Who Knew? U.S. Presidential Trivia

John Roach
for National Geographic News
August 27, 2004

Just 11 weeks remain in the race for the White House. Thousands of Republican Party faithful will gather in New York City next week to nominate George W. Bush as their candidate for a second term as U.S. President. Last month Democrats anointed Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as their party's choice to lead the country. Ralph Nader, meanwhile, leads the list of independent and third-party candidates who are seeking the nation's top political job.

Getting into the campaign spirit, National Geographic News compiled the following presidential trivia:

How They Measured Up

The smallest President was James Madison (Presidential term 1809-17). The fourth President, Madison stood 5 feet, 4 inches (163 centimeters) tall and weighed less than 100 pounds (45 kilograms).

The tallest President was Abraham Lincoln (1861-65). He stood 6 feet, 4 inches (193 centimeters) tall.

The heaviest President was William Howard Taft (1909-13), who sometimes tipped the scales at more than 300 pounds (136 kilograms) during his tenure. After he became stuck in the White House bathtub, Taft ordered a new one installed. The replacement was big enough to hold four grown men of average size.

The oldest President ever elected was Ronald Reagan (1981-89). The 40th President took office at the age of 69.

The youngest elected President was John F. Kennedy (1961-63), who reached the White House at 43. But the youngest President to ever serve was Theodore Roosevelt (1901-09), who was elected Vice President on a ticket with President William McKinley. In September 1901 a deranged anarchist shot McKinley twice in Buffalo, New York, and Roosevelt assumed the top office at 42.

At Play

Benjamin Harrison (1889-93), the 23nd President, was the first President to attend a baseball game. He saw the Cincinnati Reds beat the Washington Senators 7 to 4 on June 6, 1892.

William Taft started the tradition of the Presidential "first pitch" of baseball season. The event took place on April 4, 1910, during an opening day game between the Washington Senators and the Philadelphia Athletics.

Since Taft's first pitch, every President but one has opened at least one baseball season during their tenure. The exception: Jimmy Carter (1977-1981).

Continued on Next Page >>


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