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Let’s talk about Grover Lowdermilk


Detroit Tigers v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

You think there’s not much left to learn about baseball. Then this drops in your lap:

OK. Let’s break this down.

First of all, that’s not his full name, even though that would be quite enough. The Gabriel Moya of the Jazz Age (PLEASE DO NOT LOOK UP IF 1918 WAS THE JAZZ AGE, I PROFOUNDLY DO NOT FUCKING CARE) was named Grover Cleveland “Slim” Lowdermilk, which is simply perfect.

But let’s keep this going.

This means there were at least THREE people of note with “Grover Cleveland” in their name, existing in the Gilded Age (AGAIN, DON’T CARE), all at roughly the same time. You have our guy Slim, you have 22nd and 24th President of the United States Grover Cleveland, and you have Baseball Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander.

It seems very likely that both ballplayers were named after the sitting President when they were born in the Wildcat Age (MADE THAT UP) of the 1880s. Which means, of all the unsettling corners of American history that I didn’t know about, there was also a time when people thought it was a capital idea to give innocent children the full names of Presidents. There were a hell-ton of scamps running around, getting typhoid fever, and working in shirtwaist factories at age 13 to support their newborn twins, all named after Rutherford Hayes. And these were called “the good old days” by a lot of people who were clearly off their nut because Pepsi was still laced with morphine then.

Anyway, two final things:

  1. At your child’s first grade choir concert in 2022, you’re going to get a program listing the songs and the students. And as you scan through all the Madisons and Maddysens and M’adicyns, what if you come across a couple “Donald Trump”s? White people have done dumber things. Be open to the possibility that it might happen.
  2. Slim pitched for the 1919 Black Sox but wasn’t involved in the scandal, and had a brother named Lou who played for the Cardinals and was not named for a President that I know of.

And you thought “The Opener” concept was flawed.