A man called Spiro

Maybe it's another urban legend but I heard it many years ago.

On this day in 1973, The Supreme Court was hearing some oral arguments, the Reds were playing the Mets in the National League Championship Series and the game was interrupted with the flash that Vice President Agnew had resigned.  The legend is that a clerk passed a note to one of the justices that went sort of like this:  Pete Rose crashed into Buddy Harrelson at second and Agnew resigned.  We don't know if that actually happened but it makes for a great story.

Spiro Agnew was elected governor of Maryland in the mid-1960s.   In 1968, Richard Nixon shocked the world by selecting him as VP on the GOP ticket.  "Spiro who?" was the talk of the land.   A few months later, they won a very close election but Governor Agnew did not deliver Maryland that year.   

Back then, many of my school friends started playing games saying that Spiro rhymed with Silvio.  It doesn't but VP Agnew and I do have strange names.   After all, how many people do you know named Silvio or Spiro?   There weren't many where I was hanging around.

During Nixon's first term, VP Agnew spoke around the country against antiwar demonstrators and the media.   He became very popular with "the Silent Majority" as President Nixon referred to people who worked, paid taxes, and loved their country.

The Nixon-Agnew ticket was reelected in 1972.  Nevertheless, the Nixon-Agnew relationship was never close but that's not unusual for a president and vice-president.  Agnew did deliver Maryland in 1972 but 49 states voted for President Nixon that year.

In 1973, we began to read stories of corruption.  First, the Justice Department uncovered widespread evidence of political corruption during Agnew's tenure as governor.  Secondly, there were stories of bribes during his tenure as vice president.

It all happened very quickly.  Within days, he resigned and was eventually replaced by VP Gerald Ford in December.  Later, he wrote a book presenting his defense but I don't think that it sold well.

Mr. Agnew wrote another book about a vice president a few years later titled The Canfield Decision.  It probably paid a few of his legal bills.  It was one of those books that I wanted to read but something more interesting came up,

It’s amazing how quickly he rose and fell, from an unknown Governor of Maryland to VP to disgrace.  Agnew died in 1996.

P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).

Image: US Gov

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