By Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – firstname.lastname@example.org
KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine – The 2017 Yale baseball team won two games in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 69 years. That 1948 Bulldog squad had a captain named George H.W. Bush, whose wife, Barbara, was the team’s primary score keeper.
He went on to become the 41st President of the United States. Bush and the former first lady invited the current Yale team to its Oceanside compound on Thursday to celebrate this year’s accomplishments, which included an Ivy League Championship, a school-record 34 wins and the NCAA Tournament success.
“What a wonderful honor to visit President Bush at his home in Maine,” said head coach John Stuper, the 2017 Ivy League Coach of the Year. “I can think of no better way to send the seniors off and cap off a memorable season. The Yale Baseball Family was incredibly grateful for this opportunity.”
The team met with the former president and first lady and got a tour of the compound, including the primary living room, the place where so many world leaders had visited during and after his years at the White House. The Bush Family has had the multiple-home compound since 1902.
“Anytime you are invited to meet a president it is an extreme honor. The visit today was very special given President Bush’s history with Yale Baseball and the historic season that we recently completed,” said 2018 captain Tom Ruddy. “Today is not a day that any of our teammates will soon forget.”
The current Bulldogs presented the president with a shirt from the NCAA Corvallis Regional and some printed images of him with the 2016 Yale team at Texas A&M, the school that houses the Bush Library. Bush gave each member of the Yale travel party a pin with the presidential seal.
“Knowing that someone, with the amazing history that he has, still remembers and gives back to the Yale community is special. We are very lucky to have connected with him twice in the past two years,” said Kumar Nambiar, a junior pitcher from Mamaroneck, N.Y.
The president, who was wearing an Under Armour Yale Jacket, shared some memories of his days at Yale Field and the experience in the 1947 and 1948 College World Series in Kalamazoo, Mich. Stuper provided some anecdotal material about the 2017 experience, relating it to the teams of the late 1940s.
The Elis, who include a few amateur vocalists, sang happy birthday to Mrs. Bush, who was celebrating her 92nd yesterday. She shared some stories about her husband as a young athlete while showing off her famous wit and keen memory.
“It was an unforgettable experience and honor to be invited to his home. He is a man that has truly done it all and has done so with the utmost humility and grace,” said 2017 captain Richard Slenker. “He is an example for us all to serve those around us. We will all remember this day for the rest of our lives.”