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Little League Graduate George W. Bush Begins Second Term as U.S. President

President Bush addresses the crowd during the 2001 Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa., after he is enshrined in the Hall of Excellence of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum.

Note: Click here to see one of George W. Bush’s Little League rosters from Central Little League in Midland, Texas

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Jan. 20, 2005) – Little League International congratulates George W. Bush, the first Little League graduate to attain the highest office in the land, as he is sworn in today for his second term as the 43rd President of the United States.

As a youth, President Bush played in the Midland (Texas) Central Little League for several years in the 1950s. His mother and father, George and Barbara Bush, were volunteers in the league at the time. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey before the 2000 election, President Bush cited Little League as providing his fondest childhood memory.

In 2001, President Bush was enshrined in the Hall of Excellence of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum. Enshrinement in the Hall of Excellence is for Little League graduates who have gone on to become role models as adults. Details about President Bush’s enshrinement can be found here: http://www.littleleague.org/media/archive/bushstory.htm

President Bush was apparently a skilled player in his youth, according to an excerpt from a letter written by his father, George Bush, in 1955:

"Georgie aggravates me at times," the elder Mr. Bush wrote to his father-in-law. "I am sure that I do the same to him. But then at times I am so proud of him I could die. He is out for Little League, so eager. He tries so very hard. He has good fast hands and even seems to be able to hit a little."

In a letter to Little League International, the former president said: "Little League has, indeed, been a big part of (George W.'s) life. ... To say we are proud of George W. is the classic understatement of the year. He has a huge job ahead of him, but he will do his best and I think the country will give him a chance."

Future U.S. President George W. Bush poses in his Little League uniform in 1955. (Photo courtesy of the George Bush Presidential Library)

Frank Ittner, who was President Bush's coach on the Cubs at Midland Central Little League from 1955 until 1958, spoke about young George W. Bush in an interview with Little League in the fall of 2000. "He was a good catcher, and you could always rely on him to be there for every game and every practice. He was very dependable."

During each year of his first term as president, Mr. Bush has invited Little League Tee Ball teams to play games on the grounds of the White House. Eleven “Tee Ball on the South Lawn” games have been played, with the president attending each game. (More information on the Tee Ball on the South Lawn program can be found here.)

Other prominent government officials who played Little League as children include: former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, former Vice President Dan Quayle, Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman; and Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne. About 30 million people have played Little League since its inception in 1939.

"We're proud that President Bush is a former Little Leaguer and the first to be elected to our nation's highest office," said Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball. "The leadership and teamwork skills he began to learn as a child in Little League have served him well. We wish him, his family, and his administration the very best during his second term."

President Bush places a ball on the tee before a Tee Ball on the South Lawn game at the White House. President and Mrs. Bush have invited Little League teams to the White House grounds for Tee Ball games in each of the past four years.


Items from the first game in President Bush’s Tee Ball on the South Lawn program, played on May 6, 2001, are on display in the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History.