American Freedom Museum: Fun Fact Friday

From the desk of Jan Hommel, Museum Director:

Q: Which president was the first to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the baseball season?

A: William Howard Taft. As a child Taft loved the game of baseball. His large girth made it difficult for him to be a competitive base runner, but he was a good hitter. Taft threw out the first ball of the season on opening day 1910, and in doing so started a long tradition of presidential participation in the national pastime. He was, however, unable to attend the Washington Senators opener in 1912 because he was mourning the loss of his dear friend and military aide, Major Archibald Butt, who had died in the Titanic disaster. (Smithsonian Presidential Trivia)

Taft’s opening day toss to Washington Senator’s pitcher Walter Johnson, April 14, 1910. Butt is standing beside the president, at right.