It’s President’s Day, a time to reflect back and celebrate those who have served as Chief Executive of this great country. We here at The Hardball Network only think about baseball, though. So, we put together a list of our favorite presidential moments in baseball history.
William Howard Taft Throws Out the First Pitch
On April 14, 1910, William Howard Taft became the first President to throw out the ceremonial first pitch from the stands of Washington’s Griffith Stadium. Taft hit the legendary Washington Senators pitcher, Walter Johnson, on one bounce, and the rest is history. Presidential first pitches have been a part of baseball ever since.
President George W. Bush Throws Out the First pitch in New York
It was October 30, 2001, New York City, the World Series, and the nation was still mourning after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Step onto the mound President George W. Bush. With the weight of a country on his shoulders, President Bush was to deliver a first pitch of defiance heard around the country. No pressure, right? Well, enter New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter who met with the President beforehand and offered a warning, “Don’t bounce it, they’ll boo you.” Well, the President didn’t bounce it, firing the most important presidential first pitch ever, a perfect strike right down the middle of the plate.
Ronald Reagan Tosses Two at Wrigley
Before his acting career, Ronald Reagan, was once a radio broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs doing play-by-play for WHO radio in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1988, he returned to Wrigley Field to throw out the first pitch as the Cubs prepared to play the Pirates. The best part? Harry Carey was absolutely beside himself as were the thousands in attendance. After throwing his ceremonial first pitch” high and inside,” Reagan requested a second throw to the delight of Harry Carey and everyone in attendance. When you are as popular as Reagan was you get to throw out two first pitches.
Obama Stays Loyal to His White Sox
Usually, President’s stay neutral when it comes to first pitches or they stand on the mound dawning the home teams apparel. That is unless you are President Barack Obama who in 2010, stood on the mound at Nationals Park wearing a Nationals Jacket, then whipped out his beloved White Sox cap and put it on. Let’s just say this did not go over so well with some of the hometown fans. Neither did his wild throw. We though, respect those who stay loyal to their teams. Sometimes it’s just not about votes.
FDR gives the “Green Light,” to play ball
After the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States entrance into World War II, baseball owners were unsure how to plan for the upcoming season. Would baseball even be played at all? On January 15, 1942, President Roosevelt wrote to Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis the “Green Light Letter,” giving the professional baseball league the ok to continue playing ball. Roosevelt felt that baseball would be a welcomed distraction for Americans from the fighting overseas. He even advocated for more night games so people could attend games after work. The “Green Light Letter,” solidified baseball’s role during wartime in America.
John F. Kennedy Names an Undersecretary of Baseball
John F. Kennedy loved his Boston Red Sox yet, as President his duties never allowed him to attend a Red Sox home game at Fenway Park. So, what do you do when you are President of the United States? You appoint your staffer, in this case, Dave Powers, as “Undersecretary of Baseball,” charged with keeping the President up to date with the latest scores and stats of the day’s games. Undersecretary of Baseball! We want that job!
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