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Nixon or Van Buren? Our Picks for Nats’ Newest Racing President

The Washington Nationals organization announced Thursday that a yet-to-be-named, fifth president will be added to the much-adored fourth-inning spectacle that is the Presidents Race.

Since 2005, the four former presidents whose likenesses are plastered on Mount Rushmore — George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt — have raced along the warning track of Nationals Park during the fourth inning as adoring fans cheer them on.

Teddy always seemed to come up short. That is until the Nats’ storybook 2012 season, in which the team made it to the playoffs for the first time in 79 years and got all the way to Game 5 of the National League Division Series. The historic run proved to be the good luck charm Teddy needed to pull out a “curly W,” thus ending his nearly eight-season-long dry spell … and the Teddy storyline.

So on Saturday, the Nats will announce which former president will be added to the mix to create a fresh narrative.

HOH is positively brimming with excitement for the potential many of the 41 former figureheads hold in adding to this Washington tradition. Here are our top picks to spice up the race:

Richard Nixon: The notoriously sweaty politician, who remains the only president to ever resign from office after being disgraced by the Watergate scandal, would likely have a litany of “dirty tricks” to pull out of his sleeve during races. Some say cheaters never prosper, but HOH thinks watching a cheater would be fun.

William H. Taft: The 27th president is known for his girth. And he’s notorious for getting stuck in a bath tub at the White House and having to be removed by a team of six men. If nothing else, the dozens of races he’d be forced to train for would help slim down that 300-plus-pound frame.

William Henry Harrison: Looking to show the country that he was a tough guy from the Northwest Territory, Harrison delivered a two-hourlong inaugural address on a particularly cold and wet day, sans an overcoat or hat. Like his mother had likely warned, Harrison got pneumonia from the stunt and died just 32 days after he had taken the oath of office. The best part about Harrison’s potential part in the Presidents Race? If we hate him, we can kill him off six weeks into the season. Problem solved!

Ronald Reagan: We’ve already named a gazillion Washington, D.C., buildings after the guy – Reagan National Airport, the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, the Ronald Wilson Reagan Republican Center, the Ronald Reagan Institute of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University Hospital. A running president is the next logical step.

Martin Van Buren: Let’s face it. We’re a sucker for awesome facial hair. Van Buren had the greatest sideburns of all time. Who wouldn’t want to see that racing down the field?

The Nationals will make their official announcement of who the new racing prez will be at Nats Fest on Saturday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center between noon and 4 p.m. We’ll be waiting with bated breath, but in the meantime, tell us who you want to see as the fifth man in the race in the comments below.

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