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Baseball: America's Presidents, America's Pastime

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March 21, 2015 - October 4, 2015

Baseball: America's Presidents, American's Pastime explored the close relationship between America’s Presidents and baseball. On a field constructed behind the White House, President Abraham Lincoln threw baseballs with his son. In 1910, President William Howard Taft became the first President to throw out the baseball season’s first pitch. Only six days after the Japanese surrender of World War II on September 2, 1945, President Harry S. Truman threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a game. More recently, President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium at Game 3 of the World Series on October 30, 2001 after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

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This exhibit explored the history of Presidents and baseball including the first pitch tradition and the deeper connections between the presidency and our national pastime. It also showed how Presidents impacted the game of baseball, and how baseball influenced the role of the President. 

Visitors learned about how President Franklin D. Roosevelt supported baseball in World War I and II, Jackie Robinson’s communications to multiple Presidents regarding civil rights, President Bill Clinton’s involvement in the 1995 baseball strike, and more. 

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Baseball glove, for first base, "To President Bush from one 1st baseman to another your friend, Stan Musial." (Courtesy George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.)

The importance of baseball to both President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush was included, and the exhibit gave special attention to President George W. Bush’s love of baseball as a child and his role as managing general partner of the Texas Rangers.

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Major League baseball from 2010 World Series, signed in blue ink by the Texas Rangers. (Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

The exhibition was organized chronologically from President George Washington to President Barack Obama. The first area described mentions of baseball or similar games (such as rounders and baste ball) related to early Presidents. The second area explored the connections between Presidents and baseball after the Opening Day first pitch tradition began in 1910.

 

Check out the Baseball Topic Page for more information about Baseball and the Presidency as well as the Library and Museum's Holdings.

 

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