Which candidates get donations from ballplayers?

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The post about the Ricketts family donating to Trump’s SuperPac got me thinking about baseball people and political donations on this slow afternoon. We’ve gone over this stuff before — all federal level donation information is public record at the FEC website — but it’s still fun to sift through.

You can search by employer and occupation if you want, and that’s where our fun starts. If you list a major league team under “employer,” you’ll usually find that owners and high-ranking executives make a lot of donations. Most of them are to Major League Baseball’s own political action committee, entitled “Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball Political Action Committee.” That’s what Rob Manfred, and Bud Selig before him, uses to influence government officials. Hey, an antitrust exemption isn’t going to maintain itself!

Of course there are a ton of individual campaign contributions as well. If you search “Atlanta Braves” under employer from 2010-2016 you see Hank Aaron gave to a congressional campaign, Bobby Cox gave to some PAC called “The 21st Century Majority Fund” and the Braves clubhouse manager gave $250 to Lindsay Graham’s campaign for some reason. Under the Yankees you see a lot of donations to Rudy Giuliani. Mark Teixeira maxed out to Marco Rubio last year. If you search for Alex Rodriguez you see he gave a bunch to George Bush in 2003 when he was with the Rangers and then to Giuliani after he was traded to the Yankees. He likes keeping it local.

You can search by occupation, too. This is more fun. For example, if you search “baseball player” you see that Lou Brock, employed by the Cardinals, doesn’t just say that he was a baseball player or that he’s a retired player. No, he says “Major League Baseball Player — HOF.” Hey, he earned it, he can identify himself however he wants to. That search also gives you Barry Zito, who have $2,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004. Back then Zito played for the A’s and had a reputation for being a free-spirit/zen master type who had not yet publicly identified himself as a Christian the way he did later in his career. If you had bet who he was voting for based on public personas in 2004, I figure most people would’ve figured that he was a lefty in more than just his pitching.

You can find broadcasters on the list too. You will not be surprised that Vin Scully, a man of a certain age who came to professional prominence and wealth in 1950s and 1960s California, supports Republican candidates. His counterpart on the Giants, Jon Miller, favors Democratic ones. The rivalry goes deep in so many ways.

There isn’t a lot up yet for the 2016 general election season. The reporting is quarterly and the information for the quarter that came after the conventions — third quarter 2016 — does not yet appear to be on the page. Indeed, only one search for “baseball player” gives you a result. And it’s not one you might expect. It’s a $2,700 donation to the Hillary Clinton campaign from . . . Jagger Rusconi. Don’t know who Jagger Rusconi is? I didn’t either so I had to look. Turns out he was the 5th round pick of the Red Sox last year who played in low-A ball this year. Minor leaguers don’t make a lot, but he got a signing bonus north of $300K — and his family all maxed out to the Clinton campaign too — so maybe there’s more going on there than some bus league kid reading the paper and getting inspired while playing for the Lowell Spinners. Maybe his whole family was radicalized and vowed to defeat the deplorable forces Clinton is telling everyone about.

On the other side of the aisle, however, is my favorite baseball-related entry in the entire FEC database. That’d be for Curt Schilling who, not surprisingly, is politically active. He has given a good deal over the years, most recently $250 to Trump. I’m a bigger fan of his donation last September to Ben Carson. It came just after Schilling was relieved of his Sunday Night Baseball duties for ESPN and appeared to be on thin ice with the bosses. He knew it too. Check out how he lists his employer and occupation:


Like him or hate him, at least he was honest on his donation form.