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Public Papers - 1989

Remarks to Polish Little League Baseball Players in Warsaw


Hey, listen, you guys sit down now! Everybody sit down. I'm not going to be that long, but it's more comfortable sitting.

First, I want to thank Ambassador and Mrs. Davis and Dr. Hale, who you just heard from -- Ann Kokoshko over here, who is the founder of the Polish Little League Foundation. And I really came to thank all of you, because I've been looking forward to this very much.

The Little League program has now come to Poland. And listen to these words from the Little League pledge: ``I trust in God. I love my country and will respect its laws. I will play fair to strive to win. But win or lose, I will always do my best.'' Remember those words, because their spirit is Poland's spirit.

You know, I don't know how closely you follow big league baseball in the United States, but I think of some great Polish-American ballplayers when I'm here today, legends in American sports: Ted Kluszewski, Greg Luzinski, Tony Kubek -- either he's pronouncing it wrong or I am -- I don't know which one. [Laughter] You remember the Niekro brothers? Does that ring a bell with any of you guys -- Phil and Joe? These are Polish guys. They won more games than any pair of brothers in big league history. I'm indebted to Rawlings for bringing this equipment. I want to thank the coaches that were here. And again, I want to thank Stan back here, of Windham, Connecticut, who is just -- his whole life is baseball.

You know, 13 days from now, in the United States, is a big day. For on that day, America's Baseball Hall of Fame will induct the first former Little Leaguer -- first guy to play Little League now going into the Hall of Fame. He's a Polish-American -- Carl Yastrzemski. [Laughter] He's a great ballplayer for the Boston Red Sox. We got any Red Sox uniforms? No, okay -- but anyway, a great player for the Red Sox. And in that Hall of Fame -- which is the big thing for our game -- he's joining three other Polish-Americans: Al Simmons, Stan Coveleski, and then Stan Musial. You know, he's been here in Poland. Last time I was here, I saw him here. That guy was already climbing toward Major League fame when the Little League began -- a humble winner, a gracious loser, a man of self-discipline and pride. And really, he became perhaps the most famous Polish-American athlete -- Stan Musial. And he put it very simply. He said: ``My greatest thrill was just putting on my uniform every day.''

So, I just came on over to wish you well. I hope you feel the same way about baseball as Stan Musial did. And I just have a wonderful feeling that if I don't see you in the Olympics, I'm going to see some of you guys in the big leagues in the United States.

Good luck to you. All right, let's go over there now. Who's the best pitcher out here? [Laughter]

Note: The President spoke at 4:22 p.m. on the patio of the U.S. Ambassador's residence. In his opening remarks, he referred to Creighton Hale, president of the U.S. Little League Foundation.

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