Editor’s note: As the photo gallery above reflects, several U.S. Presidents have appeared on ESPN’s airwaves through the years. On Presidents Day, Outside The Lines host Bob Ley shares his memories of his interviews with the Chief Executives.
It’s impressive enough boarding Air Force One, and being seated in the forward guest cabin, with five other passengers.
Nine days before the 1992 Presidential election, that’s where I found myself.
Suddenly, out of the hallway on the left side of the cabin there was a stir, and then standing in front of us, wearing his Presidential flight jacket, is George Herbert Walker Bush. Apparently, he made it a custom to say hello to guests prior to takeoff.
We were to fly from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to Detroit, and had arrangements to interview the President en route about his sporting career and interests for an Outside the Lines program airing in several days.
This was the morning after the Toronto Blue Jays had defeated the Atlanta Braves in Game 6 to win the World Series. As we were interviewing President Bush in the Air Force One Conference Room, the White House staff — from 35,000 feet over Pennsylvania — was trying to arrange a congratulatory Presidential phone call to Toronto skipper Cito Gaston.
The call never came to fruition, but I spent 20 minutes with the President as he spoke of meeting Babe Ruth during Mr. Bush’s collegiate career at Yale, and getting a base hit off of Milt Pappas during a Triple A all-star game.
Fourteen years later, under very different circumstances, I interviewed President Bush at the re-opening of the Louisiana Superdome, one year after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. continue reading…