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.
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. 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' season in 1921.
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 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 Dwight David Eisenhower gets the baseball season underway in Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C., on April 13, 1954.
President John F. Kennedy throws the opening pitch at Griffith Stadium on April 10, 1961.
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 Senators' season opener.
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 Bill Clinton throws out the ceremonial first pitch on April 2, 1996, at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
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 Nationals home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 5, 2010.