A great fan and former radio announcer for the Chicago Cubs, President Ronald Reagan threw out the first pitch at a Cubs vs. Pirates game at Chicago’s Wrigley Field in on September 30, 1988.
Discover more baseball stories in the National Archives t e-pub “Baseball: The National Pastime in the National Archives” athttp://www.archives.gov/publications/ebooks or https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/baseball-national-pastime/id621586827?ls=1
President Nixon throwing out the first ball while attending an All Star Baseball Game in Cincinnati, Ohio. With him at the game were Clifford Hardin, First Lady Pat Nixon, David and Julie Eisenhower, Mr. and Mrs. Dale (owners of the Cincinnati Reds), Joe Cronin, President of the American League, Chub Feeney, President of the National League, with Congressman and Mrs. Robert J. Taft. Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver and New York Mets manager Gil Hodges*, stand nearby. 7/14/70.
Discover more baseball stories in the National Archives e-pub “Baseball: The National Pastime in the National Archives” at http://www.archives.gov/publications/ebooks or https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/baseball-national-pastime/id621586827?ls=1
*note: this post originally identified Hodges and Weaver incorrectly. Thanks to the sharp-eyed baseball fans for letting us know!
Jesse Owens received the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Garden of the White House on August 5, 1976. President Ford presented him with the nation’s highest civilian honor 40 years after he won four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
President Gerald R. Ford tried to fit in laps whenever he could, even while traveling. Here he does the backstroke in a pool at the Spring Palace in Romania on August 3, 1975.
Jerry began swimming when he was young; in high school he was a member of a Grand Rapids YMCA swim team that won a state championship. The Ford family home in Alexandria, Virginia, had a pool in the backyard where he could enjoy daily swims during his time in Congress.
Although the White House previously had a swimming pool located in the West Wing, during the Nixon administration it had been covered over to make space for a Press Room. Ford’s keen interest in continuing his daily laps led to the formation of a White House Swimming Pool Committee. This organization collected private donations to fund a new outdoor pool. Construction began in May of 1975, and Ford took the first dip in the pool on July 5.
As of March 1976 his swimming regimen consisted of 22 lengths of the pool, equal to a quarter-mile, which took him 14 minutes to complete.
"…affirming the right of girls to play Little League baseball."
Located in President Gerald R. Ford’s legislation case files is a recommendation to approve the bill H.R. 8864 and amend the Federal charter of Little League Baseball, allowing girls to play.
JFK at the 32nd All-Star Baseball Game
On July 10, 1962, President Kennedy threw out the first ball at the All-Star Baseball Game in Washington, D.C.
Pictured: Speaker of the House John W. McCormack, Dave Powers, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, President Kennedy, Commisioner of Baseball Ford. C. Frick, Lawrence O’Brien, others ( in foreground- Dennis Marcel, Frank Brown, members of the Washington Boys Club ).
-from the JFK Library
Jackie Robinson broke the color line in Major League Baseball when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. This decision would not only integrate baseball, but would help the country work to achieve equal rights for all. Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., once commented to baseball pitcher Don Newcombe, “Don, you and Jackie will never know how easy you made my job, through what you went through on the baseball field.”
Before becoming famous, Lt. Jack R. Robinson was court-martialed at Camp Hood, Texas, because he refused to move to the back of the bus after being told to do so by a bus driver and disobeying an order from a superior officer. Robinson was acquitted of all charges and received an honorable discharge, but this was not the only experience he would have in fighting discrimination.
After retiring from baseball, Robinson turned much of his attention to civil rights issues. He wrote to several Presidents about the cause, and even attended the March on Washington.
Many of these milestone events from Robinson’s life are documented in primary sources from the National Archives.