LBJ continued the Presidential pitch parade firing the opening pitch in 1964, ’65’ and ’67’. He became the first President to not pitch the Senators to an opening day win. The new expansion version of the Washington home team lost all three games under Johnson’s watch.
LBJ on opening day, April 13, 1964 at DC Stadium. The Angels shut out the Senators 4-0.
He was scheduled to open the 1968 season with a first pitch as well, however the assassination of Martin Luther King precluded that and VP Hubert Humphrey stepped in for him. The Senators still took it on the chin losing 2-0 to the old Senators, now called the Twins.
The summer of 1968 was a transforming year for both baseball and the nation. Just two months following the death of Dr. King, Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated following his victory in the California primary.
Richard Nixon was elected in November and he opened the 1969 season throwing out the first pitch at what was now RFK Stadium. The result was an 8-4 win for the Yankees over Washington. It would be 36 years before a President would throw another opening day first pitch in Washington DC. Following the 1971 campaign, the Senators moved to Arlington Texas and have been playing as the Texas Rangers ever since.
Nixon closed the book on the Washington Senators in the Nation’s Capital with his 1969 loss and coupling his loss with the three straight suffered by his predecessor, the Washington Senators finished with a record of 24-22 in opening days begun with a Presidential First Pitch.
Richard Nixon became the first President to throw out an opening day first pitch as Vice-President (1959) and President (1969 above). He also became the third President to open the All Star game with a pitch (1970) and he started a new tradition, the traveling opening day Presidential First Pitch, with a toss in Anaheim to open the 1973 season.
Baseball returned to the Nation’s Capital in 2005 when the Montreal Expos relocated and became the Washington Nationals. President George W Bush became the first president since Nixon to open the season for the home team with ceremonial first pitch at RFK Stadium. The Nats beat Arizona 5-3.
George W Bush also christened the new National Park with its first opening day Presidential First Pitch on March 30, 2008. The Nationals beat Atlanta 3-2 making GW 2-0 in opening day “First Pitch” games.
The 43rd President also was an active participant in the traveling opening day “Presidential First Pitch” begun by Nixon. Along with his two Washington appearances, he has opened the season with a first pitch in: Milwaukee’s Miller Park (2001), St. Louis’ Busch Stadium (2004), Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park (2006), and the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (2009).
He threw out what was undoubtably the most dramatic Presidential First Pitch in history on October 30, 2001 at Yankee Stadium. Clad in a bullet proof vest and with a secret service agent on the field dressed as an umpire, he made his way to the mound just weeks after the attack of 911.
GW Bush, October 30, 2001, “USA, USA, USA, USA” remember this?
President Obama, opening day first pitch at National Park, 2010, an 11-1 win by the Phillies over the Nationals.
Barack Obama’s first pitch in Washington marked the 100th anniversary of Taft’s first Presidential Toss in 1910. It was his first and, thus far, only opening day first toss. He did throw out the first pitch at the 2009 all-star game in his home town of Chicago. He was the sixth president to throw out the first pitch at the all-star game.
Between Mr. Nixon and Misters Bush 43 and Obama, presidents have hurled opening day first pitches at 10 different venues.
Gerald Ford opened the 1976 season with a first pitch in Arlington Texas. He also began the 1976 All Star game in Philadelphia’s Veteran’s Stadium.
Jimmy Carter was the only president since Taft to not throw out an opening day first pitch. A situation which was remedied in 2004 when he was on the mound for the first pitch in Petco Park’s inaugural game in San Diego.
Ronald Reagan had two opening day first pitches at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore before traveling to Wrigley Field to open the ’88’ season. He became the first president to then transfer to the radio booth where he participated in the broadcast with Harry Carey for an inning and a half.
Bush (41) opens Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1992. He also threw first pitches at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore (1989), the Skydome in Toronto (1990) and Arlington Park in Texas in 1991.
President Bill Clinton hit four ballparks in five years, Camden Yards, (1993 and 96), Jacobs Field in Cleveland in 1994, Shea Stadium in New York in 1997 and Pac Bell Park in San Francisco in 2000.
The Boston Red Sox have not played in “Presidential First Pitch” presence since Dwight Eisenhower. Next week Fenway Park, now a designated National Historical Landmark, will open its 100th season; do you think it’s worthy of a Presidential First Pitch?
And so it is, and so it was at this time in Fenway Park history, first pitch time, Presidential First Pitch time.