Bill The Beamer

Submitted by Kyle Dayton August 18th, 2010
Certifikitsch Winner

It’s April 14th, 1910. Our 27th President William Howard Taft is at Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC, attending the opening day baseball game between the Washington Senators and Philadelphia Athletics. On that day history is made when on the spur of the moment before the start of the game, umpire Billy Evans hands the ball to Taft, and, to the delight of the fans in the stadium, he becomes the very first President to throw the first ceremonial pitch over home plate. According to legend, it’s said that Taft, who was an ardent baseball fan, was absolutely beaming as he threw that first pitch. His radiant smile was why he was nicknamed Bill The Beamer.

But wait! This roly-poly chalkware statue of a beaming President Taft holding a baseball was made in 1909. That was one year before the historical event. It was well known at the time that he was a passionate fan, but I’m still impressed by the foresight in the decision to create this statue back in ’09.

This is a very rare statue, its popularity in its day is comparable to that of modern bobblehead dolls. It’s 4 1/2″ tall and nearly 4″ wide. Inscribed on the front with “Bill The Beamer”, on the back with “Our Mascot”, and inscribed around the bottom with the phrase “Bill the Beamer Co. New York. Copyright 1909 By J.H. Trant”. In overall good condition considering it’s 101 years old, but is missing a piece of its straw hat.

“The game of baseball is a clean, straight game, and it summons to its presence everybody who enjoys clean, straight athletics. It furnishes amusement to the thousands and thousands. ” – William H. Taft

“Politics, when I am in it, makes me sick.” – William H. Taft

5 Responses to “Bill The Beamer”

  1. Allee Willis

    This is really fantastic. It’s unbelievable to have something that’s this old and in this fantastic of shape, not to mention that it’s adorable.

    The story about how he got his name, Bill The Beamer, is really great especially given the fact that the toy was made one year before he was given the name…

    I absolutely love how the statue is cut off at the stomach and Pres. Taft just lays there like a big lump of taffy.

    Really a stupendous find. I also think this piece had quite an enormous sense of humor for something that was made in 1909.

    • Kyle Dayton

      Thank you, Allee. While researching President Taft for this posting, I gained appreciation and respect for him. I think he was a down-to-earth kind of guy that enjoyed life, and I prefer to remember him as the one who threw out the first Presidential pitch rather than the one who got stuck in the White House bathtub because he was hefty.

  2. Ftmyrgal

    My sister passed away and I found Bill The Beamer in her collection of antiques. Actually, he is in very good condition. It really is an amazing little statue.