COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The diamond in College Station was a place President George H.W. Bush visited often, but his last visit in 2016 when Yale played A&M was extra special.
“It’s got to be one of the top moments of my career here at Texas A&M,” Texas A&M baseball coach Rob Childress said.
“It was a big celebration,” Yale baseball senior captain Simon Whiteman said. “He threw out the ceremonial first pitch. I got to shake his hand. “
President Bush was known for being a fan of baseball. Much like life, the game has it’s highs and lows for coaches, players and even presidents.
“Really,” Childress said, “baseball just happens to be the vehicle we get in to try and groom these young people up. Grow them into fine young men that are going to be great husbands, great fathers, and great people in their communities. President Bush is such a shining example of that."
“The lessons that his life and his legacy have taught us about family,” Whiteman said, “and perseverance and athleticism, maintaining a love for sports in everything we do. That’s something that I hope to continue onward as I graduate Yale and go on in life.”
Simon Whiteman is a senior infielder for the Bulldogs, and just like President Bush, he is the team captain for the Bulldogs.
“To be in the same role as a man like George H.W. Bush is humbling,” Whiteman said. “It’s truly very special, but it’s also inspiring."
Whiteman said he met Bush two times. The second meeting was at the Bush estate in Kennebunkport, Maine. After talking to President Bush and his wife, Barbara, Whiteman has an idea of why the game of baseball was so important in the former president’s life.
“I think baseball is a thinking man’s game,” Whiteman said with a smile. “I think that’s something that he could probably have attested to. There’s just something about it. It’s something we can travel from state to state and have similar experiences with. Especially with his desire and love for America, I think that similar tie lines were drawn between baseball and his country.”