Bush League

1991-92 Upper Deck card #47 – White House Welcome

George Bush & Mario LemieuxToday is Election Day in the United States. No matter who wins the vote for President of the United States – though I pray it is Barack Obama – at least it can no longer be George W. Bush. Needless to say, the last eight years under “W” were not the greatest of times – from the 9/11 Attacks in 2001 to the economy being in the worst shape since the Great Depression, to fighting wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Anyway, all this hatin’ on George W. Bush got me thinking about his dad, George H.W. Bush, who was President from 1989 to 1992. The elder Bush actually appears on a hockey card in the 1991-92 Upper Deck set. Championship teams from all sports are usually invited for a White House visit, and hockey is no exception. In June 1992, the Penguins got to visit the White House, as chronicled on this trading card.

On the front of the card, you see Penguins team captain Mario Lemieux presenting a Pens jersey to a smiling George Bush Sr. In his left hand, the President is holding a miniature replica of the Stanley Cup. In the background stands Penguins players Joey Mullen, Kevin Stevens and Bryan Trottier among others.

The back of the card details the Penguins visit, but for some reason Upper Deck had a complete anarchist design the card, as the text is very small and is placed over a textured background, making it very hard to read. However, for your reading pleasure, I have typed out what the card has to say:

The Pittsburgh Penguins capped their Stanley Cup championship season with a visit to the White House and a meeting with President George Bush on Monday, June 24, 1991. Players, coaches and management assembled in the Rose Garden of the White House where they were joined by the President. Club Chairman Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. presented President Bush with a miniature replica of the Stanley Cup and Mario Lemieux gave him a Penguins jersey bearing the number two, the same number Bush wore when he played first base for Yale University. The President congratulated the Penguins on their Stanley Cup win and also made special mention of the club’s volunteer work on behalf of the Ashley Barrasso Cancer Research Fund. Bush then invited goaltender Tom Barrasso, his wife Megan and their three-year old daughter Ashley into the Oval Office to meet Mrs. Bush. Inside the White House, Ashley also had a chance to play with Millie, the Bush’s family dog.

George Bush Hockey CardI wonder if the writer got paid by the word to pen this utter drivel. I mean, come on! “The President congratulated the Penguins for their Stanley Cup win.” You think?!?! Too bad nothing interesting ever happens during these presidential visits, like Jaromir Jagr being mistaken for a KGB Agent, or the President puking on Phil Bourque during lunch, or Ulf Samuelson suffering a career-ending knee injury while playing horseshoes with the President. Unfortunately, none of this happened on either of the Penguins two White House visits.

Last summer, Topps inserted cards of Presidential Candidates in packs of their baseball cards – but those were insert cards of candidates. And who the hell buys baseball cards anymore? This card here may be the only time a U.S. President has appeared on a sports card, hockey or otherwise.

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Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

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