ⓘ Ceremonial first pitch. The ceremonial first pitch is a longstanding ritual of baseball in which a guest of honor throws a ball to mark the end of pregame festi ..


ⓘ Ceremonial first pitch

The ceremonial first pitch is a longstanding ritual of baseball in which a guest of honor throws a ball to mark the end of pregame festivities and the start of the game. Originally, the guest threw a ball from his/her place in the grandstand to the pitcher or catcher of the home team, but the ritual changed after President Ronald Reagan threw the first pitch on the field at an unscheduled appearance at a Baltimore Orioles game. Now, the guest stands in front of the pitchers mound and throws towards home plate. He or she may also sometimes stand on the mound. The recipient of the pitch is usually a player from the home team.

The ceremonial thrower may be a notable person who is in attendance, an executive from a company that sponsors the team especially when that company has sponsored that nights promotional giveaway, or a person who won the first pitch opportunity as a contest prize. Often, especially in the minor leagues, multiple first pitches are made.

The practice of having a mayor, governor, or other local celebrity throw out ceremonial "first pitches" dates back to at least 1890. Ohio Governor and future U.S. president William McKinley, for example, "threw the ball into the diamond" before an opening day game between Toledo and Columbus in 1892.

On April 23, 2012, the Texas Rangers executed a unique twist on the first pitch tradition. Before the Rangers home game against the New York Yankees, the team held an official retirement ceremony for longtime catcher Ivan Rodriguez. Instead of going to the pitchers mound, he went behind home plate and threw the first "pitch" to longtime teammate Michael Young, who was standing at second base.


1. Presidential first pitches

Former Japanese Prime Minister Ōkuma Shigenobu threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the first game of an American All-Star teams tour of Japan in 1908, making him possibly the first former chief executive of any country to throw out a first pitch.

President William Howard Taft started the American tradition of Presidential first pitches in 1910 at Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C., on the Washington Senators Opening Day. Every President from Taft to Obama has thrown out at least one ceremonial first ball or pitch, either for Opening Day, the All-Star Game, or the World Series, usually with much fanfare. The current President, Donald Trump, has yet to throw a ceremonial first pitch, though has done so for Minor League games prior to taking office.

President George W. Bush has thrown more first pitches than any other president. His father George H.W. Bush also joins him near the top of the list for most first pitches thrown by a President.

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  • Grounds with 7, 000 attending. Mayor John Purroy Mitchel threw the ceremonial first pitch June 23, 1915: Philadelphia Athletics pitcher Bruno Haas set an
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