Baseball's Opening Day and the Presidents Who Threw Out the Pitches

Nearly every president since Taft has tossed the first pitch on opening day.

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President George H.W. Bush throws out the ceremonial first pitch to mark the start of the 1989 baseball season at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium on April 3, 1989.

On the opening day of the Major League Baseball season in 1910, President William Howard Taft threw a baseball from the stands at Washington, D.C.'s Griffith Stadium, and a tradition was born.

Since then, every president except Jimmy Carter has tossed the ceremonial first pitch at least once throughout his presidency to open a new season.

[PHOTOS: Historic Presidential Pitches]

Franklin Delano Roosevelt holds the record for most opening day pitches, having opened eight seasons between 1933 and 1941 (missing out in 1939 and throughout America's involvement in WWII). Warren G. Harding and John F. Kennedy never missed an opener during their three-year presidencies. George H.W. Bush (former captain of Yale's baseball team) also gets a perfect score for participating in openers, as does fellow one-termer Herbert Hoover. Harry Truman holds a nearly perfect record, participating in seven of the eight openers that occurred during his presidency (he missed out in 1945 because he'd been in office less than a week, so he gets a pass for that one. Plus the nation was still at war.) Dwight David Eisenhower also participated in seven out of eight openers throughout his two terms.

As teams hit the field to open the 2013 season, take a look back at some memorable ceremonial first pitches by presidents.


President William Howard Taft throws out a ceremonial first pitch for the Washington Senators in 1912.

President William Howard Taft throws out a ceremonial first pitch for the Washington Senators in 1912. He missed the opener that year due to the death of a close friend on the Titanic days earlier.

President Warren G. Harding throws out the first ball to open the Washington Senators' baseball season in 1921. (AP)

President Warren G. Harding throws out the first ball to open the Washington Senators' season in 1921.

In this April 14, 1936 photo, President Franklin D. Roosevelt prepares to throw the traditional first pitch in Washington.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt prepares to throw the traditional first pitch in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1936.

President Harry Truman follows through with the first pitch of the baseball season on April 18, 1949, before the Washington Senators took the field for their opening game.

President Harry Truman follows through with the first pitch of the season on April 18, 1949, before the Washington Senators took the field. A year later, the ambidextrous Truman became the first president to pitch with both his right and left arms. 

President Eisenhower throws the opening day pitche to get the baseball season underway in Griffith Stadium, on April 13, 1954.

President Dwight David Eisenhower gets the baseball season underway in Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C., on April 13, 1954.

President John F. Kennedy makes the throw to open the big league baseball season at Griffith Stadium in Washington on April 10, 1961.

President John F. Kennedy throws the opening pitch at Griffith Stadium on April 10, 1961.

President Lyndon Johnson throws out the first ball to open the American League baseball season on April 13, 1964, at the opening game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Washington Senators.

President Lyndon B. Johnson throws the opening day pitch on April 13, 1964, at a game between the Los Angeles Angels and Washington Senators.

President Richard Nixon throws out the ceremonial first pitch on April 7, 1969, ahead of the Washington Senator season opener.

President Richard Nixon throws out the ceremonial first pitch on April 7, 1969, ahead of the Washington Senators' season opener.

President George Bush reacts at his less than perfect pitch on April 6, 1992, to open the first regular season game in the new Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

President George H.W. Bush reacts to his less than perfect pitch in the Baltimore Orioles' new ballpark Camden Yards on April 6, 1992.

President Clinton throws out the ceremonial first pitch on April 2, 1996, at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

President Bill Clinton throws out the ceremonial first pitch on April 2, 1996, at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

President Bush throws out the first ceremonial pitch to open Miller Park, the new stadium of the Milwaukee Brewers, during opening day ceremonies on April 6, 2001.

President George W. Bush throws out the ceremonial first pitch to open Miller Park, the new stadium of the Milwaukee Brewers, during opening day ceremonies on April 6, 2001.

Wearing a Washington Nationals jacket and a Chicago White Sox hat, President Barack Obama delivers the first pitch of the Washington Nationals home opening baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 5, 2010, at Nationals Park in Washington.

Wearing a Washington Nationals jacket and a Chicago White Sox hat, President Barack Obama delivers the first pitch of the Nationals home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 5, 2010.

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