September 25, 1979
Ever wonder why politicians never show up in person at sports celebrations?
They don’t want a picture like this to hit the wires — like this one from the Associated Press — so they phone it in. I would have included the caption with the photographer’s name but a copy editor tore it off to write the newspaper caption while the composing room made a halftone from the image.
Richard M. Nixon, the only president to resign in disgrace, was an avid sports fan.
When the Angels ended their long championship drought Nixon came to the clubhouse to join the celebration.
It is not as odd as it first appears.
He grew up about ten miles north east of the Anaheim stadium of the Angels. (Now called the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga.) In 1979, ex-President Nixon then lived a few miles to the southwest at San Clemente.
Both Nixon and the Angels spent a long time in the wilderness during the 1960s when the politician had failed runs at the presidency and senate seat and the baseball team was bad.
Both had been ridiculed for failure. Nixon always saw himself as an underdog so it would be unlikely he would pick the region’s dominant team, the Dodgers, to follow.
Some players were surprised to find out the former president was a real fan, had season tickets and knew the player’s faces even when they were out of uniform.