Results tagged ‘ Barack Obama ’

Special day rekindles fond memory

One of the coolest rewards for a team winning the World Series is a trip to the White House during the next season. Although other Presidents met with teams and players on a few occasions, Ronald Reagan made it pretty much an annual event during his two terms in office in the 1980s continuing through today with the Yankees set to meet Barack Obama.

It may seem old hat to the Yankees’ famed Core Four of Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada since they will be feted by their third President, joining Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The event has expanded quite a bit over the years with media coverage that is much more widespread these days.

I had a chance to experience such a visit in 1987 with the Mets the year after they won the World Series. It always reminds me of Arthur Richman, a baseball behind-the-scenes legend who died last year after 20 years as a special consultant to the Yankees as part of a 50-year connection with the game first as a reporter and then as a team official.

Arthur was the travel director of the Mets at the time and made the arrangements, which included inviting 10 writers to travel with the team on a charter flight to DC. Unlike today where reporters have to make a separate entrance through the press gate and view the ceremonies from afar, the writers back then were part of the traveling party and got an up-close view of the proceedings in the Rose Garden.

I never got to meet Reagan, but shortly after the ceremony while the players were milling around the President, Arthur came up to me and said, “Follow me. I want you to meet somebody.” We entered this side room and there was the senior George Bush, then the Vice President, with a small group of people around him.

Arthur had known him for years and was so friendly with him that when he brought me up to him he said, “Jackie, say hello to Bushie.”

Bush never flinched and held out his hand, so I was able to shake hands with a Vice President. Quite a memory, and one that flashes through today, a very special one for the Yankees.