In the process of finding material for my article examining why Barry Bonds was intentionally walked so often in the 2006 and 2007 Major League Baseball seasons, I inadvertently came across an intentional bases on balls fact tied to Grace Coolidge, the wife of the 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge. Since I have published a number of Calvin Coolidge articles, including one about the White House’s pet raccoon in which Grace Coolidge played a significant role, I figured that I ought to share the baseball fact. I preface the article by noting that Grace Coolidge was known to be a baseball fan. From The White House Historical Association:
While both President Calvin Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge were well known baseball supporters, not everyone realized that of the two, Grace Coolidge was by far the more knowledgeable and enthusiastic fan.
Beyond merely watching games, the article notes that she was fond of keeping scorecards while listening to games on the radio. Her passion for baseball earned her the moniker “The First Lady of Baseball,” (source) and she continued attending games late into her life (source).
Unsurprisingly, Grace Coolidge had opinions about baseball and how it should be played. I stumbled across an interesting note in an article published by the National Baseball Hall of Fame on the history of no-pitch intentional walks:
Modern research shows the intentional walk dates back to at least the 1870s. The maneuver has over the decades engendered criticism (Grace Coolidge, wife of president Calvin Coolidge and a baseball fan with strong opinions, once proposed to abolish the intentional walk)…
I was unsuccessful in finding more information about the story. But I suppose the Baseball Hall of Fame is a reputable enough source on baseball matters other than finding information about the career home runs leader. Intentional walks have never been too popular, but they have endured through the ages, albeit with some recent tweaks. I have a hunch what Grace Coolidge would have thought of some of the bizarre intentional walk spectacles that I covered in my article on Bonds.