Sunday, November 05, 2006

November 5th, 1940

William Byron Elected

William Byron was a Democratic Maryland politician who served, among other things, as Mayor of a small Maryland town and a State Senator for Maryland. Most prominently he served as a Representative for a little over two years before his death in a plane crash at which point he was replaced via a special election with his wife.

This is appropriate insofar as we're in election season, but what does any of it have to do with baseball? The relevant matter is Byron's opponent in his election for Congress: Walter Johnson. Johnson wasn't a total political neophyte having been elected as county commissioner for the area in which he lived in 1938. When it came to Congress however, the "Big Train" found that his limited experience, gentlemanly bearing and residual game from his baseball career--he had been elected as part of the first Hall of Fame class only four years earlier--was not enough. The election was nonetheless close, as Johnson managed to draw 47% of the vote in defeat.

There are a handful of sports related figures on the ballot this year including Lynn Swann and George Allen, son of the like-named Redskins' coach. I suppose those candidates can only hope voters respond more to them than they did to the Big Train.

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