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Heroes with Humble Beginnings with author F. Mike Kail '67 BA, '70 LLB
Tuesday, June 08, 2021, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM EDT
Category: Events


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Yale Club of DC Event


Examine the humble beginnings of some of the greatest ballplayers, movie stars and Presidents of all time: 

A Conversation with F. Michael Kail '67 BA, '70 LLB


Tuesday, June 8, 2021


This meeting will be conducted on Zoom.  Instructions will be provided upon registration

Please join the Yale Club of Washington, DC for a conversation with F Mike Kail author of "Heroes with Humble Beginnings".  Many of you will be familiar with the people he profiles.  Fascinated by ballplayers and Presidents in his younger years, Mike went on to study movie actors. Who are your most admired ballplayers, movie actors, and Presidents? 

We are a nation of underdogs, founded by immigrants seeking a better life. This book reminds us of the humble beginnings of some of the greatest ballplayers, movie actors and Presidents of all time, men who faced adversities growing up and who, in overcoming them, gave credence to the American Dream. 

Mike Kail has taken his obsession with underdogs and followed it down many trails. By introducing the reader to one fascinating story after another, he shows us how those underdog narratives connect and helps us understand the backgrounds, talents, and flaws that drive people to overcome the odds.

What these men have in common is what they lacked growing up: economic comfort and social status, as well as other difficulties: parents who died or were estranged, alcoholism, racism, religious bigotry and abuse.  In these respects, all were underdogs. 

Henry Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Josh Gibson, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

James Cagney, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, Sidney Poitier and John Wayne.

Bill Clinton, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, and Ronald Reagan

“Heroes” tells the stories of 21 boys who became American icons.  It introduces you to their relatives, their friends and mentors.  It talks about the places they lived, the food they ate and the clothes they wore.  It lets you know what they did in school and after school and identifies the high and low points of their childhoods.  It also notes any youthful hints of their future fame.

The author suggests our fascination with underdogs is rooted in the fairy tales and Bible stories we heard as children, reinforced by our subliminal understanding of the country’s underdog roots.

Come hear Mike examine how humble beginnings did not get in the way of achievement for these towering ballplayers, movie actors and presidents.  While the skills that make for greatness in these careers could not be more different, come learn what these men have in common.  Their success against the odds helps explain our continued belief in the American Dream.

David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize winning biographer, wrote the Foreword to the book, which received advance praise from Chris Matthews, host of “Hardball,” Ann Hornaday, the Washington Post’s chief movie critic, Tim Kurkjian, ESPN’s senior baseball analyst, and Yale’s own Karl Marlantes, ’67, author of Matterhorn.

Support the Yale Club of Washington, DC

The Yale Club of Washington, DC offers this event to our members and alumni.  However, we do ask for your support in one or both of the following ways: 

1)      Please become a member if you are not one already

2)      Donate to the Yale Club of Washington, DC (see option on registration page). 

Membership dues and donations are both critical income sources for the Club, which enable Club operations, programs, and financial viability.


Contact: Robert Cole ([email protected])