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According to new research, Teddy Roosevelt's greatest fear was baseball

The popular conception of Teddy Roosevelt is that he's America's biggest, toughest, most rough-and-tumble president. If you ever picture a politician wrestling with grizzly bears, well, chances are it's Teddy. He was famous for his love of the outdoors, his days as a Rough Rider and his quote about carrying a big stick.

However, it turns out that Teddy may just have been terrified to carry that big stick into the batter's box. Why? Because he was a big 'fraidy cat -- at least if University of New Mexico sports historian Ryan Swanson is right. Having recently released his new book, "The Strenuous Life: Theodore Roosevelt and the Making of the American Athlete," Swanson knows a little bit about Teddy's personal beliefs.

“At one point, he says he fears nothing like he fears a baseball coming at him in the dark,” Swanson told The Washington Post.

That's right: the man who held boxing matches in the White House feared nothing as much as a baseball. Of course, if you've been watching the World Series with pitchers hurling zooming, ducking, diving baseballs nearly 100 miles per hour, that makes sense. But when you watch video of how guys threw the ball in Roosevelt's time, you quickly realize this looks like your average rec slow pitch league.

I mean, this was the guy with the most fearsome fastball the world had ever seen:

There's another reason that Teddy may not have liked the sport: He was just plain bad at it due to his bad eyesight, Swanson speculated.