Presidential Reds First Pitches


Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On a day when Americans get the privilege to reflect on their leaders of days gone by, it is only right that we appropriately analyze their contributions to the nation’s first great game. 

The national holiday that kept some from work and school today, was none other than Presidents’ Day. 

Earlier, we talked about Presidents when our own Cory Collins discussed who belonged on the Reds Mount Rushmore, which, in case you really have a strong disliking for politics, or have never bothered to find out, includes the presidential heads of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, etched in stone.

Interestingly enough, none of those men ever threw out a ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game.  At least, not on record. 

In what has become a tradition so intricate a part of the game, it is as intertwined as much as pine tar and chewing gum, William Howard Taft threw out the first pitch (from the crowd) on Opening Day in 1910.  One hundred years later, the tradition stands strong.

For decades, the opening ball was always thrown out in Washington, D.C., but as they grew weary of the Senators, there was no longer a ballclub inhibiting the nation’s capital; a confusing site to say the least.  America’s game was not represent in America’s capital.

As a wise man somewhere once stated, “all things happen for a reason.”  With Commander-in-chief’s no longer being able to just swing on over for a first pitch, they had to broaden their horizons.  It led to moments such as Ronald Reagan throwing out the first pitch at Wrigley Field in 1988, Bill Clinton christening the new Jacobs Field (now Progressive Field) in 1994 and Jimmy Carter throwing the first ball in Petco Park’s history in 2004. 

Interestingly enough, George H. W. Bush was the first leader of the free world to throw out a ball at a Cincinnati based park in their illustrious 144-year history, not his son, who was President at the time.  Great American Ball Park is one of the most beautiful diamonds one can find anywhere, and President Bush graced it for the ceremonial first pitch on the day it debuted to the world March 31, 2003. 

Just three short years later, the Queen City was introduced to the President of the United States when George W. Bush himself became the first sitting President to throw out a first pitch in Cincinnati. 

Opening Day to the Reds organization is no normal day, as it is widely considered a city holiday, if there were ever such a thing.  From the Findlay Market Parade, to the smell of hot dogs and chili, Opening Day is Cincinnati’s prized possession. 

Once again, the season opens up at home; this time, against the rival St. Louis Cardinals on March 31st, at 4:10 PM. 

Adjust your schedules, in case you somehow haven’t already, because Opening Day is just 42 days away.