Ceremonial first pitch: Wikis

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President Woodrow Wilson throwing out the ceremonial first ball, opening day, 1916
President Richard Nixon tossing out first pitch, at Washington Senators' opening game with New York in Washington, D.C. in 1969.
President Ronald Reagan throwing out the first pitch for the first 1988 Chicago Cubs game
President George W. Bush tossing out the ceremonial first pitch for Game 3 of the 2001 World Series

The ceremonial first ball is a longstanding ritual of American baseball in which a guest of honor throws a ball to mark the end of pregame festivities and the start of the game. Originally, the guest threw a ball from his/her place in the grandstand to the pitcher or catcher of the home team. At some point, this morphed into the guest standing in front of the pitcher's mound and throwing towards (but rarely reaching) home plate, though sometimes he or she may stand on the mound (as a pitcher would). The recipient of the pitch is usually a player from the home team.

The ceremonial thrower may be a notable person (dignitary, celebrity, former player, etc.) who is in attendance, an executive from a company that sponsors the team (especially when that company has sponsored that night's promotional giveaway), or a person who won the first pitch opportunity as a contest prize. Often, especially in the minor leagues, multiple first pitches are made. Kenny Chesney has thrown out the fist pitch for the Oakland A's and Boston Red Sox. Famous basketball player Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett has thrown out the first pitch for the Boston Red Sox. Nick Lachey threw out the fist pitch on opening day 2009 for the Cincinnati Reds. Frank Robinson threw out the first pitch for the Cincinnati Reds for the Civil Rights Game. Actor Matthew McConaughey threw out the first pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009. ESPN Analyst Kirt Herbstreit threw out the first pitch for the Cincinnati Reds in 2009. Jerrod Johnson has thrown thrown the first pitch for the Houston Astros. Also, basketball star Dwight Howard has done it for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Presidents and first balls or pitches

Former Japanese Prime Minister Okuma Shigenobu was the first person to throw a ceremonial first pitch, doing so at a 1908 game in Koshien Japan.[1]

President William Howard Taft started the American tradition in 1910 at Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C., on the Washington Senators' Opening Day. Every President since Taft, with the exception of Jimmy Carter, has thrown out at least one ceremonial first ball or pitch, either for Opening Day, the All-Star Game, or the World Series, usually with much fanfare.[2]

Opening Day First Balls or Pitches
Year Thrower Home team Ballpark Score Notes
1910 William Howard Taft Washington Senators National Park Win, 3-0 First Opening Day ball
1911 William Howard Taft Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 8-5
1912 Vice President James S. Sherman Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 6-0 Taft did not attend because of the death of his friend Archibald Butt in the Titanic disaster.
1913 Woodrow Wilson Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 2-1
1914 Speaker of the House Champ Clark Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 0-5 Wilson declined to attend because of the Veracruz incident.
1915 Woodrow Wilson Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 7-0
1916 Woodrow Wilson Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 12-4
1917 Vice President Thomas Marshall Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 4-6 Wilson did not attend because of World War I.
1918 Louis Brownlow, Commissioner of the District of Columbia Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 3-6 Wilson did not attend because of World War I.
1919 General Peyton C. March Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 1-0 Wilson was attending the Paris Peace Conference.
1920 Vice President Thomas Marshall Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 8-5 Wilson did not attend because of his 1919 stroke
1921 Warren Harding Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 3-6 First loss for the Senators with a President throwing out the first ball.
1922 Warren Harding Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 6-5
1923 Warren Harding Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 2-1 Harding also threw out the first ball in the New York Yankees opening game, two days before
1924 Calvin Coolidge Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 4-0
1925 Calvin Coolidge Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 10-1
1926 None Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 1-0 Coolidge did not attend because of the recent death of his father
1927 Calvin Coolidge Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 6-2
1928 Calvin Coolidge Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 5-7
1929 Herbert Hoover Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 4-13
1930 Herbert Hoover Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 3-4
1931 Herbert Hoover Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 3-5
1932 Herbert Hoover Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 1-0
1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 4-1
1934 Franklin D. Roosevelt Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 0-5
1935 Franklin D. Roosevelt Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 3-4
1936 Franklin D. Roosevelt Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 1-0
1937 Franklin D. Roosevelt Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 3-4
1938 Franklin D. Roosevelt Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 12-8
1939 None Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 3-6 Roosevelt attended a family gathering instead of the game.
1940 Franklin D. Roosevelt Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 0-1 Roosevelt's pitch hit a Washington Post camera.[1]
1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 0-3
1942 None Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 0-7 Roosevelt did not attend because of World War II
1943 None Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 7-5 Roosevelt did not attend because of World War II
1944 None Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 2-3 Roosevelt did not attend because of World War II
1945 None Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 0-3 Harry Truman did not attend because of World War II
1946 Harry Truman Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 3-6 First left-handed thrower
1947 Harry Truman Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 0-7
1948 Harry Truman Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 4-12
1949 Harry Truman Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 3-2
1950 Harry Truman Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 8-7 Truman threw out two balls, one left-handed and one right-handed.
1951 Harry Truman Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 5-3
1952 Harry Truman Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 0-3
1953 Dwight Eisenhower Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 3-6 Eisenhower skipped Opening Day to play golf at Augusta National, but the game was postponed by rain and he threw out the first ball at the rescheduled game.
1954 Dwight Eisenhower Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 5-3
1955 Dwight Eisenhower Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 12-5
1956 Dwight Eisenhower Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 4-6
1957 Dwight Eisenhower Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 6-7
1958 Dwight Eisenhower Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 5-2
1959 Dwight Eisenhower Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 7-6
1960 Dwight Eisenhower Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Win, 10-1
1961 John F. Kennedy expansion Washington Senators Griffith Stadium Loss, 3-4
1962 John F. Kennedy Washington Senators D.C. Stadium Win, 4-1 First ball in new stadium
1963 John F. Kennedy Washington Senators D.C. Stadium Loss, 1-3
1964 Lyndon Johnson Washington Senators D.C. Stadium Loss, 0-4
1965 Lyndon Johnson Washington Senators D.C. Stadium Loss, 2-7
1966 None Washington Senators D.C. Stadium Loss, 2-5 Johnson did not attend.
1967 Lyndon Johnson Washington Senators D.C. Stadium Loss, 0-8
1968 Vice President Hubert Humphrey Washington Senators D.C. Stadium Loss, 0-2 Opening Day was delayed because of the assassination of Martin Luther King, leaving Johnson unable to attend.
1969 Richard Nixon Washington Senators RFK Stadium Loss, 4-8
1970 David Eisenhower Washington Senators RFK Stadium Loss, 0-5 Nixon was delayed and arrived in the 5th inning; his son-in-law David Eisenhower (grandson of the former President) threw out the first ball.
1971 David Pitzer Washington Senators RFK Stadium Win, 8-0 Nixon was unable to attend. Sgt. David Pitzer, a former Prisoner of War, threw out the first ball.
1973 Richard Nixon California Angels Anaheim Stadium Win, 3-2 First Opening Day held outside of Washington, D.C.
1976 Gerald Ford Texas Rangers Arlington Stadium Win, 2-1
1984 Ronald Reagan Baltimore Orioles Memorial Stadium Loss, 2-5
1986 Ronald Reagan Baltimore Orioles Memorial Stadium Loss, 4-6
1988 Ronald Reagan Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field Loss, 9-10 Reagan threw out two first pitches, then participated in the radio broadcast of the game for 1½ innings.
1989 George H. W. Bush Baltimore Orioles Memorial Stadium Win, 5-4
1990 George H. W. Bush Toronto Blue Jays SkyDome Win, 2-1 First Opening Day pitch to be thrown in Canada.
1991 George H. W. Bush Texas Rangers Arlington Stadium Loss, 4-5
1992 George H. W. Bush Baltimore Orioles Memorial Stadium Win, 2-0
1993 Bill Clinton Baltimore Orioles Oriole Park at Camden Yards Loss, 4-7 Clinton was the first President to successfully throw from the pitcher's mound to the catcher.
1994 Bill Clinton Cleveland Indians Jacobs Field Win, 4-3
1996 Bill Clinton Baltimore Orioles Oriole Park at Camden Yards Win, 4-2
1997 Bill Clinton New York Mets Shea Stadium Win, 5-0
2000 Bill Clinton San Francisco Giants Pacific Bell Park Loss, 4-7 Game was rained out.
2001 George W. Bush Milwaukee Brewers Miller Park Win, 5-4 MLB Commissioner Bud Selig (a former owner of the Brewers) threw out the first pitch to celebrate the opening of the new park; Bush threw the second pitch.
2004 George W. Bush St. Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium Loss, 6-8
2005 George W. Bush Washington Nationals RFK Stadium Win, 5-3 First President to throw out first pitch in Washington since Richard Nixon in 1969.
2006 George W. Bush Cincinnati Reds Great American Ball Park Loss, 7-16
2007 Vice President Dick Cheney Washington Nationals RFK Stadium Loss, 2-4 Bush arrived in the middle of the first inning.
2008 George W. Bush Washington Nationals Nationals Park Win, 3-2 First pitch in new stadium.
2009 Vice President Joe Biden Baltimore Orioles Oriole Park at Camden Yards Win, 10-5 Obama was in Europe for the G-20 summit on Opening Day and participated in the Easter Egg Roll rather than attending Washington's home opener.
Other presidential first pitches

References

External links

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