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President Eisenhower Writes to His Idol

Long before there were shortstops named A-Rod, Jeter, Nomar, Ripken and Banks, there was Honus Wagner, who started for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1897 to 1917 and was one of the five original inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame (along with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, and the commander of the D-Day forces that eventually liberated Europe and won World War II, grew up idolizing Wagner. President Eisenhower once said:

"When I was a small boy in Kansas, a friend of mine and I went fishing, and as we sat there in the warmth of a summer afternoon on a riverbank, we talked about what we wanted to do when we grew up. I told him that I wanted to be a real Major League ballplayer, a real professional like Honus Wagner. My friend said he’d like to be president of the United States. Neither of us got our wish."

When the great Wagner turned 80 years old, President Eisenhower sent this letter to him.