Baseball: America's Presidents, American's Pastime Exhibit explored the closerelationship between America’s Presidents and baseball. On a field constructed behind the White House, President Abraham Lincoln threw baseballs with his son. In 1910, President William Howard Taft became the first President to throw out the baseball season’s first pitch. Six days after Japan surrendered on September 2, 1945, President Harry S. Truman threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a game. After 9/11, President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium at Game 3 of the World Series on October 30, 2001.
President William Howard Taft was the first President to throw out the first pitch of the baseball season, and all subsequent Presidents have followed his example.
This exhibit explored the history of Presidents and baseball – certainly the first pitch tradition but also the deeper connections between the Presidents (and the presidency) and our national pastime. The exhibit showed how Presidents impacted the game of baseball, and how baseball influenced the role of the President.
Visitors learned about how then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Roosevelt supported baseball in World War I, President Roosevelt’s urging that baseball must go on during World War II, Jackie Robinson’s communications to multiple Presidents regarding civil rights, President Clinton’s involvement in the 1995 baseball strike, President George W. Bush’s historic appearance and first pitch at Yankee Stadium after 9/11, and more.
The importance of baseball to both President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush is included, and the exhibit gave special attention to President George W. Bush’s love of baseball as a child and his role as Managing General Partner of the Texas Rangers.
Baseball has influenced the American presidency by providing a fun and cherished annual tradition, an opportunity for Presidents to connect with their fellow citizens, and a venue to send messages of strength and American values to the world.