Saturday, April 8, 2017


JFK+50:  Volume 7, No. 2273


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy threw out what would be his last ceremonial first pitch of the major league baseball season 54 years ago today, April 8, 1963.  The ceremony was held at DC Stadium here in the Nation's Capital.

The tradition of Presidents of the United States throwing out the ceremonial 1st pitch began with William Howard Taft on April 14, 1910 when he attended the opening game between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Athletics.  Every president has participated in at least one ceremonial 1st pitch since that time.

As a possible warning of trouble to come, Warren G. Harding's 1st pitch was followed by the 1st loss of the Washington Nationals in an opening game at which a president threw out the 1st pitch.

Franklin D. Roosevelt holds the record, as might be expected with his election to 4 terms as president, at nine 1st pitches.  On his 8th 1st pitch, however, Mr. Roosevelt's throw hit a Washington Post camera.  The ambidextrous Harry S Truman threw 2 1st pitches in 1950, 1 left-handed & 1 right-handed.

Richard M. Nixon "relieved" Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1959 becoming the 1st sitting Vice-President to throw out the 1st pitch.  John F. Kennedy, the youngest elected president, was also the youngest president to throw out a 1st pitch.
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the oldest president to throw out a 1st pitch.In 1990. 

George H.W. Bush became the 1st president to throw out the 1st pitch in Canada at the opening game at the Sky Dome in Toronto.  Mr. Bush also threw out the 1st pitch at the new Camden Yards stadium in Baltimore in 1992.

In 1993, William Jefferson Clinton changed the tradition by becoming the 1st president to throw the 1st pitch from the pitcher's mound on opening day of the baseball season.  This event also took place at Camden Yards.

On October 12, 2005, Senator Barack Obama threw out the 1st pitch of Game 2 of the ALCS game between the White Sox and Angels in Chicago.  In 2010, Barack Obama threw out the 1st pitch marking the 100th anniversary of the custom of the presidential 1st pitch ceremony.

JFK Throws Out 1st Pitch
 1962 All-Star Game
DC Stadium
Photo by Cecil W. Stoughton
JFK Library Image