The Baltimore American said, while stumping for Wilson in Maryland, Glenn told supporters that the candidate had an “(A)rm like iron and the speed of the wind,” and could have been a great player:
“Woodrow Wilson was a fine baseball player but too darn wrapped up in reading to come out for practice…(he) was a good player but he was too confounded lazy to make a star. When the team would be called out for practice, we’d have to go to his room and drag him away from a book.
“But when Wilson wanted to play he was a star. He played left field and while he had an awkward way of running, he covered a lot of ground and was the best pinch hitter on the team. His only trouble was he cared more for history than for Spalding’s rule.”
Wilson withdrew from Davidson in 1874 when he became ill, Glenn said: “After that, Wilson went to Princeton and I went back to the plow.”
Not much else was said about Wilson’s interest in the game, and after he was elected, some questioned if the new president would support baseball the way his predecessor William Howard Taft had. The Associated Press said:
“Washington fans have wondered whether or not the new administration, of which a former college president is the head, would give as much support to the great game as did President Taft, an irrepressible fan.”
The question was answered April 11, 1913, when Wilson threw out the first pitch for the Washington Senators’ home opener:
The Washington Star said:
“Wind, weather, and press of duties permitting, President Wilson is believed likely to be a frequent attendant at the American League Baseball Park…The belief is based on the interest shown by the president in the first game of the season and his applause when the bird of victory which had shown itself exceedingly coy, finally decided to perch on the shoulders of the Nationals.”
The paper noted that excitement overtook the chief executive on one occasion:
“President Wilson at one point in the game arose to his feet in his enthusiasm. Official dignity prevented his yelling. A cheer arose in his throat, but did not pass his lips. He could and did applaud frantically, however, by clapping his hands.”
The American Press Association said:
“There is no doubt about it—President Wilson is a real baseball fan. He knows all about the game, and he is going to be seen often at the ballpark here. At the opening game of the season between the Washingtons and the Yankees the president was given a new ball in a box by Clark Griffith, manager of the Senators, and he threw it—not tossed it, mind you—with speed and precision into the hands of pitcher Walter Johnson…For a few hours he forgot all about the intricacies of the tariff situation and gave himself up to enjoyment.
And Wilson did appear often, attending five Washington games during the first six weeks of the 1913 season. He would attend just one more that season and a total of six more during his presidency.