An MLB-themed Election Day guide: 5 pros who've been elected to public office
Happy Election Day! In honor of America's second-favorite pastime (voting), how about we take a look at those purveyors of America's first favorite pastime -- baseball, of course -- who've double-dipped in their professional lives.
Which former MLB players have held the privilege of elected office, in the U.S. or elsewhere? Well, it turns out to be a fairly exclusive club, especially recently. But here are a few exmaples:
Jim Bunning, U.S. Congress: Probably the most successful in both fields, Bunning pitched for the Tigers and Phillies for most of his 21-year career, racking up 224 wins, nearly 3,000 strikeouts and a perfect game. The Hall of Famer had similar longevity as a politician, serving 12 years as a U.S. Representative and 12 as a Senator, both for Kentucky, before he declined to run for re-election in 2010. Here's Bunning talking about his early playing days in 2013:
Wilmer Mizell, U.S. Congress: Mizell, who went by Vinegar Bend when he played, spent time between 1952 and 1962 with the Cardinals, Pirates and Mets (including the 1960 World Series team with the Pirates), and took two years off early in his MLB career for military service. He served three terms in the House of Representatives as a congressman from North Carolina, and later held positions in the executive office. His baseball card is in the House Archives, which reports that Mizell "led the Republicans to victory six times in the annual Congressional Baseball Game."
Magglio Ordonez, Mayor: The six-time All-Star was elected mayor of the Venezuelan municipality Juan Antonio Sotillo in 2013, less than two years after announcing his retirement from MLB. We have to say, "Mayor Magglio" has a certain ring to it.
Raul Mondesi, Mayor: Mondesi has the honor of serving as mayor of his hometown of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. He's four years into a six-year term, but if he brings out re-election theme songs like this jam from 2010, we'd say he has a good shot in 2016:
Bobby Avila, Mayor: The infielder spent 11 seasons with the Indians between 1949 and 1959 and earned himself three All-Star honors. After retirement, he went home to Mexico, where he was a member of the national legislature and then mayor of his hometown, Veracruz.
This SABR report has a few more players-turned-politicians from earlier in the 20th century, including John Tener, who served as both president of the National League and Pennsylvania governor at the same time. And there was the unfulfilled rumor that Curt Schilling was going to run for Massachusetts' open Senate seat in 2009 to replace Ted Kennedy.