Tag Archives: Washington Senators

President Trump And The First Pitch of The Baseball Season

President Trump Won’t Throw Out The Ceremonial First Pitch On Opening Day

Donald Trump in 2004 throws out the ceremonial first pitch photo: Kathy Willens AP via Newsday

The major league baseball season opens this weekend on Sunday, April 2, 2017.

Though it might have been “great” or “terrific,” President Trump will not throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals opening game on Monday, April 3.

Why?

Probably because rudeness has become our nation’s new normal.

President Barack Obama threw out ceremonial first pitches and was booed by thousands of fans. It’s almost certain that if President Trump were to show up at opening day, the jeers would be deafening.

There was a time in this country, not very long ago where the office of the President of the United States was shown respect, even if you vehemently disagreed with the president’s policies or even loathed him. The president showing up at baseball’s opening day was an occasion to celebrate our national pastime and have the president participate in a tradition. Continue reading

Photographs of Presidents At Opening Day in Washington D.C.

Presidents of the United States Attend Baseball’s Opening Day

President William Howard Taft throws out the ceremonial first pitch at opening day

President William Howard Taft throws out the ceremonial first pitch at opening day  -1911.

President McKinley was invited to the Baltimore Orioles National League opening day in 1897, and though he assured the team he would try to make it to the game, he ended up not going. Had McKinley attended he might have been the first president to attend baseball’s opening day and throw out a ceremonial first pitch.

In 1910 President William Howard Taft threw a ceremonial first pitch to begin the baseball season. Taft, threw the baseball from the grandstand to pitcher Walter Johnson, but catcher Gabby Street who Taft was supposed to throw it to, took the ball from Johnson and promptly put the ball in his pocket to keep as a souvenir. Later, Street returned the baseball to Johnson who went on to pitch a one-hit, 3-0  shutout against the visiting Philadelphia Athletics.

After the game Johnson sent the ball to the White House to have it autographed by Taft. President Taft returned the ball to Johnson with this inscription:  “To Walter Johnson, with the hope that he may continue to be as formidable as in yesterday’s game. William H. Taft.”

Since then it has become a tradition for the president to attend baseball’s opening day and toss a pitch.

President Wilson Opening Day 1916President Woodrow Wilson with his wife Edith at opening day – 1916.

It was relatively easy for the president to show up at opening day with the Washington Senators having their home games at Griffith Stadium from 1911 – 1961, only five miles from the White House.

In recent years many presidents have shirked the tradition and have attended only one or two opening games during their presidential tenure. While he was President, Jimmy Carter never attended an opening day, but did throw out a ceremonial first pitch at the 1979 World Series. In his eight years as commander-in-chief Barack Obama has only attended one opening day.

Here is a gallery of president’s at opening day.

President Harding first pitch 2 photo locPresident Warren G. Harding at opening day – 1922. Continue reading

Minnesota’s Original Baseball Stadium

Metropolitan Stadium Under Construction

Construction of Metropolitan Stadium 12 22. 1955

Although the weather can be unpredictable in Minnesota, this scene was not photographed during baseball season. Taken 60 years ago today, December 22, 1955, this photograph predates the Twins baseball team by more than five years.

Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, MN is shown nearing completion here.

The caption reads:

Here’s something that should be a smile-bringer to bond drivers and bond buyers both as the Metropolitan Stadium push hits the final post. You see the Bloomington project stands are this far along looking from the right field approach. Johnson Drake and Piper, the construction firm in charge, says work is progressing very satisfactorily despite the weather. Both dugouts are in and you may see the first base bench in the picture. 12-22-55 photo – Chester Freden

Built  to attract a major league baseball team, Metropolitan Stadium was originally home to the American Association’s Minneapolis Millers. Continue reading

Gil Coan Washington Senators Outfielder

Gil Coan May 29, 1948

Gil Coan 5 29 1948

Gil Coan turned 91 on May 18, 2013. The North Carolina native started his major league career in Washington in 1946 at the age of 24.

The speedy left fielder had a few good seasons on some unspectacular Washington Senators teams. Though he hit only .254 for his career, Coan finished in the top ten in stolen bases in the American League six times and hit .303 in consecutive seasons, 1950 and 1951.

No one could possibly foresee that the trade Gil Coan was involved in would turn out to be one of the most one-sided in baseball history. On February 18, 1954 Roy Sievers of the St. Louis Browns (who moved to Baltimore to become the Orioles starting in 1954) was traded straight up for Coan.

Many fans and pundits thought that Washington was receiving the short end of the stick.

After starting his career on a grand scale by winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 1949,  Sievers had in 1951 separated his shoulder and in 1952 dislocated his arm. Sievers playing time and production had tapered off considerably in the five seasons he had spent with the Browns. By 1953 he was a part-time player. Then the trade happened.

Sievers regained the strength in his arm doing construction work in Washington, and the Senators were the beneficiaries. Sievers put up these numbers:

Year

G

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BA

1954

145

514

119

26

6

24

102

.232

1955

144

509

138

20

8

25

106

.271

1956

152

550

139

27

2

29

95

.253

1957

152

572

172

23

5

42

114

.301

1958

148

550

162

18

1

39

108

.295

1959

115

385

93

19

0

21

49

.242

Coan’s fortunes after the trade were not so bright. Coan hit only 3 home runs and drove in 31 runs over the next three years. He bounced around from the Orioles, to the White Sox and then on to the New York Giants and was out of the big leagues after the 1956 season at age 34.

After his baseball career ended Coan started an insurance company in Brevard, North Carolina which after his retirement in 1986 is still run by his son and grandson. Coan’s alma mater, Brevard College named its baseball park Gil Coan Field.

Lou Gehrig Beats The Throw Home

Solving A Photographic Mystery

People have asked where we get the photos for this web site.  Mostly the online resources at various libraries and eBay have been used.  Sometimes they are part of the contributors photo collections.

This phenomenal photo of Lou Gehrig sliding into home plate is one of millions of photographs available at the Library of Congress web site.  In the old days the photographers were allowed to be on the field during baseball games. There were no Continue reading