Please read this...Mr. Lincoln: Cubs fan? Or, Cardinals fan?
So, I'm trying to figure out how to make a connection between the utterly bizarre political campaign season which has been torturing us (and is about to come to a merciful conclusion) and the utterly bizarre baseball season (which, also, is about to come to a merciful conclusion).
Thanks to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, aka IHPA, I was, indeed, able to make a connection between playing ball and playing politics.
On October 20, we received an email from the IHPA. The email was a news release which anounced an opportunity for children "across the country....to use their imaginations and artistic skills to celebrate two American institutions – Abraham Lincoln and baseball – in an art contest by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum," which is in Springfield.
IHPA explained in the news release that the art contest "connects to a baseball-themed exhibit the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will host next year."
"Lincoln and the Civil War have numerous ties to baseball, or 'base ball,' as it was still called back then. One amateur team played at a park near the White House, and Lincoln is said to have watched some games, taking Tad at least once." Tad was his son.
"The war helped make baseball a national game by introducing it to soldiers who later took it back to their hometowns. An early editorial cartoon portrayed Lincoln playing baseball with a bat labeled 'equal rights and free territory'," IHPA shared.
An item penned by a gentleman named Dayn Perry which your intrepid journalist uncovered on the cbs sports.com website explained that the political cartoon which accompanies this week's colyum was "tied to the 1860 presidential election, which Lincoln of course won. From left to right you've got renderings of John Bell, Stephen A. Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and Lincoln himself. There's also a 19th-century cat-rat. Or a chinchilla-squirrel. One or the other.
"Anyhow, all four cartoon candidates are, as you can see, holding bats, and Lincoln is brandishing the baseball itself. Lincoln above says, 'Gentlemen, if any of you should ever take a hand in another match at this game, remember that you must have 'a good bat' and strike a 'fair ball' and make a 'clean score' of a 'home run'." Since the item was found on the internet, it must be true.
The Lincoln cartoon and baseball brought back a memory of a brief conversation yours truly had with author Doris Kearns Goodwin when she paid a visit to Southern Illinois University Carbondale a couple of years ago. Kearns Goodwin wrote a wonderful book titled "Team of Rivals," which chronicled President Abraham Lincoln's masterful political maneuverings during the Civil War years.
During a gathering with area media representatives, yours truly asked Kearns Goodwin if she thought Lincoln would have liked baseball. She suggested that Mr. Lincoln would have indeed liked the game.
And, given that he was from Springfield, Mr. Lincoln might have been a Cubs fan. Or, maybe, a Cardinals fan. Trouble is, neither team was around at the time.
That brings us to the 2016 baseball season. For the past couple of days, I've been putting on an extra pair of sox, just to keep my feet warm.
You see, a certain team from Chicago, has (and this is still very, very, very hard for a Cardinals fan to write) made it to the World Series. Such an occurrence has led to rather cold conditions underfoot, since it now appears likely that Hades is about to freeze. Just in time for the hockey season, I suppose.
Actually, I'm glad for all of you Cubs fans. Maybe now you can forget about goats and curses and Bartman. With that in mind, let me share a couple of thoughts, one from Mr. Lincoln, and the other from one of his contemporaries, a certain Mr. Mark Twain (both quotes were found on the internet, so, again, they must be true):
"That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well." Abraham Lincoln
“They did not know it was impossible so they did it." Mark Twain