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George W. Bush Is First Former Little Leaguer To Become U.S. President

Click here to see Mr. Bush's 1955 LL Roster

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Williamsport, PA - George W. Bush is the second son of a president to win election to the highest office in the land, but he's the first Little League graduate.

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 a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, President Bush cited Little League as providing his fondest childhood memory.

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:

President Bush as a Little Leaguer in the Spring of 1954.
Photo courtesy George Bush Presidential Library

"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 recent letter to Little League, 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."

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 a recent interview with Little League Baseball: "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."

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, 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," Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball, said. "The leadership and teamwork skills he began to learn as a child in Little League have apparently served him well. We wish him, his family, and his administration the very best."

For more information contact: 
Lance Van Auken, Director of Media Relations and Communications
Little League Baseball International Headquarters 
Media E-mail: media@littleleague.org
WEB Site: http://www.littleleague.org