On this day in 2005, at a White House ceremony, President George W. Bush congratulates the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox baseball team for winning their first World Series since 1918. Massachusetts Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, and former Red Sox players were among those on hand for the event. Before saluting the Red Sox, Bush also paid tribute to one of baseball’s greatest African-American players, Jackie Robinson.
During the ceremony, Bush teased the team about the long overdue championship, asking, "What took you so long?" and quipping, "You know, the last time the Red Sox were here [at the White House], Woodrow Wilson was president." He then recalled what someone had said to him regarding the Red Sox’s long-overdue win: “Now we just have to wait for the other six signs of the apocalypse.”
Bush touted the far-reaching morale-boosting effect of the Red Sox victory, pointing out that native Bostonian troops fighting in Iraq had been able to enjoy the World Series via satellite. Bush also praised the role of sports organizations in providing scholarships and developing community social programs before proudly drawing attention to the diverse Red Sox roster, which included natives of Korea, the Dominican Republic and states in the American heartland. The president’s comment that Mike Timlin, a player from his adopted hometown of Midland, Texas, finally amounted to something drew hearty applause.
The president, in a buoyant mood, even poked fun at his vice president during the ceremony, pointing out that, with the Boston team’s win, Dick Cheney’s favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, had assumed the dubious honor of having the longest dry spell between championships. Bush joked, As a Chicago Cubs fan, [Vice President Cheney] knows what you have been through.
Bush’s congratulatory event for the Red Sox continued the popular presidential practice of inviting championship teams from a variety of sports, including football, baseball and basketball, as well as Olympic champions, to the White House.