Power Hitter
  Injuries: AL | NL
  Weekly Lineup
  Message Board
  Minor Leagues
  MLB Stat Search
  MLB en espaņol


Sport Sections
Wednesday, November 1
Politicians who can run

Moving from the field of sports to the political arena is nothing new with George W. Bush.

NFL quarterback Jack Kemp and NBA forward Bill Bradley of several decades back used their sports fame as a springboard into long careers in public office.

With little on his resumé except a Hall of Fame career with the Seattle Seahawks, Steve Largent was elected to Congress by Tulsa-area voters.
More recently, Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Steve Largent and former University of Oklahoma quarterback J.C. Watts have climbed on Capitol Hill on the backs of their celebrity.

But if Bush's rise to power does send him to the White House, he will join a substantial list of elected officials who have benefited from their association with sports. And, he will be among the first to have received his sports-fueled boost from the locus of owner, not athlete.

Alphabetically, that list includes:

Bill Bradley
In arena: Forward played with the New York Knicks 1967-77 and won two championships.
In office: U.S. senator (N.J.) for 18 years; ran for Democratic nomination for president in 2000.
Scouting report: No one can get the sports establishment behind him like Bradley, the beneficiary of an elaborate fund-raiser at Madison Square Garden earlier this year.

Jim Bunning
On field: Gangly, sidearmer broke in with the Detroit Tigers in 1957, won 224 games, including 40 shutouts, and pitched no-hitters in each league, including a perfect game. After retiring in 1971 and becoming a stockbroker, agent and minor-league manager, he was elected to the Hall of Fame.
In office: Elected to Kentucky Senate, 1979; elected to U.S. House, 1986; re-elected to U.S. House, 1988-96; elected to U.S. Senate, 1998.
Scouting report: A member of Athletes for Nixon in 1968, the Republican's reputation on Capitol Hill is the same as it was on the mound, as a tough, tenacious competitor who isn't afraid to back the opposition off the plate -- whether the issue is lowering taxes or protecting tobacco farmers from regulatory oversight.

George H.W. Bush
On field: Captain of Yale baseball team after World War II service.
In office: U.S. House of Representatives, 1966-70; U.S. vice president, 1981-89; U.S. president, 1989-93.
Scouting report: Best arm of any president to throw out the first ball on Opening Day.

Ben Nighthorse Campbell
On mat: Captain of the 1964 U.S. Olympic judo team.
In office: Member of Colorado Legislature, 1983-86; member of U.S. House (Colo.), 1987-93; member of U.S. Senate, 1993-present.
Scouting report: A formidable presence in D.C., where he is the only Native American, pony-tailed, motorcyle-riding Republican who pumps 45,000 pounds of iron a day.

They got next
Tom Osborne, the former Nebraska football coach, is considered a shoo-in to be elected to Congress. Despite no experience in politics, Osborne is the choice of 81 percent of voters to earn the state's Third District seat being vacated by fellow Republican Bill Barrett, according to a recent Omaha World-Herald poll.

Former NFL veteran Russ Francis also will be vying for a congressional seat in Hawaii. Francis, who in September won the Republican primary, is facing a tougher opponent than Osborne. He is running against 11-term incumbent Patsy Mink, 72.

Other sports figures who have been mentioned as possible candidates in future elections include quarterbacks John Elway and Steve Young, ex-NHL coach Herb Brooks and the NBA's Kevin Johnson and Greg Anthony.

Dwight D. Eisenhower
On field: Halfback and linebacker at West Point, 1912.
In office: U.S. President, 1953-61.
Scouting report: Called "The Kansas Cyclone" by sportswriters, he tried and failed to stop Jim Thorpe in an Army loss to Carlisle. A knee injury ended his football career prematurely, so he was on the sidelines the next year when Knute Rockne and Notre Dame used the innovative forward pass to frustrate the Cadets.

Gerald R. Ford
On field: Center on University of Michigan football team, 1932-34.
In office: Member of U.S. House, 1948-73. In 1974, when Richard Nixon resigned, he became the only person to occupy the White House without being elected president or vice president (Nixon picked him to become vice president after Spiro Agnew earlier resigned in disgrace); he was president until 1977.
Scouting report: Misadventure stepping off Air Force One belied abilities on the gridiron.

J.D. Hayworth
In arena: Television sportscaster in Phoenix for seven years.
In office: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (Ariz.) since 1994.
Scouting report: As a Congressional rookie, National Review magazine listed him as one of the top 10 conservative newcomers.

Jack Kemp
On field: Pro quarterback with Pittsburgh, the Los Angles and San Diego Chargers, and Buffalo, during 1957-70.
In office: Member of U.S. House (N.Y.), 1971-89; Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, 1989-92; Republican candidate for vice president, 1992.
Scouting report: Worked hard to get beyond the "dumb jock" stereotype of athlete-politicians. Brought new ideas about urban development to Republican Party, then bowed out of public life just as public stopped thinking of him as an athlete.

Herb Kohl
In arena: Has owned the Milwaukee Bucks since 1985; was one of 10 original investors in Milwaukee Brewers.
In office: Elected in 1988 to U.S. Senate (Wis.).
Scouting report: By far the most politically influential owner in pro sports.

Paul Krause
On field: Hall of Fame safety with Washington and Minnesota, 1964-1979, retired as the NFL's career leader in interceptions with 81.
In office: Dakota County (Minn.) commissioner.
Scouting report: No grand political ambitions -- hey, he owns a nine-hole golf course.

Steve Largent
On field: Hall of Fame receiver with Seattle, 1976-89.
In office: Member of U.S. House (Okla.), 1995-present.
Scouting report: Continued to compete against NFL players after retiring, beating another former possession receiver, Howard Twilley (Miami Dolphins) in his first Republican primary. Christian conservatives now consider him their go-to guy on Capitol Hill.

Bob Mathias
On track: Olympic gold medalist in decathlon, 1948 and '52, also played football at Stanford.
In office: Member of U.S. House (Calif.), 1967-75.
Scouting report: A celebrity since college when the Bob Mathias Movie, starring Bob Mathias, was made.

Tom McMillen
On field: NBA player with New York, Atlanta and Washington, 1977-86.
In office: Member of U.S. House (Md.), 1987-93.
Scouting report: With Bradley, one of the few jocks-turned-pols who is a Democrat.

Ralph Metcalfe
On track: Gold medalist in Hitler's 1936 Olympics, where he ran on the winning 400-meter relay team with Jesse Owens and placed second to Owens in the 100.
In office: Longtime Chicago South Side boss served four terms as U.S. Congressman (Ill.), 1971-78.
Scouting report: The Metcalfe name is still a part of public life in Chicago, a federal building there having been named in his honor.

Wilmer "Vinegar Bend" Mizell
On field: Pitcher with St. Louis, Pittsburgh and New York Mets, 1952-53 and 1956-62.
In office: Davidson County (N.C.) commissioner, 1966; member of U.S. House (N.C.), 1969-75.
Scouting report: Any good politician needs the right mix of vinegar and a willingness to bend.

Alan Page
On field: Hall of Fame tackle became the first defensive player to be named NFL MVP, in 1971, and played for the Vikings during 1967-81.
In office: Another first, in 1992, in joining the Minnesota Supreme Court, Page became the first black elected to Minnesota state office and the first to serve on its highest court.
Scouting report: Studied at the University of Minnesota law school full time for three years while playing for the Vikings because football bored him: "Law school was stimulating and challenging. I miss pro football very little. I had a good, long and fun career, but there's more to life for me than football."

Ronald Reagan
On field: Admitted to Eureka College on a need scholarship in 1928, played football and swam, also coaching the team his senior year.
In office: California Governor, 1967-75. U.S. president, 1981-89.
Scouting report: The media-made politician benefited more from being near the field than actually being on it. After college, he was a radio sportscaster in Davenport, Iowa, and became a popular voice of major league baseball re-creations and Big Ten football in the Midwest. In 1940, he played the terminally ill football player George Gipp, in the film "Knute Rockne -- All American."

Jacob Ruppert
On field: Bought the Yankees in 1914 for $450,000 and later would call them "My $10 million to."
In office: Four-term Congressman (N.Y.), elected in 1898.
Scouting report: Settled for local fame after telling friends he wanted to be president. Probably changed history more by bringing Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919 and designing the pinstripe uniforms, which were said to be intended to make Ruth look slimmer.

Jim Ryun
On track: Olympic silver medalist in 1,500 meter run, 1968. First high school miler to break four-minute barrier; twice set mile record.
In office: Member of U.S. House (Kan.) since 1996.
Scouting report: His political philosophy, the Republican has said, "is just a few things: Less government. Less taxes. Better representation. More power back to the states. Integrity. Doing what we can to protect our country's future."

Bob Thomas
On field: Chicago Bears place-kicker, 1975-84.
In office: An Illinois Appellate Court judge, the West Chicago Republican is running for the state Supreme Court this year.
Scouting report: Public-disclosure forms recently showed the Thomas campaign is $7,000 in debt (roughly what the Bears lost per minute on Curtis Enis investment).

J.C. Watts
On field: University of Oklahoma quarterback, was MVP in Orange Bowl victories over Nebraska in 1980 and '81, Canadian Football League quarterback with Ottawa and Toronto, 1981-86.
In office: Member of U.S. House (Okla.) since 1994.
Scouting report: Elected as Conference Chair of the Republicans in the 106th Congress, big things are ahead for one of the most influential African American in conservative politics.

Wednesday: Bush establishes a management style

Slideshow: Photos that defined a candidate

Gore can play that game, too

Bush family links to sports go back a century

Timeline: George W. Bush and Rangers