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Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Yale student George H.W. Bush shakes the hand of the legendary Babe Ruth.
Yale student George H.W. Bush shakes the hand of the legendary Babe Ruth.
President George W. Bush throws out the first pitch during game three of the World Series game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Yankees at Yankee Stadium Oct. 3, 2001. President Dwight Eisenhower was a spectacular athlete and made no secret of his early aspirations to play major league baseball.
Yale student George H.W. Bush shakes the hand of the legendary Babe Ruth. President John F. Kennedy was an avid baseball fan who was a hit with the crowd in 1961. He was known to have an aide who was nicknamed "Undersecretary of Baseball" because he kept the president apprised of scores and standings.
President William Howard Taft was the first President to throw out the first ball of the baseball season on April 14, 1910. He threw a pitch to the Washington Senator's Opening Day pitcher, Walter Johnson. The next day, Taft's image dominated the sports pages. President Lyndon Johnson was the first president to dedicate a new stadium when he watched the first game at Houston's Astrodome in 1968.
President Wilson and Edith Galt made their first public appearance as an engaged couple at the second game of the World Series in Philadelphia. The following spring, Mrs. Wilson was at the President's side as he threw out the first pitch on opening day. President Richard Nixon's knowledge of the game was impressive. As a matter of fact, he was recruited by Major League Baseball to run the Players Association. He chose to continue his political career instead.
President Warren G. Harding was a real baseball fan. He once hosted Babe Ruth at the White House and attended this 1922 opener with his wife and then Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover. President Gerald Ford displayed exceptional baseball talent as a player on the congressional team during his tenure as a Michigan congressman. After throwing out the game's first pitch, President Ford witnessed Hall of Famer Hank Aaron's 714th home run, which tied Babe Ruth's legendary record.
Although President Coolidge threw out the opening pitch, the real baseball fan was standing next to him. Grace Coolidge kept perfect scorecards of baseball games and stayed behind after the President made an early exit from the game. Softball, not baseball, was President Jimmy Carter's great private and public passion. During his vacations in Plains, Georgia, he would often organize serious softball games with his Secret Service security detail.
President Herbert Hoover was one of the great baseball fans to occupy the Oval Office. However, the onset of the Great Depression and the legendary Babe Ruth's opposition to Hoover stirred boos from fans during the President's first pitch at the 1931 World Series. As a Chicago Cubs radio broadcaster in the mid-1930s for an Iowa station, President Ronald Reagan was an astute baseball spectator. He made several guest trips back to the radio booth, both during and after his presidency.
Even amidst the Great Depression and World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt insisted that the game be given a green light to aid and enhance the morale of the country. He did, however, cease his visits to the ballpark during the war. As a Yale standout who once caught the eye of a professional scout, President George H.W. Bush was fascinated with the game of baseball.
President Harry Truman was the first southpaw (left-hander) to toss a baseball out of the presidential box. In fact, President Truman was ambidextrous and used both arms during his numerous ceremonial pitches. Growing up listening to the St. Louis Cardinals in his home state of Arkansas, President Bill Clinton was a strong supporter of our national pastime.