Calling George H.W. Bush “perhaps the most iconic figure” to ever don the Andover baseball uniform, Coach Kevin Graber plans to celebrate the president’s legacy on the ball field with a special varsity team patch.
The commemorative patch, designed by Graber, will make its debut on the team’s jerseys for their season opener against Bridgeton Academy Saturday, April 6, at the New England Baseball Complex in Northborough, Mass.
It’s no secret Bush loved Andover’s ball field, which he made a point of visiting anytime he returned to campus.
“I think perhaps visiting our baseball diamond brought back fond memories from his youth out there on the field with his best friends, in that uniform, representing the school he loves so much,” Graber said. “That’s what I hoped to capture with the sleeve patch—not so much the presidential Bush, but the teenage, boyish, baseball-playing Bush, in that uniform he loved so much. I think he would’ve really enjoyed that.”
Bush captained the 1942 baseball team and earned praise in The Phillipian as “a very dependable hitter and a really slick fielder.” At Yale, he led the Bulldogs to back-to-back trips to the College World Series, and the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in Lubbock, Texas is named in Bush’s honor.
During what would be his final visit to campus in 2015, Bush once again visited the diamond where he met Richie Ciufo ’16 who was alone on the field, hitting off a tee. Bush walked Ciufo down memory lane, sharing anecdotes from his own baseball days, and signed Ciufo’s bat, which, Graber said, still hangs prominently on the wall of his family’s Long Island home.
“Honoring President Bush on our uniforms seemed like such a natural because he is so closely associated with our program,” Graber said. “It’s also a very cool opportunity to connect our current players with the tradition and history of the program.”