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When the 2016 Major League Baseball season kicks off on Sunday, a number of first pitches — including a 10-mile first pitch from the Kansas City Royals — will kick things off and continue the tradition started more than 100 years ago by then-President William Howard Taft.

On April 14, 1910, Taft threw the ceremonial first pitch prior to the season opener between the Washington Senators and Philadelphia Athletics. Unlike the current first pitch protocol, Taft remained in the stands and tossed the ball to pitcher Walter Johnson on the mound.

For more than 50 years, presidents continued to make their pitch from the stands.

Instead of aiming for one player, they often tossed it up for grabs for an entire team.


Gerald Ford, a former college football player, opted to go with the short and easy toss.


While that may seem ridiculous, it was a sound strategy considering even the world’s best athletes have struggled with the seemingly easy task at hand.

For example, there was that time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis had one of the worst first pitches in baseball history.

Richard Nixon once opted to execute the rare double first pitch, with one onto the field and one into the stands.


The presidential first pitch has clearly evolved.

Ronald Reagan, a former Chicago Cubs broadcaster, tossed out the opening day pitch in April 1988 and returned in September for a repeat performance. The 77-year-old took the mound and did his best windup.

George H.W. Bush, a former Yale baseball player, showed off his sound mechanics in 1989.


Franklin D. Roosevelt owns the record for most opening day first pitches at eight, while he also threw out the first pitch at two World Series games and one All-Star Game.

A look back at the presidential first pitch:

Woodrow Wilson
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