Babe’s playing catch with a teammate on the sideline when a tall lean fellow, wearing a first baseman’s mitt, jogs onto the infield and says, “Hi, I’m George. Can I play today?”
“Kid, I got first base because I was out pretty late last night and don’t feel like pitching or running in the outfield.”
“Why don’t you DH then?”
Babe stares at him.
“You’d be an incredible designated hitter.”
“I guess so. But what the hell’s that?”
“All you’d do is hit,” says George.
Babe motions for his teammate to warm up with another player. “I’d hit every inning?”
“Not every inning but every time it’s your turn to bat.”
“And what am I supposed to do when we’re in the field?”
“You’d relax on the bench,” George says.
“You better not be saying I can’t field.”
“Not at all, Babe. I’m just trying to keep your bat in the lineup and not tire you out.”
Babe waves his glove at George and says, “Why don’t you DH since it’s such a great job?”
“I’d be honored, Babe, but I confess I’m not much of a hitter compared to guys like you.”
“There’s no one like me.”
“I mean I’m not a major league hitter.”
“You ever play any organized ball?”
“Don’t you remember me?” asks George.
“Could be. Where’d we meet?”
“I’m George Bush from Yale. You came to our game. I was team captain so had the honor of receiving the manuscript of your autobiography you gave us. We shook hands and had our picture taken together. I treasure that photo, Babe.”
“Thanks, kid. When was that?”
“Jesus, by then cancer had about eaten up my throat and I could barely talk.”
George walks to Babe and shakes his hand. “You’re the real Babe again, and I’m happy as heck about that.”
“You’re looking pretty damn good, too. Sorry you couldn’t play in the big leagues. What’d you do?”
“Well, before Yale I served as a naval aviator and piloted a bunch of combat missions. One time the Japanese shot my partner and me down and we bailed out. My parachute opened but his didn’t. I had an inflatable raft and waited a few hours for a submarine to pick me up.”
“I’m proud of you. What’d you do after Yale?”
“I got married and started having kids, six in all, and moved to West Texas and started a couple of oil companies, one drilling on land and the other offshore.”
“You make any money?” Babe asks.
“We did pretty well and moved to Houston. Then I served a couple of terms in Congress and would’ve continued but President Richard Nixon… Remember him?”
“Never heard of him.”
“He asked me to run for Senate to help our Republican party, to help him, really, but I lost.”
“You go back to the oilfields?”
“I went to the United Nations, Babe.”
“Where the hell’s that?”
“In New York City, right on the East River. I guess that came a couple years after you moved here. I served as our ambassador to the U.N.”
“Damn good, Bill,” says Babe.
“Right, kid. What’d you do next?”
“I was chairman of the Republican National Committee for two years, envoy to China for a couple more, then director of the CIA for two more years.”
“Central Intelligence Agency, finding out what foreign leaders and spies are doing.”
“You must’ve retired after that.”
George smiles and says, “I like to keep active, Babe. I ran for president in 1980.”
“No, a guy named Ronald Reagan beat me.”
“I remember him as The Gipper.”
“That’s him,” says George. “He picked me as his vice presidential running partner, and we won both elections and served eight years.”
“Sorry you didn’t make president, kid.”
“I’m not bragging, Babe, but I became president in 1988.”
“You didn’t go any higher than that, did you?”
“Years later I parachuted from an airplane when I was ninety.”
“Damn. I died at fifty-three. Let’s play ball.”
“I’m at first base and you’re DH’ing, right?” asks George.
“I’m DH’ing, all right, but you’re pitching for the other team.”