Tuesday, February 9, 2016

William Howard Taft Throws First Presidential Pitch

William Howard Taft
Pol Light Moment #126 occurred on April 14, 1910, when William Howard Taft (1857-1930) threw the first ceremonial Presidential pitch on the opening day of the Major League Baseball season. In doing so Taft started an opening day tradition carried on by almost all Presidents who followed him. William Howard Taft served as President of the United States from 1909-1913.

The baseball game William Howard Taft threw his Presidential pitch at was played on April 14, 1910 in Washington D.C.. In the game the Washington Senators defeated the Philadelphia Athletics 3-0 and Walter Johnson was the winning pitcher with a complete game shutout (Society for American Baseball Research, Walter Johnson Impresses President Taft on Opening Day, Steven V. Rice).

A story in The Washington Post about the game said,
President Taft threw the first ball into the diamond and opened the season with a true presidential flourish. He did it with his good, trusty right arm and the virgin sphere scudded across the diamond as a die to the pitcher's box, where Walter Johnson, also the possessor of a good trusty right arm, gathered it in and started winding up for one of his rifle shots across the plate (Taft Tosses Ball, The Washington Post, April 15, 1910 as quoted in Boundary Stones blog, April 13, 2015).
A day after the game Walter Johnson sent the ball that was thrown for the ceremonial first pitch to William Howard Taft and asked that he sign it for him. President Taft signed it along with an inscription, "For Walter Johnson, with the hope that he may continue to be as formidable as in yesterday's game (Society for American Baseball Research, Walter Johnson Impresses President Taft on Opening Day, Steven V. Rice)." Indeed Walter Johnson went on to have a hall of fame baseball career winning 417 games from 1907-1927.

Steve Goldman wrote a history of Presidential first pitches for SB Nation.

Pol Light does not endorse political candidates. We present a brighter side to politics when they are found on either side of the aisle. We don't have to agree with all of a person's politics to recognize these bright moments.

The photo of William Howard Taft is in the Public Domain.

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