Best of Columbus 2022: Sherrod Brown vs. Mike DeWine, Clash of the Elected Baseball Fans

Lots of politicians claim to love America’s pastime. Ohio’s governor and this U.S. senator really do.

Dave Ghose
Columbus Monthly

Two Ohio politicians stand above the fray as true baseball fans. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Gov. Mike DeWine don’t have much in common politically—and they even ran against each other in 2006—but they share a deeply rooted passion for the traditions, history and intricacies of America’s pastime.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown

Sherrod Brown

Favorite team: Cleveland Guardians

Favorite player: Brown declined to respond to Columbus Monthly’s questions, but he often publicly praises Larry Doby, the first Black player in the American League and the recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal thanks to Brown and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman.

Lineage: Brown’s father, Dr. Charles Brown, taught his son to love Cleveland baseball. “This team has been a part of my life since my dad started taking my brothers and me to Municipal Stadium to see Rocky Colavito and Leon Wagner and Sam McDowell and Mudcat Grant and Tito Francona,” Brown said in 2021.

Peeve: The New York Yankees. “My email address is ‘damnyankees,’ I hate ’em so much,” Brown was quoted in a 2007 Cleveland Magazine article. “I told my kids, ‘Just don’t grow up a Yankees fan or a Republican.’ ”

Stand: In a 2008 Washington Post op-ed, Brown called for Marvin Miller, the former leader of the Major League Baseball Players Association, to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Fun fact: Brown sent a handwritten note to Columbus Alive contributor Kevin Elliott, praising an April 2021 story he wrote about Ohio baseball history and meeting DeWine in Cooperstown in 2012. “Loved your baseball piece,” Brown wrote. “Can you help Cleveland find a leadoff hitter?”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

Mike DeWine

Favorite team: Cincinnati Reds

Favorite player: “As a boy, my favorite player was Johnny Temple,” DeWine tells Columbus Monthly. “My favorite all-time players are in this order: Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Chris Sabo and Jim O’Toole.”

Lineage: DeWine also learned to love baseball and the Reds from his father, Dick. “Dad was always so proud and excited that pitchers and catchers reported to spring training each year on his birthday,” DeWine wrote in a February 2021 Facebook post on what would have been his father’s 98th birthday.

Peeve: The designated hitter. “It’s bad. Fans can no longer argue whether a manager was right in pinch-hitting for the pitcher or right in letting the pitcher bat. It eliminates a strategic decision.”

Stand: In a January 2020 letter to Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, DeWine called a plan to eliminate 42 minor league teams a “horrible business decision.” DeWine’s family owns the Asheville Tourists, an affiliate of the Houston Astros.

Fun fact: DeWine makes a cameo in an ESPN documentary about Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Wearing a Reds cap and holding a camera, DeWine is seen in the stands at Busch Stadium behind Roger Maris’ son, Richard, as McGwire hit his 61st home run.

This story is from the July 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.