Featured artifact from “Play Ball: Presidents and Baseball:” Personalized “Big Stick” Adirondack baseball bat to David Eisenhower.
Featured at the Nixon Presidential Library’s “Play Ball: Presidents and Baseball” exhibit is a “Big Stick” Adirondack baseball bat from the 1970 All Star game personalized for David Eisenhower, President Nixon’s son-in-law. David was the one who suggested to President Nixon that he attend the Mid-summer Classic on July 14. The President decided to do so after making an appearance at a governor’s conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Graced with the President’s presence, Major League Baseball asked him to throw out the honorary first pitch.
President Nixon throws out the first pitch of the 1970 All Star game, July 14, 1970.
The American League All Stars entered the 1970 All Star game bent on ending the National League’s seven-year reign. With dominant pitching leading the way into the bottom of the ninth inning and at the helm of a 4-1 lead, it appeared that the American League would finally break their drought.
But the National League, known for their juggernaut offense, finally showed their guns. A lead-off home run from Dick Dietz off Catfish Hunter ignited the comeback inning. Singles by the next three batters followed by a Roberto Clemente sacrifice fly tied the game at 4-4 and sent the game into extra innings. Three innings later, in the bottom of the twelfth, Pete Rose singled and advanced to second on another single by Billy Grabarkewitz. Jim Hickman lined a single to center which was fielded by a charging Amos Otis, who fired a rocket to the plate for an intense play at the plate that pit Rose versus catcher Pete Fosse. Determined to score and with the President in the stands just yards away, he barreled down Fosse, who appeared visibly shaken by the collision, and scored the winning run. The National League won the Mid-Summer Classic for the eighth year in a row.
President Nixon stayed for the entire twelve innings, showing once again that America’s number one fan would never leave a baseball game until it was finished. It didn’t appear that the National League team was going to win this game, but as President Nixon said, you never know what could happen in baseball.
More snapshots from the game: