mlboffseason:

Presidential First Pitches, Part I: Taft - JFK

On April 14, 1910, President William Howard Taft threw out the first pitch at Boundary Field as the Washington Senators faced off against eventual World Series champs, the Philadelphia Athletics. Walter Johnson outdueled the pride of Gettysburg College, Eddie Plank, 3-0. Thus began a somewhat erratic tradition of the President of the United States opening the major league baseball season. So how did things turn out? This week we look at the first 9 POTUSes and their roles as harbingers of luck - good or bad.

Note: From 1910 through 1963 all the games involved the Washington Senators: “First in War, First in Peace and Last in the American League.”

Taft, Throws: Right, Career: 2-0
1910 - W, 3-0 vs. Philadelphia
1911 - W, 8-5 vs. Boston

Wilson, Throws: Right, Career: 3-0
1913 - W, 2-1 vs. NY
1914 - No pitch
1915 - W, 7-0 vs. NY
1916 - W, 12-4 vs. NY
Because of WWI and a subsequent stroke Wilson doesn’t throw out anymore pitches.

Harding, Throws: Right, Career: 2-1
1921 - L, 3-6 vs. Boston - the game took 2 hours
1922 - W, 6-5 vs. NY
1923 - W, 2-1 vs. Phil.
Harding died in office in 1923

Coolidge, Throws: Right, Career: 3-1
1924 - W, 4-0 vs. Phil. - Senators win their only World Series that year
1925 - W, 10-1 vs. NY - Lou Gehrig plays RF for the Yankees
1926 - No pitch
1927 - W, 6-2 vs. Phil.
1928 - L, 5-7 vs, Boston

Hoover, Throws: Right, Career: 1-3
1929 - L, 4-13 vs. Phil.
1930 - L, 3-4 vs. Boston
1931 - L, 3-5 (11 inn.) vs. Phil. - Future HOFer Lefty Grove pitches 9th-11th for the win
1932 - W, 1-0 vs. Boston

Roosevelt, Throws: Right, Career: 5-3
1933 - W, 4-1 vs. Phil.
1934 - W, 6-5 (11) vs. Boston
1935 - W, 4-2 vs. Phil. - Future HOFer Jimmie Foxx plays catcher; caught 109 games in his career
1936 - W, 1-0 vs. NY
1937 - L, 3-4 vs. Phil.
1938 - W, 12-8 vs. Phil. - Brothers Rick Ferrell and Wes Ferrell (HOF) are the battery for the Senators
1939 - No pitch for FDR. Couldn’t find out why.
1940 - L, 0-1 vs. Boston
1941 - L, 0-3 vs. NY
The outbreak of WWII in 1941 and FDR’s death in 1945 end his service on Opening Day.

Truman, Throws: Left, Career: 3-4
1946 - L, 3-6 vs. Boston
1947 - L, 3-9 vs. Boston
1948 - L, 4-12 vs. NY
1949 - W, 3-2 vs. Phil.
1950 - W, 8-7 vs. Phil.
1951 - W, 5-3/W, 8-4 vs. NY - Doubleheader
1952 - L, 0-3 vs. Boston

Eisenhower, Throws: Right, Career: 5-3
1953 - L, 3-6 vs. NY
1954 - W, 5-3 (10) vs. NY
1955 - W, 12-5 vs. Baltimore - 1st time the Senators play a team that’s not NY, Boston or Philly. The Orioles had moved from St. Louis before the 1954 season.
1956 - L, 4-10 vs. NY
1957 - L, 6-7 vs. Balt.
1958 - W, 5-2 vs. Boston
1959 - W, 9-2 vs. Balt.
1960 - W, 10-1 vs. Boston - Senators pitcher Camilo Pascual strikes out 15. Gives up one run - a home run to Ted Williams in his last Opening Day.

Kennedy, Throws: Right, Career: 1-2
1961 - L, 3-4 vs. Chicago - First time facing a team from the Central time zone on Opening Day. This is also the 2nd Washington Senators franchise. The original moved to Minnesota during the offseason to become the Twins.
1962 - W, 4-1 vs. Detroit
1963 - L, 1-3 vs. Baltimore
JFK was assassinated in November 1963.

POTUS record 1910-1963: 25-17

Next week: LBJ - Obama

List of presidential first pitches courtesy of baseball.about.com. Scores and boxscores available from the amazing www.retrosheet.org.

- ə

Presidential First Pitches, Part I: Taft - JFK

On April 14, 1910, President William Howard Taft threw out the first pitch at Boundary Field as the Washington Senators faced off against eventual World Series champs, the Philadelphia Athletics. Walter Johnson outdueled the pride of Gettysburg College, Eddie Plank, 3-0. Thus began a somewhat erratic tradition of the President of the United States opening the major league baseball season. So how did things turn out? This week we look at the first 9 POTUSes and their roles as harbingers of luck - good or bad.

Note: From 1910 through 1963 all the games involved the Washington Senators: “First in War, First in Peace and Last in the American League.”

Taft, Throws: Right, Career: 2-0
1910 - W, 3-0 vs. Philadelphia
1911 - W, 8-5 vs. Boston

Wilson, Throws: Right, Career: 3-0
1913 - W, 2-1 vs. NY
1914 - No pitch
1915 - W, 7-0 vs. NY
1916 - W, 12-4 vs. NY
Because of WWI and a subsequent stroke Wilson doesn’t throw out anymore pitches.

Harding, Throws: Right, Career: 2-1
1921 - L, 3-6 vs. Boston - the game took 2 hours
1922 - W, 6-5 vs. NY
1923 - W, 2-1 vs. Phil.
Harding died in office in 1923

Coolidge, Throws: Right, Career: 3-1
1924 - W, 4-0 vs. Phil. - Senators win their only World Series that year
1925 - W, 10-1 vs. NY - Lou Gehrig plays RF for the Yankees
1926 - No pitch
1927 - W, 6-2 vs. Phil.
1928 - L, 5-7 vs, Boston

Hoover, Throws: Right, Career: 1-3
1929 - L, 4-13 vs. Phil.
1930 - L, 3-4 vs. Boston
1931 - L, 3-5 (11 inn.) vs. Phil. - Future HOFer Lefty Grove pitches 9th-11th for the win
1932 - W, 1-0 vs. Boston

Roosevelt, Throws: Right, Career: 5-3
1933 - W, 4-1 vs. Phil.
1934 - W, 6-5 (11) vs. Boston
1935 - W, 4-2 vs. Phil. - Future HOFer Jimmie Foxx plays catcher; caught 109 games in his career
1936 - W, 1-0 vs. NY
1937 - L, 3-4 vs. Phil.
1938 - W, 12-8 vs. Phil. - Brothers Rick Ferrell and Wes Ferrell (HOF) are the battery for the Senators
1939 - No pitch for FDR. Couldn’t find out why.
1940 - L, 0-1 vs. Boston
1941 - L, 0-3 vs. NY
The outbreak of WWII in 1941 and FDR’s death in 1945 end his service on Opening Day.

Truman, Throws: Left, Career: 3-4
1946 - L, 3-6 vs. Boston
1947 - L, 3-9 vs. Boston
1948 - L, 4-12 vs. NY
1949 - W, 3-2 vs. Phil.
1950 - W, 8-7 vs. Phil.
1951 - W, 5-3/W, 8-4 vs. NY - Doubleheader
1952 - L, 0-3 vs. Boston

Eisenhower, Throws: Right, Career: 5-3
1953 - L, 3-6 vs. NY
1954 - W, 5-3 (10) vs. NY
1955 - W, 12-5 vs. Baltimore - 1st time the Senators play a team that’s not NY, Boston or Philly. The Orioles had moved from St. Louis before the 1954 season.
1956 - L, 4-10 vs. NY
1957 - L, 6-7 vs. Balt.
1958 - W, 5-2 vs. Boston
1959 - W, 9-2 vs. Balt.
1960 - W, 10-1 vs. Boston - Senators pitcher Camilo Pascual strikes out 15. Gives up one run - a home run to Ted Williams in his last Opening Day.

Kennedy, Throws: Right, Career: 1-2
1961 - L, 3-4 vs. Chicago - First time facing a team from the Central time zone on Opening Day. This is also the 2nd Washington Senators franchise. The original moved to Minnesota during the offseason to become the Twins.
1962 - W, 4-1 vs. Detroit
1963 - L, 1-3 vs. Baltimore
JFK was assassinated in November 1963.

POTUS record 1910-1963: 25-17

Next week: LBJ - Obama

List of presidential first pitches courtesy of baseball.about.com. Scores and boxscores available from the amazing www.retrosheet.org.

- ə