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April 3, 2012

LIFE BEGINS ON OPENING DAY . . PRESIDENT EISENHOWER STARTED THE 1955 SEASON

Twelve United States presidents have thrown out the ceremonial first ball to start a season. It all began with William Howard Taft on April 14, 1910, according to "Baseball Almanac"

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This picture is from the Barning collection and was taken at Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C. in 1955. With President Dwight D. Eisenhower is Hall of Famer Clarke Griffith, owner of the Washington Senators and hence the name of the ball park. With them are Senators' manager Chuck Dressen and Baltimore Orioles skipper Paul Richards.


Your blogger has been an avid baseball fan since 1952, so this is my 60th opening day, but who is counting. For most of my years as a baseball fan, presidents and others threw out what was referred to as "The first ball." For a few years now, it has become "The first pitch." Have you noticed this?


I wonder when and why the change in verbiage happened. Call me a traditionalist, but the old way works better for me.


For us hardcore fans, to quote columnist and author Thomas Boswell, "Life begins on opening day."

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Baseball Almanac link:

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/opening_day/opening_day.shtml

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