Baseball players and politicians

By Laurie Bennett

July 19, 2017 at 2:45pm

Watching the clip of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie catch a foul ball at a Mets game Tuesday got us to thinking about politics and baseball.

While it’s unlikely that any pro teams will be recruiting the governor, there have been a few players who wound up in elected office.

Jim Bunning, who died this year at age 85, played for the Tigers, Phillies, Pirates and Dodgers before being elected to the House and then the Senate. He pitched a perfect game in 1964 and is still the only Baseball Hall of Fame player to have served in Congress.

Wilmer Mizell, nicknamed “Vinegar Bend,” pitched for the Cardinals, Pirates and Mets before serving three terms in the House. He later was an assistant secretary of Agriculture during the Reagan administration and deputy assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs under George H.W. Bush.

H.W. wasn’t a bad player himself, captaining Yale’s team. George W. didn’t have his father’s athletic prowess. He played at Yale, and was briefly co-owner of the Texas Rangers, a deal that paid off quite well.

Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who died in 2015, played one season for the Brunswick Pirates, a farm team for Pittsburgh. His baseball career ended when he was beaned by a fastball.

Former Rep. Connie Mack IV, who is now a lobbyist, is the great-grandson of the first Connie, who was a catcher, manager and owner.

And then, of course, there is the tradition of having politicians deliver the ceremonial first pitch on opening day.

One of the worst and wildest ever was thrown by former Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory. For your viewing pleasure:

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