Levine: The best of FDR’s baseball correspondence

From SABR member Zachary Levine at Baseball Prospectus on January 22, 2013:

Just when you begin to lose faith—when you’ve waited in enough interminable lines for a driver’s license renewal or when you’ve watched Congress operate for about four seconds—you’re reminded that your tax dollars come with some good stuff, too. Like pretty much unlimited access to U.S. Presidents’ personal and official files.

January is a quiet time of year at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, as it is at most upstate New York tourist attractions. Not only did that mean a solo tour of the 98-year-old house, but it also meant relatively solo access to the research room in the visitors’ center. So it was an optimal time for sifting through FDR’s old junk, and let’s just say old 32 was a bit of a hoarder.

The collection has thousands of documents sorted by topic and by year, and a friendly docent would be happy to bring any of them to you. And all of his correspondence was saved, so naturally, the president who was in office for more World Series than any other (12, seven won by his hometown Yankees and Giants) would have a lot of baseball-related documents.

As with any hoarder, the stuff was mostly crap. It was a lot of requests for signed baseballs, presidential appearances at baseball events, and youth team equipment donations. But amid the banality were some real treasures.

Please enjoy the baseball highlights of FDR’s personal and official files, completely available to be viewed by anyone. I’ve split them into five sections, starting with his most important—the decision to keep baseball going during World War II, highlighted by the “Green Light Letter” to Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19438

Originally published: January 22, 2013. Last Updated: January 22, 2013.