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!
"…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.
Get ready for Major League Baseball’s 2013 Opening Day with a new, free eBook from the National Archives!
“Baseball: The National Pastime in the National Archives” tells the story of baseball in America through documents, photographs, audio, video, and other records preserved at the National Archives.
The book can be downloaded for free on your iPhone, Android, iPad, and eReaders.
Learn about the two world wars, contract disputes, civil rights, equal access and opportunity on and off the playing field, the steroids era, Presidential involvement, improvements to the sport, Little League, Opening Day, and more.
(Today’s Document may be quiet the rest of the afternoon as we’re off to see the Nationals take on that expansion team from the Bronx. Go Nats!)
Happy birthday Hank Aaron!
Generally considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Hank Aaron here meets with President Jimmy Carter in the Oval Office, four years after breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974.
Photo: Jimmy Carter with Hank Aaron, 08/15/1978
"We sincerely appreciate the many true Americans who insist on equal rights for all."
Telegram to the White House, August 13, 1957
Jack Roosevelt Robinson (1919-72) was the first black man to “officially” play in the big leagues in the 20th century. In the course of a distinguished 10-year career beginning in 1947, Robinson led the Brooklyn Dodgers to six National League titles and one victorious World Series.
Beyond his many and baseball feats, Jackie Robinson went on to champion the cause of civil rights when he retired from the game. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson all received candid correspondence from Robinson on the need to act for civil rights.
Our holdings at the Presidential Libraries and National Archives include numerous records relating to Jackie Robinson. You can see a number of the telegrams and letters Robinson sent to the White House here.
Image: Telegram to the White House from Jackie Robinson regarding the 1957 Civil Rights Act from the Eisenhower Library.
January 31, 1919 - October 24, 1972