Tag Archives: William McKinley

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

What Presidents Cleveland, McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft & Wilson Sounded Like

Rare Audio Recordings of the Presidents

Would you vote for any of these men based upon their photographs (or voices)?


Let’s not generalize and say modern Americans are shallow, but research confirms that public image and to a lesser extent how someone talks, does influence the electorate.

One classic, yet apocryphal example, is the first televised presidential debate in 1960, in which supposed surveys showed people listening on the radio thought Richard Nixon was the clear winner of the debate, whereas people watching on television thought John F. Kennedy was the victor.

Today we are bombarded by media 24/7. It has becomes a challenge to capture anyone’s attention. The current presidential debates have devolved into images and soundbytes that convey little when it comes to substantive ideas and solutions for making our country functional. The public and media analyze Donald Trump’s hair;  if Hillary Clinton has “had work done” or why Ted Cruz “talks weird.”

So now, imagine life 100 – 125  years ago. Most Americans never ventured more than a few miles from where they were born. There was no internet, television or radio. Images were viewed in newspapers and magazines. If you heard a politician speak, it was, in person addressing an attentive crowd.

The technological revolutions around the turn of the century were stunning to the masses. The development of motion pictures, x-rays, electric appliances (beginning with the toaster), airplanes and audio recordings astonished people.

Maybe you’ve seen grainy silent films of the men who served as presidents of the United States at the turn-of-the-century. They are silent, stoic and graven in image. What did they sound like? How did they talk?

Most people do not realize that these early president’s voices were recorded and preserved for posterity, usually by the Edison Company on wax cylinder disks. The following recordings are part of the Vincent Voice Library at Michigan State University. It is very interesting to hear what these men sounded like.

Based upon their photographs and voices, could any of these men be elected today?

Grover Cleveland photo locFirst we have President Grover Cleveland (the 22nd and 24th president 1885-1889 & 1893-1897) the only man ever to be elected twice in non-consecutive terms.

Cleveland was mayor of Buffalo and governor of New York before becoming president. In 1884 a book was published called Off-hand Portraits of Prominent New Yorkers by Stephen Fiske.  The coda to the profile on Cleveland accurately predicted “If he shall make the same sort of a Governor as he has a Mayor, the road to the White House is open to him, and this sketch may yet be entitled the portrait of President Cleveland.”

Grover Cleveland’s voice, recorded during a campaign speech in 1892 is a bit hard to hear with all the static, but is comprehensible.

The way most politicians in the 19th century wrote, is the way Cleveland speaks. Cleveland puts out his speech with melodrama and clear diction.

William Mckinley photo locNext, the 25th President William McKinley (1897-1901) who never left his front porch at his home in Ohio to campaign. McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist in 1901, which put Theodore Roosevelt into the executive office.

McKinley on this recording from 1896, talks about the Republican platform. Similar to Grover Cleveland, McKinley speaks the way you’d imagine a 19th century politician would talk. McKinley’s speech pattern  epitomizes the 20th century movie portrayal of 19th century diction, emphasizing certain words, and like Cleveland, drawing out his syllables.

Theodore Roosevelt photo locTheodore Roosevelt Continue reading

As President, Theodore Roosevelt Carried A Handgun

The 26th President Didn’t Take Chances In Public

Theodore Roosevelt Campaigning in CarTheodore Roosevelt said, “Speak softly and  carry a big stick.”

Roosevelt however didn’t carry a stick, but a .45 caliber Colt revolver.

After William McKinley’s assassination in 1901, Roosevelt didn’t want to be at the mercy of some random shooter without the opportunity for self defense.

In Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris, Random House, 2001, Morris describes how Roosevelt shocked the president of Harvard, Dr. Charles William Eliot when Roosevelt was being awarded an honorary degree.

“Dr. Eliot escorted him (Roosevelt) to a guest suite to change, and watched with fascination as he tore off his coat and vest and slammed a large pistol on the dresser. Eliot asked if it was his habit to carry firearms. ‘Yes, when I am going into public places.'”

Morris also tells about Roosevelt vacationing at his home in Oyster Bay, NY during the summer of 1902:

“The sight of a gun butt protruding from the presidential trouser-seat caused some consternation in Christ Episcopal Church.”

Can you imagine President Obama carrying a handgun?

7 Amazing, Little Known Facts Surrounding President McKinley’s Assassination

The Assassin’s Body: Destroyed or Preserved?  Silence in New York City and The McKinley Islands

The McKinley Islands? It could have been, had Congress passed a bill to rename The Philippine Islands after the assassination of the 25th President of the United States, William McKinley.

The Assassination

McKinley assassinationOn September 6, 1901 President McKinley was holding a reception in the Temple of Music at the Pan-American Exposition held in Buffalo, New York. Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist, was in the greeting line and he approached McKinley with hand wrapped up to his right wrist in a handkerchief. As McKinley extended his hand to shake Czolgosz’s left hand, Czolgosz fired two shots at nearly point blank range, one that glanced off McKinley’s breastbone and never entered his body, the other penetrating his stomach.

After initial grave concerns by attending doctors and an operation to remove the bullet,  McKinley began showing signs of recovery after a couple of days. McKinley was declared in steady press releases by his doctors to be constantly improving in condition, when he suddenly took a  turn for the worse on September 13 and died from his wounds at the home of John G. Milburn, in Buffalo in the early morning hours of September 14, 1901.

Seven little known, interesting facts surrounding McKinley’s assassination

1. Only On Friday’s

Four Presidents’ have been shot to death: Abraham Lincoln (1865), James A. Garfield (1881), William McKinley (1901), and John F. Kennedy (1963). All four were shot on a Friday.

2. The Mystery Bullet

An immediate operation was performed to remove the bullet that was lodged somewhere in McKinley’s body. Continue reading