George H.W. Bush was the Houston sports team’s biggest fan

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 29: Former United States President George H. W. Bush (Photo by David J. Phillip - Pool/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 29: Former United States President George H. W. Bush (Photo by David J. Phillip - Pool/Getty Images) /

George H.W Bush’s passing is a sad loss for Houston sports. His presence at the events always brought a magic about the game to take place that day.

Over the past week following his passing, the former 41st President of the United States, George H. W Bush was honored and revered for all that he accomplished in his life. There was no better place that he was revered in than in Houston, Texas, especially when it comes to his love for Houston Sports teams.

I am late with this entry, it has been a week since Bush 41 passed away at the age of 94. But over the past few days, my mindset was thinking of a tribute to George H.W. Bush. Given that this is a website covering Houston sports, I felt this was an opportunity to talk about the man in a way that maybe nobody thought of at the time.

Bush went from being a WWII pilot that was shot down and rescued off the coast of the Pacific to serving as the first baseman of a Yale Bulldogs team that reached the first two College World Series finals appearances. Later on, he served as vice president to Ronald Reagan from 1981-1988 then he replaced his predecessor in 1988 Presidential Election.

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Say what you will about Bush about his policies or whether or not you supported him. One has to admit that even if he was not the most ideal president, he was honest to the best of his ability and was caring. But, what does this have to do with sports?

You are absolutely right because this is not a political website. This is a Houston sports website and yet, Bush fits the bill as a true Houston sports fan. A few years back, there was a list of each NFL and their biggest celebrity fan. While Houston has famous celebrities like actor Dennis Quaid, pro wrestler Booker T., and heavyweight fighter George Foreman, the list honored the 41st President as the best of the Houston Texans‘ fans.

But it’s not just the Texans he likes. No, he was also a fixture at Houston Astros‘ games. Often times, he and his lovely wife Barbara would be present in their seats behind home plate and sometimes on the kiss cam. Even the Houston Rockets were pleased to have the Bushes at their games. Henceforth why there was a number of current and former athletes on each of the teams that were present at the funeral in Houston and at the airport for his arrival from Washington.

The friendships that George and Barbara forged with Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Yao Ming, and J.J. Watt to name a few athletes is proof that even after life in politics, the human side takes over to where love and compassion show for good.

So this is where I begin the point behind the entry. Houston loves and admires Mr. Bush to where they decided to have the 1992 Republican National Convention in the Astrodome. This would force the Houston Astros to be away for 26 games that season, but they understood the importance of all this. If ever Bush needed a reminder of how truly loved and admired he was by the citizens of Houston and around the nation, one has to go back to 2017 in the two biggest sporting events of the year.

Was it a coincidence that 41 was there for the Super Bowl 51 at the coin toss just days after his bout with pneumonia? Or that his wife was also there while she had to battle with bronchitis? There was a major concern that either one or both would not make it. But whether faith or determination played a role, there they were riding on carts from the end zone to midfield in front of a sold-out crowd giving them a standing ovation. This got the fans fired up for the big game. What happened later was a game best remembered for Tom Brady leading the Patriots on a heroic comeback from 28-3 down to win 34-28 in overtime over the Falcons

Additionally, when the World Series was in Houston, you know the Bush 41 would be in attendance. In a critical Game 5 against the Dodgers, 41 was wheeled out onto the field to help take part in the ceremonial first pitch. This got the crowd fired up even if he handed the ball off to his son, Bush 43, who threw out the second greatest first pitch in World Series history (2001 tops it).

Then a few moments later, 43 takes a microphone, puts it to 41’s mouth and 41 said these words. “Houston, let’s play ball.” And from then on, the greatest World Series game ever was played with the Houston Astros winning 13-12 en route to a World Series victory.

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Was 43 the reason behind the epic games? Not really! Did he have a role in the games being classics? That’s doubtful. He wasn’t at quarterback down 28-3 or hitting homers in the craziness of game five. But, the truth is, I don’t think we can remember those games without his presence.

Now mind you, people will remember the teams in the games more so than the other participants. Still, being that these two games were in Houston and 41 was shown the graciousness and love by fans, who spent at least five minutes of their time giving the man his proper due even if he lasted four years in the White House.

Maybe there was a presence about him in these games that showed what a united nation can be like if we take it into consideration. By watching a Super Bowl and a World Series game and seeing 41 on the field for both occasions can only bring you a tear to a magical moment in an epic game in the making.

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Call this author crazy if you will, but when we remember the epic games, we should remember George H.W. Bush and his presence is making us cheer, laugh, and cry all at the same time. RIP 41!