While watching the mid-game Presidents Race at Nationals Park, it wouldn’t be surprising if a fan thought, “hey, I wonder what the Nationals’ record is when Teddy wins”. A Reddit user with the handle of Constant_Gardner11 apparently had the same thought, and combed through ten seasons of data to find out the Nationals’ record for each president’s victory. The results were pretty tight, but the advantage went not to the unlucky Teddy Roosevelt, but George Washington.
Constant_Gardner11’s analysis, which was generated from data compiled by the Let Teddy Win (yes, that’s a real thing) blog, reveals that the Nationals have a 121-98 record (good for a .553 winning percentage) during games where Washington wins the Presidents Race. Abraham Lincoln comes in second at 154-135 (a .533 winning percentage), followed by Roosevelt (43-39, .524) and closely by Thomas Jefferson (102-93, .523).
The breakdown also finds that when a non-core president wins the race (which includes William Howard Taft, Calvin Coolidge, Chester A. Arthur, and Herbert Hoover, along with Nationals mascot Screech and former outfielder Jayson Werth), the team has a 50-22 record, which is a ridiculous .694 winning percentage. For context, the Los Angeles Dodgers had the best home record in baseball last year, going 57-24 and winning games at a .704 clip.
However, the data is somewhat misleading. Roosevelt infamously didn’t win a race for the first four years of the Presidents Race, meaning that when the Nationals stunk from 2008-2011, he wasn’t getting dinged at all for the team’s awful performance. Starting with the 2012 season, when Roosevelt won his first race, the Nationals have their worst record when he wins – the team’s winning percentage during Lincoln’s wins is .593, .588 during Jefferson’s wins, and .583 during Washington’s wins. The .524 winning percentage during Teddy’s wins lags far behind!
Another interesting note is related to the non-core presidents – the team performed much better when Coolidge, Hoover, and Taft won races. During 2015, Coolidge’s lone season as a racing president, the Nationals went 8-4 when he won races, a .667 winning percentage. Hoover’s lone year as a racing president came in 2016, and the Nats went 9-1 (a .900 winning percentage) when he won. Finally, Taft served as a racing president from 2013-16, and the team’s 29-17 record during his victories translated to a .630 winning percentage, quite impressive given the larger sample compared to Coolidge and Hoover.
The result of the Presidents Race quite obviously has no impact on the result of the game itself. There’s no causation between Teddy winning and the Nationals losing. But if you’re a superstitious Nationals fan, maybe cheer for any president *except* Teddy during the Presidents Race in 2018.