In my column today I talked about trying to come up with a famous or not so famous athlete or person in the sports world that had the same last name as every president. I actually tried it. Some were easy. Some had plentiful options. Some had little to no options. Some I had to cheat by looking for a match online. Anyway, here are the presidents and the first athlete that came to mind for each one. Try it yourself. It was actually pretty fun.
1. George Washington — U.L. Washington, Royals shortstop
2. John Adams — Flozell Adams, Cowboys offensive lineman who went to my alma mater Michigan State.
3. Thomas Jefferson — J.J. Jefferson, a sweet San Diego Chargers receiver that I remember growing. Also current NBA player Richard Jefferson who had a hand in crushing my Spartans in the Final Four one year.
4. James Madison — Defensive back Sam Madison made four straight Pro Bowls for the Miami Dolphins from 1999-2002
5. James Monroe — Earl the Pearl Monroe, basketball great
6. John Quincy Adams — There’s an NHL player named Craig Adams who was on the Pittsburgh Penguins recent Stanley Cup winning team.
7. Andrew Jackson — Take your pick, here. Reggie Jackson was the first that came to my mind.
8. Martin Van Buren — I admit that I cheated on this one, but there is an NFL Hall of Famer named Steve Van Buren who was a tough-nosed running back for Philadelphia in the 1940s
9. William Henry Harrison — Steelers oft-fined defensive lineman who was the defensive MVP James Harrison. Also, Texas Ranger starter just named to the All-Star Game Matt Harrison.
10. John Tyler — Former UCLA, Rams and 49ers running back Wendell Tyler
11. James K. Polk — I know Al Bundy from Married With Children scored a bunch of touchdowns for Polk High. But ex-Dallas Cowboys kicker Nick Folk was as close as I can get.
12. Zachary Taylor — The original L.T. Lawrence Taylor of the New York Football Giants.
13. Millard Fillmore — Would you settle for Pro Bowl Vikings defensive tackle Keith Millard? The Internet informed me there was a New York Knick named Gregory Fillmore. His nickname should have been “Fillmore Buckets” but it wasn’t.
14. Franklin Pierce — Celtics bucket-maker Paul Pierce.
15. James Buchanan — NFL defensive back journeyman Ray Buchanan most prominently with the Falcons comes to mind.
16. Abraham Lincoln — Current Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Brad Lincoln.
17. Andrew Johnson — Magic Johnson. Boom, next.
18. Ulysses S. Grant — Chicago Bulls ring collector Horace Grant.
19. Rutherford B. Hayes — Tempted to go with speedy fictional Indians outfielder Willy Mays Hayes. But how about Raiders stick-um-aholic Lester Hayes.
20. James A. Garfield — I thought of Garfield (Gar) Heard the NBA legend right away, but that’s not fair. According to baseball-reference.com there was a player named Bill Garfield for the Pittsburgh Allegheneys in 1889. President Garfield served in 1881 so they may have known each other.
21. Chester A. Arthur — Recent Kansas Jayhawks hoops star and NBA utility man Durrell Arthur was strangely the first guy to pop into my head here.
22. and 24. Grover Cleveland — I don’t know if using Grover Cleveland Alexander, the Hall of Fame pitcher of the early 1900s is cheating. If it is, then there was a journeyman pitcher named Reggie Cleveland in the 1970s. Also, there was a starter on my Alma High School varsity basketball team in the late 1980s named Dave Cleveland.
23. Benjamin Harrison — Forgot I’d need another Harrison. Let’s go with Patriots defensive back Rodney Harrison.
25. William McKinley — Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley played for a short time but was found dead in his apartment in 2010. Eerily President McKinley was one of eight presidents to die in office. He was assassinated.
26. Theodore Roosevelt — May have to cheat and use a first name here as in Roosevelt Colvin of the Bears and Patriots.
27. William H. Taft — A clear cheat here, there was a Detroit Red Wing by the name of John Taft who had an illustrious 15 game career in 1978. You may remember as the guy who scored no goals and had two assists in his lifetime.
28. Woodrow Wilson — NFL QB Wade Wilson was the first that came to me, though I’m sure there are tons of Wilsons out there. Willie Wilson the Royals centerfielder
29. Warren G. Harding –Troublesome figure skater Tonya Harding
30. Calvin Coolidge –
31. Herbert Hoover — Only a fantasy football fan would recognize the name Brad Hoover, a Carolina Panthers fullback and TD vulture.
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt — Not finding a lot of Roosevelt’s, but the great Jackie Robinson’s middle name was Roosevelt.
33. Harry S. Truman –
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower –
35. John F. Kennedy — Raiders offensive lineman Lincoln Kennedy was named after two presidents.
36. Lyndon B. Johnson — Always had a prediliction for Billy White Shoes Johnson
37. Richard M. Nixon — Who could forget Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon
38. Gerald R. Ford — Ford was a great football player himself at Michigan, but for these purposes let’s use Raiders wide receiver Jacoby Ford.
39. Jimmy Carter — Even though he went to Michigan, I always liked A.C. Anthony Carter
40. Ronald Reagan — Typing in Reagan and MLB player into Google produces –
41. George H. W. Bush — Reggie Bush of USC, Saints and now Dolphins fame.
42. Bill Clinton — Going the first name rout, Clinton Portis would work. Baseball reference adds a Lou Clinton who played for eight years in the 1960s with the Red Sox, California Angels and Yankees.
43. George W. Bush — Here we’ll downgrade from Reggie Bush to former Raider now Bear RB Michael Bush.
44. Barack Obama –
So there you have it. A lot came off the top of the head. Some required research. And four (Coolidge, Truman, Eisenhower and Obama) I failed to come up with anything.
Help me out. If you have any athletes men or women that I missed, or if you just want to tell me you tried it. I’d love to hear from you.
Either respond to this blog or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.