This question was posed to me the other day at work: Who was the last president to have facial hair?
Immediately I thought Theodore Roosevelt, circa 1900.
I immediately eliminated anyone from FDR to the present. No president in the so-called modern era would dare have facial hair for fear that they might be labeled a slacker or a liberal...*gasp*!
And then, to the best of my knowledge I tried to think about the era's that occurred after Teddy Roosevelt to eliminate any other possibilities.
The 20s brought us Wilson and Harding, and both of the images I've ingrained in my head don't include facial hair.
I couldn't picture what Calvin Coolidge looked like, but I knew Hoover didn't, so I eliminated Coolidge based on the fact that he was sandwiched between two non-facial-hair-wearing presidents.
So my 30 seconds of thinking, held true my idea that Teddy Roosevelt was the last president with facial hair. I was wrong. I forgot about William H. Taft, our President from 1909-1913, immediately following our good friend Teddy.
Taft is one of our more portly presidents, standing 6 feet 2 inches and weighing 350 pounds. It is rumored that he once got stuck in the White House bathtub, and then had a special tub installed that was large enough to hold four men.
Surely there is more to Taft's presidency than his being too large for a bathtub. There is... and we turn to our national past time of baseball to give Taft more dignity.
It was opening day, April 14, 1910 in a game between the Washington Senators and the Philadelphia Athletics at Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C. According to legend, after the managers had been introduced, umpire Billy Evans handed Taft the ball and asked him to throw over home plate. So he did.
As the big-wig owner of the Washington Senators, Clark Griffith had the opportunity to socialize with the upper crust of Capital Hill society including members of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the current administration. Taft, was an avid sports fan. He often played golf and tennis, and enjoyed watching baseball.
And nearly every president since has thrown out the first pitch on opening day, with the exception of one. Bonus points if you know which President it is. The Whitehouse website has some pretty cool information about Presidents and Baseball.
As the game between the rival Senators and A's wore on, Taft's 350 lb. frame had become restless in his seat. The small wooden chairs at Griffith Stadium did not "sit" well with our porky President. And after the A's batted in the top of the 7th, Taft stood up stretch his legs. Thinking the President was making his exit, everyone else around the stadium stood up to show their respect for the Commander in Chief. After a few minutes, Taft sat back down, as did the rest of the crowd, and the "seventh-inning-stretch" was born.
For even more detail about this historic game visit Baseball-Almanac.com.