April 26, 2005

WHY BE PRESIDENT? (via Glenn Dryfoos):

Opening Day in Washington, D.C. (MLB.com, 10/01/04)

Each Major League Club has its own unique celebration to mark the opening of the Major League Baseball season, but Opening Day in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., was always a special and sometimes historic event.

Washington, D.C.'s Opening Day tradition dates back to April 14, 1910. William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States, attended the home opener of the Washington Senators against the Philadelphia Athletics. Numerous other government officials including Vice President James Sherman and Charley Bennett, secretary of the U.S. Senate, joined President Taft at the ballpark.

An overflow crowd of 12,000 fans - the largest baseball crowd in Washington at that time - gave President Taft an enormous standing ovation as he made his way to his seats on the first base side. Senators team president Thomas C. Noyes then took the two managers - Washington's Jimmy McAleer and Philadelphia's legendary Connie Mack - to meet the President.

Just prior to the start of the game, umpire Billy Evans walked over to President Taft's box and presented him with a new baseball. Evans instructed President Taft that he was to throw the ball from his seat in the stands to Senators pitcher Walter Johnson, who was standing at home plate, to officially commence the start of the American League championship season. After giving the ball briefly to First Lady Helen Taft, the President adjusted his gloves and made a good throw to Johnson, who immediately gave the ball to catcher Charles Street to have it secured in a safe place.

President Taft watched the entire game, a 3-0 Washington victory in which Johnson hurled a one-hit, complete game shutout. After the game, Johnson sent the historic ball to the White House accompanied by a note to President Taft asking for his autograph on the ball. President Taft returned the ball after penning the following on it:

"For Walter Johnson, with the hope that he may continue to be as formidable as in yesterday's game. William H. Taft." [...]

The only President to never throw out a ceremonial first pitch at an Opening Day game was Jimmy Carter.


Posted by Orrin Judd at April 26, 2005 11:48 PM

Ted Turner was perceived as a boorish conservative buffoon at the time Carter was in office. Had he been the anti-Christian, Fidel-loving goofball he is today, Jimmy would have been flying down to Georgia every April to throw out the first pitch for Ted's Atlanta Braves.

Posted by: John at April 27, 2005 1:12 AM

The only President to never throw out a ceremonial first pitch at an Opening Day game was Jimmy Carter.

I have no respect for the man.

Posted by: Mike Morley at April 27, 2005 6:50 AM
« TURN THE OTHER: | Main | TIME FOR A REDEAL (via Tom Corcoran): »