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American History & Jewish History Blog
President Harry S. Truman Gets Ready to Throw the First Pitch at Opening Day, 1951: Rowe, Abbie, 1905-1967 National Park Service, Harry S. Truman Library & Museum.
April 1, 2021

Harry S. Truman & Baseball: Presidential First Pitches

On April 12, 1945, Vice President Harry Truman was looking forward to attending Opening Day of the Major League Baseball season, and hoped the weather would make for a great experience. He wrote this letter thanking Clark Griffith, the owner of the Washington Senators baseball club for the tickets. Before he could send it, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had died of a massive stroke, and by that evening, Truman himself was President. Handwritten at the bottom of the letter, Truman explains that he will have to delay his attendance at the ballgame, owing to the “terrible responsibilities” he now faced. Five years later, Truman would make history by throwing out the first pitch of Opening Day ambidextrously, a tradition, incidentally, started by his friend, Clark Griffith.

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