Jeb Bush’s Baseball Connections: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Former Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush throws a baseball at a carnival in Iowa on August 14, 2015. (Getty)

Former Republican presidential hopeful and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has teamed with former New York Yankee Derek Jeter to purchase the Miami Marlins baseball franchise.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria reportedly reached an agreement in principle to allow the unlikely pair — along with at least five other investors — to purchase the Marlins on April 25.

The sale of the team to the group of investors still has to be approved by the other Major League Baseball’s owners, but it comes at a price tag of about $1.3 billion, The Miami Herald reported.

The Herald wrote that Bush plans to be the Marlins’ “control person,” meaning he would have ultimate control over the franchise’s decisions.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the legendary former New York Yankees shortstop has interest in purchasing an MLB franchise, or Bush for that matter.

After all, Bush and his family have a storied history and deep roots in baseball.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Jeb Has Been a Baseball Fan His Whole Life

Former President George W. Bush cheers with his brother and Jeb, his father, former President George H.W. Bush, his wife Laura Bush, Alan Webb and baseball Hall of Famers Lou Brock and Bob Feller at a tee ball event at the White House in 2001. (Getty)

Bush has been a fan of baseball since he was a child. He grew up in Houston, Texas and his father, former president George H.W. Bush, taught him everything about the game as he grew up.

Jeb played Little League baseball when he was younger and has attended many events over the years benefiting the need for children to stay active in baseball.

When infamous Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman reached over the railing for a pop-fly ball and prevented outfielder Moises Alou from making the catch, Jeb was there to offer a helping hand.


The Steve Bartman incidentChicago fan Steve Bartman interferes with Moises Alou, extending Luis Castillo's at bat Check out m.mlb.com/video for our full archive of videos, and subscribe on YouTube for the best, exclusive MLB content: youtube.com/MLB About MLB.com: Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced on January 19, 2000, that the 30 Major League club owners voted unanimously to…2014-11-24T21:28:20.000Z

Bartman’s disruption of the play happened in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, with the Cubs ahead 3-0 in the game on the Florida Marlins and also 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. If Bartman hadn’t interrupted the play, the Cubs would have been four outs away from heading to the World Series. Instead, Chicago lost 8-3 — and eventually lost the series — and Bartman was ripped to shreds by may Cubs fans, receiving death threats.

A few days after the game, Jeb, who was then the governor of Florida and a Marlins fan, offered Bartman asylum in Florida.

Jeb’s affiliation with baseball doesn’t end there, though.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, then Republican candidate Donald Trump called the Bush family “hypocrites.” He did so after Jeb bashed him for using eminent domain past in real estate dealings. Trump said that Jeb’s brother, former President George W. Bush, used the law to acquire land for a new baseball stadium in Texas.


2016 GOP Debate: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush spar on Trump's eminent domain stanceRepublican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Jeb Bush spar about Trump's support for eminent domain at the #GOPDebate at St. Anselm College in Manchester. Subscribe to WMUR on YouTube now: bit.ly/1lOjX9C Get more Manchester news: wmur.com/ Like us: facebook.com/wmur9 Follow us: twitter.com/WMUR9 Google+: plus.google.com/+wmur2016-02-07T04:37:39.000Z

According to CNN, in 1991 George and other business partners created a “quasi-governmental agency” to seize 13 acres of property for the new home of the Texas Rangers.


2. George W. Bush Had an Ownership Stake In the Texas Rangers

Former President George W. Bush and wife, Laura Bush attend a Texas Rangers game in 2011. (Getty)

In April 1989, George W. Bush along with several other investors organized a plan to purchase a controlling interest — 86 percent — in the Texas Rangers franchise at the price of $89 million.

Bush invested $606,302, borrowing $500,000 from a bank, to purchase a small stake in the team. He was named the managing general partner in the purchase, becoming the face of the team and handling much of the media relations. He started lobbying for a the need for a new stadium for the Rangers, and he bought another $100,000 ownership stake in the team one year later, ESPN reported.

In 1991, the 13 acres of land needed for the new stadium were acquired after a bill was signed by Gov. Ann Richards, and a plan was approved for public funds to be used for the new $191 million stadium.

Bush decided to run for governor in 1993 and was elected in 1994 with 53.8 percent of the vote. Before taking office, Bush resigned as managing general partner of the Rangers, but kept the stake that he had in the team. He sold the rest of his stake in the franchise in 1998 to Tom Hicks, who purchased the Rangers for $250 million (at the time the second-highest price ever paid for an MLB team).

When the purchase went through, Bush personally received $14.9 million for his initial $600,000 investment in the franchise.


SEA@TEX: President Bush takes in game on Opening Day4/4/16: The Rangers broadcasters discuss President George W. Bush attending the game on Opening Day Check out m.mlb.com/video for our full archive of videos, and subscribe on YouTube for the best, exclusive MLB content: youtube.com/MLB About MLB.com: Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced on January 19, 2000, that the 30 Major League club owners voted…2016-04-04T23:10:26.000Z

Bush still attends Rangers games in his spare time, and has been known to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to games every once in a while.


3. George W. Bush Threw Out the First Pitch Before a Yankees Game After 9/11

President George W. Bush throws the ceremonial first pitch of Game 3 of the World Series just days after the September 11, 2001 attacks. (Getty)

Speaking of ceremonial first pitches, George W. Bush threw out what’s widely regarded as one of the best ever at a New York Yankees game.

But this wasn’t just any Yankees game. This was Game 3 of the 2001 World Series, just under two months after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 people on United States soil.

Bush arrived to the pitcher’s mound at Yankee Stadium for what he called the “most nervous” moment of his presidency. Before that, though, Jeb’s new business partner Jeter joked with the elder Bush, saying that he’d get booed by the crowd if the pitch wasn’t a good one.

Most of the time when people who aren’t baseball players deliver a first pitch before a game, they don’t step out on the mound, they often choose to move a few feet up to ensure that the ball can get to the plate. But Bush insisted that he throw from the pitcher’s mound. He delivered a perfect strike right into the catcher’s glove for a thunderous ovation and a memorable World Series moment.


President Bush's Opening Pitch at Yankee Stadium After 9-11 [High Quality]townhall.com/tipsheet/2011-09-06T23:00:27.000Z

The president waved to the crowd as he walked to the dugout amidst the screaming Yankee Stadium crowd.


4. George H.W. Bush Played Baseball at Yale University

Former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush meet joke with an umpiring crew before the Seattle Mariners played the Houston Astros in 2015. (Getty)

Jeb and his brother George were so interested in baseball partly because of what their father, George H.W. Bush, instilled in them when they were growing up.

When he attended Yale University in the 1940s, Bush was a first baseman for the baseball team. He was known by his Yale teammates as “Poppy” when he played. He was the Bulldogs’ team captain in 1948 and even met Yankee legend Babe Ruth that season.

When Bush was on the team, Yale played in the first two College World Series’ ever.

“We had a wonderful coach in Ethan Allen and some terrific pitching in Frank Quinn and Walt Gratham,” Bush told Yale’s athletic department in an interview as they celebrated 150 years as a program in 2014. “I can’t say I contributed much on offense, but it was a heck of a ride nonetheless.”

The Yale athletic department wrote that Bush was “as good of a fielder as any on the team,” having .976 and .992 fielding percentages in 1947 and 1948, respectively. His career batting average was .215.


5. Barbara Bush Is a Big Baseball Fan, Too

Former First Lady Barbara Bush, left, and former President George H.W. Bush, right, watch a baseball game. (Getty)

All members of the Bush family are known to be in attendance at many MLB games.

Often times, you will see George H.W. Bush sitting behind the catcher with his wife and former First Lady Barbara Bush. A few times, Barbara has been caught on camera really getting into the game, even keeping score during a Rangers World Series game in 2010.


2010/10/31 Barbara Bush keeping scoreWS 2010 Gm 4: First Lady Barbara Bush keeps score2010-11-01T04:32:18.000Z