Last week, it was announced that
President Obama will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on April 5, at
the Washington National’s season opener.
“I am proud that President Obama will continue the long
presidential tradition of throwing out the first pitch of opening day
in Washington, D.C.,” baseball commissioner Bud Selig said. (from ESPN)
This will be the first time the president will be attending a game at
Nationals Park. However, it is not the first time he has tossed the
first pitch at a ballgame.
Last year, the president, a Chicago White Sox fan, raised eyebrows
when he showed up at the All-Star game sporting a White Sox jacket.
PRESIDENTIAL FIRST PITCH FIRSTS
President Obama’s appearance marks the 48th time that a president has
thrown out the first pitch in Washington.
The first president to do so was William Howard Taft, in 1910.
President Woodrow Wilson had the honor in 1913, 1915, and in 1916. In
1914, the president declined because of a diplomatic situation that was
developing between the United States and Mexico (Veracruz
Incident). The speaker of the house took his place that year,
The first to throw the first pitch outside of Washington, D.C., was
President Richard Nixon on Friday, April 6, 1973, in Anaheim. The
California Angels beat the Kansas City Royals, 3-2.
The first south-paw to make the toss was President Harry Truman in
President Ronald Reagan threw two
pitches at Wrigley Field prior to the Cubs game. He then joined the
radio broadcast for an inning and a half. Reagan, a former
play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Cubs in Des Moines, Iowa with WHO
Radio, would recreate games for his audience based on teletype reports.
In 1993, Bill Clinton became the first president to successfully
pitch from the mound. Baltimore lost their opener to Texas, 7-4.
President George W. Bush was the first to throw the first pitch in
Nationals Park on March 30, 2008.
In addition to presidents, there have been twelve people who have
first-pitch entries on their resumes: Five vice-presidents; one speaker
of the house; one commissioner of the District of Columbia; one MLB
commissioner; one army general; one former prisoner of war; and one
In addition to presidents, local dignitaries and sports figures,
among other notable persons are usually asked to throw out the first
pitch for regular season games.
When I’m keeping score at Detroit Tigers game, I always note
somewhere on the scorecard who threw out the first pitch. If you are
keeping an accurate record of a game, it is as important as noting the
first hit or run scored.
The ceremonial first pitch is rich in tradition, as is the game