the National Basketball Association was formed. Three smaller professional basketball leagues merged to form the outline of the modern day NBA. In 1957, seven years after the NBA’s creation, the Boston Celtics began their dominating run as an NBA dynasty by winning nine straight Eastern Conference Championships.
Gerald Ford (1974 to 1977): Just months after Ford took office, the infamous “Rumble in the Jungle” took place. Then-underdog Muhammad Ali knocked out reigning world heavyweight champion George Foreman in what is considered one of the greatest boxing bouts of all time.
Bill Clinton (1993 to 2001): The late 1990s in sports are synonymous with one name: Michael Jordan. M.J. and the Chicago Bulls won three straight NBA Finals from 1991 to ‘93, before Jordan stepped away to pursue a career in baseball. Jordan returned to the Bulls in ‘95 and added another three straight Finals wins from ‘96 to ‘99, making him the greatest NBA player of all time.
George W. Bush (2001 to 2008): Tiger Woods brought a younger energy to the sport of golf and won 14 career majors up to this point. Michael Phelps began his run as the greatest Olympic swimmer ever and now holds an Olympic record 23 gold medals.
Barack Obama (2008-2016): Due mostly to recency bias, I honestly believe that President Obama was in office during the best stretch of sports ever. We saw LeBron James’ decision to leave Cleveland for the bluer waters of Miami. He won two championships down there. Obama was in office during the dominance of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady’s incredible career. We witnessed the collapse of the great New York Yankees and younger teams, like the Royals and the Cubs, took the spotlight.