Skip to content

Nationals introduce newest racing mascot, William Howard Taft (who’s lost a ton of weight)

Jan 28, 2013, 10:04 AM EDT

Comments Off
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, William Howard Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln AP

As we mentioned over the weekend, the Washington Nationals added a fifth racing president recently, and introduced him to the world on Saturday at NatsFest at the Washington Convention Center. Yep, William Howard Taft will join Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Lincoln this coming season for the fourth-inning shenanigans at Nationals Park.

While Taft is the only U.S. President to have gotten stuck in a bathtub (he was up to 355 pounds on the eve of the 1912 election), what is usually forgotten is that he was once the intramural heavyweight wrestling champion at Yale, and after his presidency lost nearly 100 pounds. His inclusion in the Nationals Presidents Race also gives us the first natural presidential rivalry: Teddy Roosevelt and Taft had one of the 20th century’s most notorious political feuds.

Well, suddenly I have an overwhelming urge to play Monopoly. Weird.

Personally I think this is bad storytelling. The previous four racing presidents are all on Mt. Rushmore, so Taft seems to be an interloper. What is needed here is an antagonist, so instead of Taft they should have used someone with a real ax to grind, like three-time presidential loser William Jennings Bryan.