Richardson and Baseball

A nice little bit of business this morning (sub. might be req.) by my colleague Toby Smith about Bill Richardson’s baseball career:

Over time, draft status became part of Richardson’s political persona.

His official campaign biography in 1982, when he first ran for Congress in New Mexico’s 3rd District, concludes: “In 1966, he was drafted by the Kansas City Athletics … ”

When Richardson was about to be appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in 1997, the Clinton White House issued a news release that mentioned he had been drafted— along with his Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

A year later, when Richardson was named Secretary of Energy, CNN reported he had been drafted.

“Pitching Around Fidel,” a 2002 book by Sports Illustrated senior writer S.L. Price, reconstructs a 1996 evening at a Havana ballpark where Fidel Castro chatted with Richardson, “once drafted by the Kansas City Athletics.”

When asked where he had obtained that description of Richardson’s past, Price said, “Richardson told me.”

Richardson now acknowledges, in response to Toby’s work, that it isn’t true.

One Comment

  1. Curve balls and Hatchet jobs on Governor Richardson in Baseball History

    Dear Editor:

    I thought I had witnessed the ultimate in newspaper hatchet jobs and curve balls in political journalism, but this latest “discovery” by the Albuquerque Journal that Bill Richardson was not drafted by Kansas City A’s ought to win some kind of new prize for “Absurd Political Journalism,” since this story even was printed in the New York Times!

    Forty years ago, drafts were discussed generally, hinted at, and not accompanied by clear cut contracts. The Governor’s recent biography makes this perfectly clear, and I believe that he truly believed that he had been drafted by them and several other teams. At that point, he was 19; who has not made any errors of judgment when they were 19?

    What Bill Richardson pitches to the New Mexico Legislature about health, elementary education, fiscal policies, environmental policies, higher education, consumer protection: these are a lot more important to me than ancient baseball history and whether the guy was drafted by the A’s or not.

    I abhor the astonishing fact that conservative papers across the nation has picked this up and even some have described it as if he had been caught in a lie. This is a dismal and failed attempt at character assassination.

    How about the other party’s leaders’ protracted and elaborate lies about Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction,” which were grandiloquently strewn forth in the United Nations General Assembly before the ill-informed invasion? Are Americans just supposed to forget about those really big lies which directly resulted in 2000 dead G.I.’s, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, and billions of wasted-unless-you-are-Halliburton dollars they have caused, while the entire nation is side-tracked by absurd articles on the Sports and political pages about Bill Richardson?

    Are these our new priorities in national politics and qualities of leadership?
    Let’s get really real here, folks, for a change!


    Stephen Fox
    Santa Fe

    for verification:

    217 W. Water
    Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
    505 983-2002

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