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.