June 23, 2009: Baseball's biggest stars will all be on hand, but they will be overshadowed by President Barack Obama. Major League Baseball said that President Obama will throw out the first pitch at the 2009 MLB All-Star Game, to be played July 14 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. President Obama will be the fourth sitting U.S. President to throw out the first pitch at the MLB All-Star Game, and the first sitting President to do so since President Gerald Ford in 1976, joining President John F. Kennedy (1962) and President Richard Nixon (1970). President Obama will also be the seventh sitting or former U.S. President to attend the All-Star Game (Ford and President George H.W. Bush each attended twice).
The event, which will be seen on Fox, comes at a time when baseball is seeking reinstatement into the Olympics and also at a time when Chicago, President Obama's home town, is among the final four cities being considered by the International Olympic Committee to host the 2016 Summer Games. Major League Baseball is supporting President Obama’s call for community service through “United We Serve,” a program that encourages Americans to engage in sustained and meaningful community service. MLB said that President Obama is encouraging all Americans to visit www.Serve.gov to find service opportunities in their area.
“Major League Baseball is truly honored that President Obama will be in attendance to throw out the first pitch at the 80th All-Star Game on July 14 in St. Louis,” MLB commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. “The central theme of the 2009 All-Star Game is community service, celebrating the extraordinary work being done by ordinary people. We are thrilled that we can come together with President Obama, who has encouraged a renewed spirit of national service, and illustrate a call to action in our communities. President Obama will continue a great tradition that joins our nation’s leader and the national pastime.” The leagues are tied 4-4 in All-Star Games attended by sitting or former U.S. presidents.
All-Time Presidential appearances at the MLB All-Star Game:
1937: President Franklin D. Roosevelt (American League won, 8-3)
1962: President John F. Kennedy threw out the ceremonial first pitch (National League won the first of two All-Star Games played that year, in Washington, D.C., 3-1)
1970: President Richard Nixon threw out the ceremonial first pitch (National League won, 5-4)
1976: President Gerald Ford threw out the ceremonial first pitch (National League won, 7-1)
1978: Former President Gerald Ford threw out the ceremonial first pitch (National League won, 7-3)
1989: Former President Ronald Reagan (American League won, 9-3)
1991: President George H.W. Bush (American League won, 4-2)
1992: President George H.W. Bush (American League won, 13-6)