Dwight Eisenhower was a teenager in the first decade of the 20th century, just about the time professional baseball was becoming popular. Like many boys of that time, he had his favorite player, and he wanted to emulate that player’s career. For young Eisenhower, it was Honus Wagner, the shortstop of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

At Abilene High School, the future general and president played center field. His older brother played first base on the same team. Following high school Eisenhower sought and gained an appointment to West Point. While at West Point he played varsity football until he was sidelined by a knee injury. He also tried out for the baseball team. He didn’t make that squad. Years later Eisenhower said not making the baseball team at West Point was one of the greatest disappointments he had ever faced. However, he never lost his interest in the game and his boyhood hero.

Mike McGough is an Eisenhower Society board trustee.

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