Jill Biden supports the Phillies in the World Series. She is part of a long history of first ladies who loved America’s national pastime.

Democrats are making their final push to retain control of the House and Senate, and hope to see first lady Jill Biden join them on the campaign trail. But on Friday night, the only pitch she’ll likely watch will be in Houston, where her beloved Phillies face the Astros in Game 1 of the World Series.

“The First Lady will be watching the World Series closely and cheering on her hometown team, the Phillies,” her office told CBS News.

According to Colleen Shogan, senior vice president and director of the David M. Rubenstein Center at the White House Historical Association. Nancy Reagan also threw a first pitch in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, and six and a half months later Barbara Bush threw the first pitch for the Texas Rangers.

Jill Biden isn’t the first lady’s first baseball fan either. Shogan shared a few more examples from White House history:

Grace Coolidge

President William Taft and his wife, Helen, may have been the first couple to attend a baseball game, but President Calvin Coolidge and his wife Grace were certainly the first couple’s devoted fans. And it was Grace Coolidge who was the biggest fan.

“The first lady who was historically the biggest baseball fan was Grace Coolidge,” Shogan said. “She came to the White House as a baseball fan, but she was really an even bigger baseball fan because the Washington Senators at the time were in the World Series in 1924 and she went to a lot of Senators games with the president, Calvin Coolidge. But she was admittedly the biggest baseball fan, bigger than the president. She scored the runs during the game.

Former President Calvin Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge at a baseball game in 1924.

Library of Congress

There was a famous incident, Shogan said, where President Calvin Coolidge wanted to leave one of the World Series games to go back to the White House and Grace Coolidge “pulled his stockings down and told him to get out of there.” sit back and wait for the game to be over,” Shogan said.

When the Senators won the World Series in 1924, Coolidge “jumped and celebrated,” Shogan said.

After Coolidge left office in 1929, they moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, where Grace Coolidge later adopted the Boston Red Sox as her home team and traveled frequently to watch them play.

“She was just known around the stadium – Fenway Park – as one of the most dedicated fans,” Shogan said.

Besse Truman

President Harry Truman’s wife, Bess Truman, was also an avid baseball fan. She had a reputation for being primitive, but had been an athlete as a young woman. She even played baseball with her brothers growing up, which was “a bit unusual in those days,” Shogan said.

Harry and Bess Truman attended Washington Senators games together, but he was often busy and couldn’t go, so Bess Truman sometimes brought their daughter, Margaret, with her.

“Even President Truman admitted that Bess Truman was the biggest baseball fan, was a bigger baseball fan than he was,” Shogan said.

After Truman left office and the couple moved back to Missouri, she adopted the Kansas City Royals. Even in her later years, after Truman’s death, Bess Truman still listened to Kansas City Royals games on the radio and watched them on television.

Barbara Bush

George HW Bush and Barbara Bush moved to West Texas in 1948 and later to the Houston area, and she adopted Texas baseball teams.

Although she was a die-hard Houston Astros fan, she also rooted for the Texas Rangers when her son, future president George W. Bush, was the team’s president. She threw a first pitch for the Rangers in 1989, shortly after her husband took over.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush throws out the first pitch before Game 4 of the National League Championship Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros in the 2004 Major League Baseball Playoffs at Minute Maid Park , on October 17, 2004 in Houston, Texas.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Barbara Bush loved the score – the mark of a true fan. George W. Bush wrote in his book, “Barbara Bush: Matriarch of a Dynasty,” that “few people know how to score a baseball game,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Bush said he had “vivid memories of seeing her sitting at our games, keeping score.”

“She kept a detailed scorecard for every game they attended,” former Astros owner Drayton McLane told the Houston Chronicle after his death in 2018. she was asking me, ‘How do you score this?’ and I had to say “Barbara, I don’t know”, and ask one of our baseball employees to help her. She must have had hundreds of scorecards, all meticulously filled out. She said if you had to do something, you should do it well.'”

Scoring runs in baseball involves keeping track of every play in the game, including every pitch, at-bat, hit, run and out – and judging whether runs are the result of hits or errors, for example ..

The Bushes remained avid baseball fans long after leaving the White House in 1993, and in 2017 George HW Bush threw out a ceremonial first pitch before Game 5 of the World Series.

After she and her husband died in 2018, the Astros honored them both on Opening Day 2019, with the Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Wing performing a flyover, according to the Houston Chronicle. . Their grandson, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, threw the ceremonial first pitch.

michelle obama

Michelle Obama grew up in Chicago’s South End, and before moving to the White House, the Obama family lived in the South Kenwood neighborhood. Former President Barack Obama has made no secret of his loyalty to the South Side team, the Chicago White Sox, but Michelle Obama never spoke about his loyalty until 2012.

At a Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day event in 2012, Michelle Obama was asked how tall a White Sox fan was and she had a surprising answer, according to CBS Chicago.

“I grew up as a Cubs fan,” she said. “We are a mixed marriage.”

She said she supports all Chicago teams, although she has a special place in her heart for the Cubs.

“People are always like, ‘Why are you a Cubs fan?’ because we live on the South Side,” she said, according to CBS Chicago. “But I tell them my dad was a Cubs fan since I was a kid.”

When the Cubs won the World Series in 2016, President Obama honored the Cubs at the White House. He said Michelle Obama was a “lifetime Cubs fan,” according to NBC.

“I’ll tell you…in the eight years I’ve been here, we’ve hosted at least 50 teams. Football, baseball, basketball, soccer, etc.,” Obama said. “Michelle has never come to a single event celebrating a champion until today. She came to shake hands and met each of these members of the Cubs organization and told a story about what it meant. for her to be able to see them win. She remembers coming home from school, and her dad was watching a Cubs game, and the bond and the family, the meaning the Cubs had for her in terms of connecting with her father and why it meant so much to her.”

Michelle Obama has also partnered with Major League Baseball as part of the Let’s Move initiative, launching the first pitch to the Baltimore Orioles game in 2010 as part of this program to encourage children to exercise. She also recorded PSAs with several MLB players.

Michelle Obama shakes hands with Tampa Bay Rays baseball players
First Lady Michelle Obama shakes hands with members of the Tampa Bay Rays before the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards July 20, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Jill Biden

The Phillies are known for having a devoted fanbase, but President Joe Biden has called his wife the “most rabid Phillies fan”.

“This team plays with such heart – so proud to be a @Phillies fan today, and every day”, she tweeted when they clinched their place in the 2022 World Series

Jill Biden, from a Philadelphia suburb, said watching games with her dad was some of her favorite childhood memories.

“I was a little girl,” she told ABC News in 2009, recalling watching games on the black-and-white Philco family television. “It was a great father-daughter memory for me.”

In the final days of the 2008 campaign, when Mr. Biden was the running mate, Jill Biden and her granddaughter Maisy were at the World Series game when the Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jill and Joe Biden in a 2011 Philadelphia Phillies playoff game
Then-Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill watch as the Philadelphia Phillies host the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 7, 2011 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania.

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

“I have to tell you, my wife, I’m on the campaign trail, she’s like, ‘Joe, I’m going to the show,'” Senator Joe Biden said of his wife’s decision to go home and watch his crew. .

Jill Biden called it “exciting” to be there when the Phillies won, and she later said it was “one of the ‘best nights’ of the campaign.

She continued to attend Phillies games throughout Mr. Biden’s tenure as vice president and in the years that followed. She was even photographed kissing the Phillie Phanatic, the team’s furry green mascot.

Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillie Phanatic embraces first lady Jill Biden prior to the game between the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on September 9, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Getty Images

At a campaign event last week, Mr Biden said ‘even though I didn’t like Philadelphia – I’d be sleeping alone if I didn’t’ for Philadelphia teams.


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