Sunday, July 08, 2007

July 8, 1957:

Grace Coolidge Dies

Grace Coolidge, nee Goodhue, died 50 years ago today, unless reports that she died a little before midnight on July 7, the anniversary of one of her son's death, are correct. She married future president Calvin Coolidge in 1905 and survived him by nearly a quarter-century.

She among the most enthusiastic baseball fans ever to live in the White House, according to baseball writer David Pietrusza. "...during the Roaring Twenties, the First Lady could be regularly seen at Washington's Griffith Stadium, often chatting with Senators players (the Coolidges attended the wedding of Senators 'Boy Wonder' manager Bucky Harris in October, 1926 -- of course, Harris had married the daughter of an administration official, Alien Property Custodian Howard Sutherland) and keeping hubby Calvin from bolting the park after perfunctorily performing his duties as ceremonial first-ball tosser," writes Pietrusza in "Grace Coolidge, First Lady of Baseball."

" 'She used to come to games,' Harris recalled, 'and sit right by the Senators' dugout. She came to the games with Cal and stayed there when the President would leave early. and then she'd come to other games alone.

" 'All the Washington players knew her and spoke to her. she was the most rabid fan I ever knew in the White House.'

"During the first game of the 1924 World Series which featured the local Senators versus John McGraw's New York Giants, the president, never one to idle time on entertainments, suddenly stood up to leave. Washington had never been in a World Series before. The immortal Walter Johnson was on the mound. It was the ninth inning, the score knotted at 2-2. Grace Coolidge sputtered, 'Where do you think you're going? You sit down,' as she grabbed his coat tails.

"The chief executive sat right back down."

Also, Nelson A. Rockefeller, 41st Vice President of the United States, would have been 99 today. He never realized his dream of capturing the presidency, and never in fact was nominated for that position or the vice presidency by the Republican Party. He remains only one of two people appointed the job under rules specified by the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Curiously, Nelson A. shared a birthday with his grandfather, patriarch John D. Rockefeller Sr., born July 8, 1839. The elder Rockefeller lived to be nearly 98, and presumably didn't die in the company of a young mistress.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nelson Rockefeller is said to have said "I never wanted to be vice-president of anything." Hubris sometimes is appropriately rewarded. ANK