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WASHINGTON--Who is the president who never tossed out a pitch on a baseball opening day? That would be Jimmy Carter. President Obama on Monday threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Nationals home opener. Click below for every stat dealing with presidents and baseball.

below, from the White House/MLB.....

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA TO THROW CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH ON OPENING DAY AT NATIONALS PARK

• U.S. President Barack Obama will throw the ceremonial first pitch at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. on Opening Day when the Washington Nationals host the defending National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies on Monday, April 5 at 1:05 p.m. Eastern.

• Historic Event Marks the 100th Anniversary of Presidential First Pitches on Opening Day of Baseball Season

• U.S. President William Howard Taft (the 27th President of the United States) first threw an Opening Day first pitch on April 14, 1910. That day the Washington Senators defeated the Philadelphia Athletics 3-0 behind a one-hit, complete game shutout by Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson.

• Obama will be the 13th President to throw a ceremonial first pitch at the home opener of the Washington Senators or Nationals.

• This game will be the second time President Obama has thrown a ceremonial first pitch while in the White House. Obama threw the first pitch of the 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis on July 14th.

• The event will mark the 48th time a President has thrown an Opening Day first pitch in Washington D.C. and the 64th time it has occurred in any city on Opening Day.

• The Senators and Nationals hold a record of 25-23 during Opening Day games when the President has thrown the first pitch.

• Six Presidents have thrown out an Opening Day First Pitch outside of Washington D.C.: Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush threw out ceremonial first pitches on Opening Day a total of 15 times in nine cities between 1973 and 2006.

• The only recent President who never threw out a ceremonial first pitch at an Opening Day game was Jimmy Carter.


THE TRADITION OF OPENING DAY IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

Each Major League Club has its own unique celebration to mark the opening of the Major League Baseball season, but Opening Day in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., was always a special and sometimes historic event.

Washington, D.C.'s Opening Day tradition dates to April 14, 1910. William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States, attended the home opener of the Washington Senators against the Philadelphia Athletics. Numerous other government officials, including Vice President James Sherman, joined President Taft at the ballpark.

An overflow crowd of 12,000 fans--the largest baseball crowd in Washington at that time--gave President Taft an standing ovation as he made his way to his seats on the first-base side. Team president Thomas C. Noyes then took the two managers--Washington's Jimmy McAleer and Philadelphia's legendary Connie Mack--to meet the President.

Just prior to the start of the game, umpire Billy Evans walked over to President Taft's box and presented him with a new baseball. Evans instructed President Taft that he was to throw the ball from his seat in the stands to Senators pitcher Walter Johnson, who was standing at home plate, to officially commence the start of the American League championship season. After giving the ball briefly to First Lady Helen Taft, the President adjusted his gloves and made a good throw to Johnson, who immediately gave the ball to catcher Charles Street to have it secured in a safe place.

President Taft watched the entire game, a 3-0 Washington victory in which Johnson hurled a one-hit, complete-game shutout. After the game, Johnson sent the historic ball to the White House accompanied by a note to President Taft asking for his autograph on the ball. President Taft returned the ball after penning the following on it:

"For Walter Johnson, with the hope that he may continue to be as formidable as in yesterday's game. William H. Taft."

Although President Taft was the first to throw out a ceremonial first pitch, it was not the first time a President of the United States attended a Major League Baseball game. Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd U.S. President, is believed to be the first sitting President to attend a Major League game when he witnessed a NL game between Cincinnati and Washington in June 1892. That wasn't even the first interaction with a professional baseball team as nine years earlier President Chester A. Arthur welcomed the Cleveland franchise of the National League to the White House.

Having the President throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Washington's home opener was such an enormous success--not only in the nation's capital but around the country--that it led to the American League granting Washington permission to open the American League championship season one day before the rest of the League. This action was approved on December 13, 1927, in recognition of the U.S. President throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

Including President Taft's precedent-setting throw in 1910, 12 different Presidents have attended a home opener of the Washington Senators a total of 48 times. The Senators posted a 23-23 mark in home openers with a President present.

President Taft (2-0) and Woodrow Wilson (3-0), the 28th U.S. President, were the only two to never see the Senators lose. The only U.S. Presidents never to see Washington win a home opener were Lyndon Johnson (0-3) and Richard Nixon (0-2).

Following is the breakdown of Washington's record on Opening Day, listed by President:

WASHINGTON'S RECORD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES ON OPENING DAY
Woodrow Wilson (D)............................... 3-0 (1.000)
William Howard Taft (R)......................... 2-0 (1.000)
George W. Bush (R)................................. 2-0 (1.000)
Calvin Coolidge (R)................................... 3-1 (.750)
Warren Harding (R).................................. 2-1 (.667)
Dwight Eisenhower (R)............................. 4-3 (.571)
Franklin Roosevelt (D).............................. 4-4 (.500)
Harry Truman (D)..................................... 3-4 (.429)
John F. Kennedy (D)................................ 1-2 (.333)
Herbert Hoover (R).................................. 1-3 (.250)
Richard Nixon (R)..................................... 0-2 (.000)
Lyndon Johnson (D)................................. 0-3 (.000)
TOTAL 25-23 (.521)
Democrats 11-13 (.458)
Republicans 14-10 (.583)

Prior to the Senators move to Texas in 1972, each President since Taft was in attendance for a Washington Senators home opener at least once. Several Presidents had to miss on occasion, including President Taft in 1914 because of the sinking of the Titanic and President Wilson in 1918 and 1919 because of World War I.

Since 1972, the tradition of Presidents and Opening Day has continued in other Major League cities. The only President to never throw out a ceremonial first pitch at an Opening Day game was Jimmy Carter. President George W. Bush has continued the legacy, having thrown out the ceremonial first pitch at RFK Stadium on April 14, 2005 to usher the return of baseball to the nation's capitol. He also did the honors at Miller Park in Milwaukee in April of 2001.

With President Barack Obama now in office, note that President George W. Bush attended five Washington Nationals games in DC after baseball returned to Washington, DC in April '05.
The Nationals went 3-2 with the 43rd President on site. While awaiting Obama's first trip to Nationals Park, a complete list of all games attended by Bush:

Thu., April 14, 2005 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (43,861 attendance)
Final Score: WASHINGTON 5
Arizona 3
NOTE: President Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch as MLB returned to nation's capital for first time since 1971.

Fri., June 24, 2005 vs. Toronto Blue Jays (36,689 attendance)
Final Score: WASHINGTON 3
Toronto 0
NOTE: President Bush attended with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Sat., July 8, 2006 vs. San Diego Padres (27,060 attendance)
Final Score: San Diego 5
WASHINGTON 2
NOTE: President Bush attended with Mrs. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The contest marked Mrs. Bush's first visit to RFK Stadium for a Nationals game.

Thu., July 5, 2007 vs. Chicago Cubs (22,594 attendance)

Final Score: Chicago (NL) 4
WASHINGTON 2
NOTE: President Bush kick started his July 6 birthday with a final trip to RFK Stadium

Sun., March 30, 2008 vs. Atlanta Braves (39,389 attendance)
Final Score: Atlanta 2
WASHINGTON 3

NOTE: President Bush baptized Nationals Park with first pitch in front of national-television audience as part of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. Ryan Zimmerman hits game-ending solo shot in 9th inning to give Washington its initial Nationals Park win.

OPENING DAY - WASHINGTON NATIONALS/SENATORS (1901-PRESENT)

[NOTE: ALL OPPONENTS LISTED IN AL FROM 1901-1971] FIRST PITCH
YEAR DATE/SITE/OPPONENT RESULT WP LP ATT. U.S. PRESIDENT
1901 April 26 at PHI W5-1 CARRICK Fraser 10,000 --
1902 April 23 vs. BOS W7-3 ORTH Dineen 6,253 --
1903 April 22 vs. NYY W3-1 CHESBRO Orth 10,000 --
1904 April 14 vs. PHI L3-8 Plank WILSON 6,000 --
1905 April 14 vs. NYY L2-4 Chesbro PATTEN 9,161 --
1906 April 14 vs. PHI L3-4 Bender HUGHES 12,962 --
1907 April 11 vs. NYY L2-3 Orth HUGHES 12,902 --
1908 April 14 at BOS L1-3 YOUNG Smith 18,752 --
1909 April 12 vs. NYY W4-1 SMITH Newton 12,078 --
DECADE OPENING DAY RECORD: 4-5
1910 April 14 vs. PHI W3-0 JOHNSON Plank 12,226 Taft
1911 April 12 vs. BOS W8-5 WALKER Wood 16,000 Taft
1912 April 11 at PHI L2-4 Coombs JOHNSON 15,000 --
1913 April 10 vs. NYY W2-1 JOHNSON McConnell 20,000 Wilson
1914 April 14 at BOS W3-0 JOHNSON Collins 20,000 --
1915 April 14 vs. NYY W7-0 JOHNSON Warhop 15,557 Wilson
1916 April 12 at NYY W3-2 JOHNSON Caldwell 20,000 --
1917 April 11 at PHI W3-0 W.JOHNSON R.Johnson 8,000 --
1918 April 15 vs. NYY L3-6 Mogridge JOHNSON 15,000 --
1919 April 23 vs. PHI W1-0 JOHNSON Perry 14,000 --
DECADE OPENING DAY RECORD: 8-2
1920 April 15 at BOS L6-7 Russell JOHNSON 7,000 --
1921 April 13 vs. BOS L3-6 Jones JOHNSON 18,212 Harding
1922 April 12 vs. NYY W6-5 MOGRIDGE Jones 27,000 Harding
1923 April 18 at PHI L1-3 Harriss JOHNSON 20,000 --
1924 April 15 vs. PHI W4-0 JOHNSON Harriss 25,000 Coolidge
1925 April 14 at NYY L1-5 Shocker MOGRIDGE 50,000 --
1926 April 13 vs. PHI W1-0 JOHNSON Rommel 25,000 VP Dawes
1927 April 12 vs. BOS W6-2 COVELESKI Harriss 30,000 Coolidge
1928 April 10 vs. BOS L5-7 MacFayden GASTON 25,000 Coolidge
1929 April 17 vs. PHI L4-13 Rommel JONES 25,000 Hoover
DECADE OPENING DAY RECORD: 4-6
1930 April 14 vs. BOS L3-4 Smith BRAXTON 20,000 Hoover
1931 April 14 vs. PHI L3-5 Grove CROWDER 32,000 Hoover
1932 April 11 vs. BOS W1-0 CROWDER MacFayden 18,000 Hoover
1933 April 12 vs. PHI W4-1 CROWDER Freitas 24,000 Roosevelt
1934 April 17 at BOS W6-5 CROWDER Johnson 33,336 --
1935 April 17 vs. PHI W4-2 WHITEHILL Cain 20,000 Roosevelt
1936 April 14 vs. NYY W1-0 NEWSOM Gomez 31,000 Roosevelt
1937 April 19 vs. PHI L3-4 Williams CASCARELLA 33,000 Roosevelt
1938 April 18 vs. PHI W12-8 FERRELL Williams 29,000 Roosevelt
1939 April 20 at PHI L0-2 Caster DESHONG 7,000 --
DECADE OPENING DAY RECORD: 6-4
1940 April 16 vs. BOS L0-1 Grove LEONARD 31,000 Roosevelt
1941 April 14 vs. NYY L0-3 Russo LEONARD 32,000 Roosevelt
1942 April 14 vs. NYY L0-7 Ruffing HUDSON 31,000 VP Wallace
1943 April 20 vs. PHI W7-5 CARRASQUEL Christopher 25,093 --
1944 April 18 vs. PHI L2-3 Berry CANDINI 27,000 VP Wallace
1945 April 17 at PHI W14-8 LEONARD Newsom 7,846 --
1946 April 16 vs. BOS L3-6 Hughson WOLFF 30,372 Truman
1947 April 15 at BOS L6-7 Dorish WYNN 30,822 --
1948 April 19 vs. NYY L4-12 Reynolds WYNN 31,728 Truman
1949 April 18 vs. PHI W3-2 SCARBOROUGH Fowler 26,000 Truman
DECADE OPENING DAY RECORD: 3-7
HALF CENTURY OPENING-DAY RECORD: 25-24

YEAR DATE/SITE/OPPONENT RESULT WP LP ATT. U.S. PRESIDENT
1950 April 18 vs. PHI W8-7 SCARBOROUGH Scheib 29,320 Truman
1951 April 17 at PHI W6-1 MARRERO Schantz 8,285 --
1952 April 15 vs. BOS L0-3 Parnell PORTERFIELD 25,869 Truman
1953 April 16 vs. NYY L3-6 Sain PORTERFIELD 25,112 Eisenhower
1954 April 13 vs. NYY W5-3 DIXON Reynolds 27,160 Eisenhower
1955 April 11 vs. BAL W12-5 PORTERFIELD Kretlow 26,634 Eisenhower
1956 April 17 vs. NYY L4-10 Larsen PASCUAL 27,837 Eisenhower
1957 April 15 vs. BAL L6-7 Loes PASCUAL 23,872 Eisenhower
1958 April 14 vs. BOS W5-2 RAMOS Sullivan 26,675 Eisenhower
1959 April 9 vs. BAL W9-2 RAMOS Harshman 26,850 VP Nixon
DECADE OPENING DAY RECORD: 6-4
1960 April 18 vs. BOS W10-1 PASCUAL Sturdivant 28,327 Eisenhower
1961 April 10 vs. CWS L3-4 Baumann DONOVAN 26,725 Kennedy
1962 April 9 vs. DET W4-1 DANIELS Mossi 44,383 Kennedy
1963 April 8 vs. BAL L1-3 Barber RUDOLPH 43,022 Kennedy
1964 April 13 vs. LAA L0-4 McBride OSTEEN 40,145 Johnson
1965 April 12 vs. BOS L2-7 Monbouquette ORTEGA 43,554 Johnson
1966 April 11 vs. CLE L2-5 McDowell RICHART 44,468 VP Humphrey
1967 April 10 vs. NYY L0-8 Stottlemyre RICHART 44,382 Johnson
1968 April 10 vs. MIN L0-2 Chance PASCUAL 32,063 VP Humphrey
1969 April 7 vs. NYY L4-8 Stottlemyre PASCUAL 45,113 Nixon
DECADE OPENING DAY RECORD: 2-8
1970 April 6 vs. DET L0-5 Lolich BOSMAN 45,015 --
1971 April 5 vs. OAK W8-0 BOSMAN Blue 45,061 --
DECADE OPENING DAY RECORD: 1-1
1972-2004 *** NO MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM IN WASHINGTON, D.C. ***
2005 April 4 at PHI L4-8 Lieber HERNANDEZ 44,080 --
2006 April 3 at NYM L2-3 Glavine HERNANDEZ 54,371 --
2007 April 2 vs. FLA L2-9 Willis PATTERSON 40,389 --
2008 March 30 vs. ATL W3-2 RAUCH Moylan 39,389 Bush
2009 April 6 at FLA L6-12 Nolasco LANNAN 34,323 --

BASEBALL IN WASHINGTON, D.C. OPENING-DAY RECORD: 35-41 (.461)

WASHINGTON, D.C. HOME OPENERS DAY WHEN SEASON BEGAN ON THE ROAD (1901-PRESENT)
[NOTE: ALL OPPONENTS LISTED IN AL FROM 1901-1971] FIRST PITCH
YEAR DATE/SITE/OPPONENT RESULT WP LP ATT. U.S. PRESIDENT
1901 April 29 vs. BAL W5-2 CARRICK McGinnity 10,000 --
1908 April 22 vs. BOS L3-5 Winter SMITH 10,000 --
1912 April 19 vs. PHI W6-0 JOHNSON Brown 9,000 VP Sherman
1914 April 23 vs. BOS L0-5 R.Johnson W.JOHNSON 18,000 --
1916 April 20 vs. NYY W12-4 JOHNSON Keating 12,000 Wilson
1917 April 20 vs. PHI L4-6 Johnson GALLIA 7,000 VP Marshall
1920 April 22 vs. BOS W8-5 ERICKSON Karr 16,000 VP Marshall
1923 April 26 vs. PHI W2-1 ZACHARY Harriss 22,000 Harding
1925 April 22 vs. NYY W10-1 JOHNSON Shocker 35,000 Coolidge
1934 April 24 vs. BOS L0-5 Welch RUSSELL 25,000 Roosevelt
1939 April 21 vs. NYY L3-6 Gomez KRAKAUSKAS 32,000 VP Garner
1945 April 20 vs. NYY L3-6 Bevens HAEFNER 24,494 --
1947 April 18 vs. NYY L0-7 Reynolds NEWSOM 28,579 *Truman
1951 April 20 vs. NYY W5-3 CONSUEGRA Byrne 27,331 Truman
2005 April 14 vs. ARI W5-3 HERNANDEZ Vazquez 43,861 George W. Bush
2006 April 11 vs. NYM L1-7 Bannister ORTIZ 40,530 VP Cheney
2009 April 13 vs. PHI L8-9 Moyer RIVERA 40,386 --
BASEBALL IN WASHINGTON, D.C. RECORD IN HOME OPENERS WHEN SEASON BEGAN ON ROAD: 8-8 (.500)

*Truman threw one ball right-handed and one left-handed.

Other nuggets:
- In the 1924 World Series, the Nationals took on famed manager John McGraw and the New York Giants. The Series was one of the closest in history as four games were decided by a single run, including the deciding Game Seven. On the strength of Walter Johnson's four innings of relief pitching - on two days' rest - and the Series clinching hit by Earl McNeeley in the bottom of the 12th inning, the Nationals won their first and only World Series Championship.

- United States President Calvin Coolidge, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch on three occasions during the Series, paid tribute to the hometown victors immediately following the victory:

"I have only the heartiest praise to bestow upon the individual players of both teams. Naturally, in Washington, we were pleased to see Walter Johnson finish the final game, pitching for our home team. Everybody was pleased to see him come back at the close of the last game. The three contests I witnessed maintained throughout a high degree of skill, and every evidence of high-class sportsmanship which will bring to every observer an increased respect and confidence in our national game."

*April 14, 1910 United States President William Howard Taft became the first President to throw the first pitch prior to a Major League Baseball game.

*April 11, 1966 Emmett Ashford became the first African-American umpire to work a Major League game when he worked the Cleveland-Washington opening day game at D.C. Stadium. U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey was among the crowd of 44,468.

*April 8, 1969 NYY spoiled the managerial debut of Ted Williams at RFK Stadium in Washington, 8-4. More than 45,000 fans - including President Richard Nixon - were in attendance.


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Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 6, 2010 12:43 PM.

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