Inaugural Balls: Ceremonial First Pitches, Then And Now

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor threw out the first pitch at Yankees Stadium Sept. 26, 2009, for a game against the Boston Red Sox. Here, Justice Sotomayor is escorted to the pitcher’s mound by New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada.

Newscom/UPI/John Angelillo

Justice Sotomayor is occasionally known as “the Judge who saved baseball,” for her landmark ruling in 1995 that ended a 232-day players’ strike. Sotomayor joins a long line of political figures who have wound up for their favorite baseball teams. Click through for our favorite first pitches!

Newscom/UPI/John Angelillo

July 14, 2009: President Obama throws the first pitch for the MLB All-Star game in St. Louis.

Newscom/Rapport Syndication

Obama winds up at the All-Star game.

Newscom/Rapport Syndication

April 6, 2009: Vice President Biden throws the first pitch for the Baltimore Orioles on opening day at Camden Yards.

Newscom/Joy Absalon/Cal Sport Media

Oct. 23, 2008: General David Petraeus opens Game 2 of the World Series at the Tampa Bay Rays’ stadium in Florida.

Newscom/UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch

March 30, 2008: President George W. Bush at the Washington Nationals’ opening game.

Newscom/UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch

Sept. 8, 2007: Republican presidential candidate and former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani throws the first pitch for the Texas Rangers.

Newscom/Bill Janscha/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT

April 11, 2006: Vice President Dick Cheney on opening day for the Washington Nationals.

Newscom/Ed Wolfstein/Icon SMI

April 8, 2004: Former President Jimmy Carter on opening day for the San Diego Padres.

Newscom/Stan Liu/Icon SMI

July 24, 2004: Presidential candidate John Kerry throws the first pitch at a Yankees-Red Sox game in Boston on the eve of the Democratic National Convention.

Newscom/Anthony J Causi/Icon SMI

Sept. 2, 2002: Then-Florida gubernatorial candidate Janet Reno throws the first pitch for a Japan vs. United States game during the Women’s World Series.


April 3, 2000: Former President George H.W. Bush at a Texas Rangers game.


April 2, 1996: President Bill Clinton warms up with former St. Louis player Joe Garagiola before throwing out the first pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game.


Sept. 30, 1988: President Ronald Reagan throws out the first pitch at Wrigley Field for the Chicago Cubs.


April 7, 1969: President Richard Nixon at the Washington Senators opening game in Washington, D.C..


Vice President Lyndon Johnson (left) and President John F. Kennedy at a Washington Senators game in the 1960s.


July 7, 1937: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the All-Star Game at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C.


1916: President Woodrow Wilson on opening day for the Washington Senators.


June 6, 1910: President William Howard Taft tosses out the first-ever ceremonial first pitch for the Washington Senators.

Newscom/SHNS photo courtesy Corbis

July 6, 2008: An Abraham Lincoln impersonator throws out the first pitch at a St. Louis Cardinals game at Busch Stadium.

Newscom/UPI Photo/Bill Greenblatt