The 26th U.S. president and former assistant secretary of the Navy celebrates after winning his first race.

The 26th U.S. president and former assistant secretary of the Navy celebrates after winning his first race. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Nats mascot Teddy Roosevelt vindicated after 7-year drought

Victory comes after a pep talk from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

The Washington Nationals may have clinched their first division title on Monday night, but the real victory everyone in the capital city has been waiting for happened on Wednesday. After seven years and more than 500 victory-less races, the bumbling Teddy Roosevelt character won the Nationals famous fourth-inning presidents' race during the team’s last regular season game with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Roosevelt’s character -- which sports small reading specs and a giant half-crescent mustache on his cartoonishly large head and bulging chin -- crossed the finish line with a little help. After coming out of the gate with his usual lagging pace, a small mascot resembling the Phillie Phanatic emerged and toppled the three other racers: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.

Dressed in a red Under Armour headband and Usain Bolt-like gold shoes, Roosevelt ambled across the finish line for the win. Chants of "Teddy, Teddy," erupted as the mascot ripped off his shirt to reveal a red shirt reading "Natitude."

Roosevelt’s racing plight had come into focus this week. The Wall Street Journal ran a 1000-word piece over the weekend wondering if there was a widespread conspiracy keeping the former president from victory. Then on Monday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., went to the stadium and gave the mascot a pep talk.

"You are a victim of the vast left-wing conspiracy by the commie pinkos in this town," McCain said in his speech, which was played before Monday’s Nationals game against the Phillies. “But you can overcome that. You’re the Rough Rider at San Juan Hill, you’re the man in the arena.”

Minutes after Roosevelt secured the win, McCain Tweeted, "#Teddy won! #Teddy won! We’ve defeated the massive left wing conspiracy!" and #Teddyin2012 became a trending hashtag. What other event would inspire Underarmour to Tweet Teddy Roosevelt quotes?

Word is there was rare cheering in the Washington Post newsroom. And after years, the blog Let Teddy Win finally has vindication. 

"Relief, excitement,” Scott Ableman, the 48-year-old marketing executive behind the blog told the Washington Post. "When the Phillie Phanatic showed up, I knew he was gonna win. There was no way they would let the Phillie Phanatic take out Teddy Roosevelt."