14 Athletes With Perfect Election-Ready Political Names
Forget the old adage — politics and sports make for strange bedfellows. They’re two subjects where running — for office, around the bases, up the middle, a fast break — is integral to accomplishing your goal. Heck, you can’t even spell “ballot” without “ball.”
A baseball season is traditionally known as a campaign, which is what any candidate hoping to hold public office must go through, while a debate is when candidates engage in the issues and what guys on barroom stools do when discussing who’s the best quarterback of all-time.
And lest you think Donald Trump once owning the New Jersey Generals is the ultimate intersection of politics and sports, just remember that a dark horse candidate can emerge in a campaign, be it political or Heisman.
In election season, there’s Super Tuesday, not to be confused with the zenith of football season, the Super Bowl. Candidates run on a ticket, which is what you need to get into any stadium. Conference affiliation is a huge issue in college sports, but, like in many elections, an independent can wreak havoc (we’re looking at you, Notre Dame).
Names certainly have a political influence in sports, too. There’s (Fili)-Buster Posey or (Hanging) Chad Ochocinco and the Kansas City (Commander in) Chiefs. George Washington was our first president, while the school named in his honor is now a proud member of the Atlantic 10 (not to mention the name of an obscure 1930s baseball player).
The Ottawa Senators have yet to rule over the NHL by hoisting the Stanley Cup, the Austin Peay Governors represent their constituents among the student body, Fred Hoiberg – aka the Mayor – oversees the Chicago Bulls as coach and Dennis Martinez, better known as El Presidente, proved term limits did not exist while he confounded batters over a 23-year tenure on the mound. And Stump Merrill probably had to stump on his own behalf to get the job as New York Yankees manager in the early ’90s.
Polls or pole vaults. Red state or red zone. Right wing or left wing. The Big House or House of Representatives. Gerrymandering or Jerry Rice. Swing voter or swing for the fences.
Ballot box score. Vide Blue state. Electoral college football playoff. File a motion offense. Washington Capital-ism.
Yes, the similarities go deeper than a Mike Trout home run. Whether on the campaign battlefield or the football field, we’re reminded of late Raiders owner Al Davis, whose famous credo could serve as any campaign slogan: Just Win, Baby.
Here are the people in the world of sports, from past and present, who have names that apply to the world of elections, voting, politics and government.