The first U.S. president to throw out a ceremonial first pitch was William Howard Taft in 1910. A dozen years later, the Washington D.C. tradition was alive and well.
Our Photo of the Day from RMY Auctions is an original news photo from April 1922 showing the chief executive getting ready to deliver the pitch just prior to the Senators’ contest against the New York Yankees.
The 6 ½ x 8 ½” photo shows the right-handed Harding surrounded by fans and associates as he launches a new season. Harding would settle in with young Walter Johnson Jr., son of the famous pitcher, sitting on his lap during the first inning.
On May 22, Harding returned to the ballpark to watch a game with future president Herbert Hoover and General Pershing.
While in office, Harding actually threw four pitches that kicked off the season: three at Griffith Stadium and the one that launched baseball at Yankee Stadium in 1923.
The silver gelatin photo has remarkable clarity and would have been available to newspapers across the country. A file stamp on the back shows the photo was filed into archive ten days after the game.
RMY is offering more than 300 photos in its August auction, which concludes August 16 at RMYAuctions.com.