Taft, Roosevelt, and the Republican Nomination


  Cartoonist:  Frank Nankivell
  Source:  Puck
  Date:  March 4, 1908

Click to see a large version of this cartoon...

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This cartoon shows President Theodore Roosevelt as the real force behind the presidential candidacy of Secretary of War William Howard Taft. The image reflects Roosevelt’s well-known enthusiasm for sports by depicting him as a basketball player and pokes fun at Taft’s weight (about 300 pounds) by portraying him as the ball. The meaning of the acronym “B. S. A. C.” is unknown.

Dr. James Naismith developed the sport of basketball at a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. The first game was first played in December 1891, when two teams of nine young men tried to throw a soccer ball into one of two peach baskets (thus giving the sport its name). Two years later, a company began marketing metal hoops with hammock-like baskets, which were closed at the bottom (as in this cartoon). The balls had to be retrieved after each basket (“goal”) by someone on a ladder until open nets became the norm around 1912. In 1895, the size of teams was reduced to five and backboards were introduced. Players were not allowed to dribble the ball until 1910 and not shoot after dribbling until 1916. There were 88 college teams by the early 1900s and 366 by 1914.













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