- History & Culture
How the first pitch became baseball's Opening Day tradition
It’s an honor nearly as old as the major league itself—but in 1910, President William Howard Taft transformed the first pitch into the popular ceremony it is today.
On April 14, 1910, President William Howard Taft was among the thousands of baseball fans who had thronged to the ballpark in Washington, D.C., to watch the Washington Nationals play the Philadelphia Athletics in their first game of the season.
But Taft wasn’t just there to watch the game. He made history that day by becoming the first sitting U.S. president to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day—a tradition that has been carried on by every U.S. president except Jimmy Carter, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden.
Though the ceremonial first pitch is usually associated with U.S. presidents, there is a long line of politicians, celebrities, and other notable people who have thrown out first pitches