Charles Way, Natrone Means on All-Congress Team

Sat, Jun 18

It's time to put the partisan bickering aside, and in Washington, about the only thing that can do that consistently is golf. The game's uniting benefits, forged by the frequent suffering of most participants, are said to be among the reasons that Congressional Country Club was founded in the 1920s.

Congressional is hosting this week's U.S. Open, an event enjoyed by Democrats and Republicans alike. At 156 strong, the field is almost as large as the GOP's list of presidential challengers for 2012. Should we go ahead with the All-Congress Team? Without objection, it is so ordered.

Herman Franks: And so do all 535 members of Congress. "Franking," in their case, refers to unfettered, free access to the U.S. postal service for all official business. It's one of the perks of the job and one of the reasons cited for incumbents' propensity to win re-election. Herman Franks didn't have that much job security, but he did win 88 or more games in each of his four seasons as Giants manager, and the 81-81 finish by his 1977 Cubs was the franchise's best record between 1973-83.

Lyndon Johnson: As an assistant coach, Johnson, a new member of the University of Maryland's football staff, doesn't wield the same degree of power that his more famous namesake did. But who does? Lyndon Baines Johnson, a 6-foot-4 Texan, is said to have agitated, irritated and terrified more fellow U.S. Senators than anybody before or since. And he only served two terms there.

Vance Law: Known as "The Long Arm of the Law" for his throwing ability around the infield, the veteran of 1,212 MLB games actually made seven appearances on the mound. That's the second most of any player whose primary position is not as a pitcher since 1971, and the work wasn't without distinction. Law allowed three earned runs in eight innings in those seven appearances.

Rayburn Rainbolt: Like former Senator Sam Rayburn, Rainbolt was tied to Texas, working for five Rangers farm teams in a seven-year pro career. That's about the extent of their common ground. Rayburn Rainbolt presumably liked baseball. Sam Rayburn didn't. At least he didn't in 1958, when he abolished the Senate's Democrats vs. Republicans game because he felt play was getting too rough. It resumed four years later.

Charles Way and Natrone Means: Put the names of these two former NFL running backs together and you've got one of the most powerful panels in the world. The House Ways and Means Committee, the point of origin of all tax legislation, is so important and time-consuming that its members can't belong to any other committee without getting special permission from their party leadership. Way, who played for the Giants, and Means, a former Charger (and Jaguar and Panther), represented the geographical diversity as pros that any high-profile House committee seeks.