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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Ready for the World Series? 10 legends that should throw out the first pitch

The Nationals will host at least two World Series games next week. That is a wild feat for a franchise that suffered through a string of 100-loss seasons after baseball came back to D.C. in 2005.

The job isn’t done for Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto. The job is just starting. The World Series presents a pomp and circumstance in baseball unseen in D.C. since before World War II. And no offense to baseball crowds in the 1930s, but the safe guess is the pomp and circumstance has grown significantly over the last 80 years.

Much of the scene next week will be mandated by Major League Baseball. The big national corporate sponsors will show up and things that have happened all year will get pushed aside in the great name of a cash grab. God bless America.

But, this is still D.C. and the Nationals still get some control over who throws out the first pitch. Should anyone need ideas, here’s a list of tremendous options. No politicians. Please. Seriously.

So, who would you have delivering the first pitch?

 

QLE Posted: October 17, 2019 at 01:15 AM | 57 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: first pitch, nationals

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Bug Selig Posted: October 17, 2019 at 07:42 AM (#5891218)
Ryan Zimmerman
   2. Rally Posted: October 17, 2019 at 09:42 AM (#5891233)
Frank Howard

As a bonus I'd like to see him stand next to Aaron Judge, though the Astros will probably veto that request.
   3. Rally Posted: October 17, 2019 at 09:47 AM (#5891235)
I have completely different ideas than the author of the article, who listed 10 people and only 1 was a former Washington player - Livan Hernandez.

Also mentioned are relatives-to-be-named-later of Frank Robinson and Walter Johnson. Frank never played for a DC team, but did manage it.
   4. Itchy Row Posted: October 17, 2019 at 10:30 AM (#5891251)
I don't know what kind of shape he's in, but the oldest living ex-player, Eddie Robinson, was an all star for the 1949 Senators. Assuming Leo Harrison died without notifying bb-ref, there are 28 living people who played for the first version of the Senators.
   5. Nasty Nate Posted: October 17, 2019 at 10:32 AM (#5891253)
Gotta pay homage to the Montreal roots, so ... Jeff Loria!
   6. Esoteric Posted: October 17, 2019 at 10:44 AM (#5891258)
The answers (and in fact each of these is a likely choice) are Frank Howard, Livan Hernandez, and Jayson Werth.


As far as non-players are concerned, I actually do think that Anthony Williams deserves to be involved in some way, because it is indeed forgotten (as the piece points out) just how pivotal he was in bringing the team to town.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: October 17, 2019 at 11:16 AM (#5891270)
Is Howie Kendrick under consideration?
   8. Esoteric Posted: October 17, 2019 at 11:40 AM (#5891279)
Another pretty obvious choice for a first-pitch for the Nats would be Alex Ovechkin.
   9. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 17, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5891281)
My thoughts;

Ryan Zimmerman
Frank Howard
Andre Dawson
   10. Itchy Row Posted: October 17, 2019 at 11:58 AM (#5891284)
It would piss off the right people if they chose Obama to do it.
   11. Rennie's Tenet Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:05 PM (#5891287)
Name anyone they want, but replace him/her with Miguel Batista.
   12. Rennie's Tenet Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:05 PM (#5891288)
Sorry, double post.
   13. winnipegwhip Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:13 PM (#5891294)
Kershaw
   14. winnipegwhip Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:18 PM (#5891298)
Frank Howard

As a bonus I'd like to see him stand next to Aaron Judge, though the Astros will probably veto that request.


I remember Frank Howard when he was a Yankees coach in 1992. I saw him standing on the right field foul line at the Metrodome while the Yankees were taking pregame infield/outfield (teams used to do that!!!). While the fungo hitter was hitting to the outfielders from the infield, Hondo was waiting to hit to the outfielders. He was spending that time hitting a baseball straight up in the air and stepping one step to his left and the ball would land on the spot where he hit it from and he would let it bounce and he would grab it and do the same thing over and over again.
   15. Tin Angel Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:25 PM (#5891303)
Would Bryce Harper be willing to?
   16. villageidiom Posted: October 17, 2019 at 01:11 PM (#5891318)
Another pretty obvious choice for a first-pitch for the Nats would be Alex Ovechkin.
I believe Ovechkin is the correct answer.
   17. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 17, 2019 at 01:39 PM (#5891342)
I'm no fan of the man but the President should really be one of the people as well.
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 17, 2019 at 01:45 PM (#5891345)
I'm no fan of the man but the President should really be one of the people as well.
Do we have time to re-program Reggie Jackson first?
   19. Bote Man sez Davey is MoY Posted: October 17, 2019 at 02:29 PM (#5891367)
The First Pitch ceremony is pure fan service so do whatever fires up the fans, it's all good.

No politicians (including the President!), except Mayor Anthony Williams. He won't get any boos.

Frank Howard might not be able to throw a pitch, he looked pretty rickety the last time he was on the field (All-Star Game?), God bless him.

¡LIVAN! is an obvious choice, plus he really needs the money. He threw the very first pitch for the new Nationals in Philly and the first real pitch in D.C. on 14 April, 2005 to cement the return of baseball to the District.

I'm not sure anybody associated with Frank Robinson would be interested seeing how he was unceremoniously pushed aside after managing the Nats in their first 2 seasons in D.C.

There are only 3 games in D.C. (I'm predicting a 7-game World Series), but there's nothing stopping them from having multiple people throw simultaneous 1st pitches.

Ovechkin is good, since he and his crew showed D.C. how to celebrate a title last year (and then some!) He and Zim simultaneously throwing 1st pitches would be neat, since they were famously photographed partying together after the Caps won the Stanley Cup. But then, Zim will be getting his well deserved plaudits on the field during the games, so I don't see him as a strong contender for limited space.

The story of D.C. baseball is a bittersweet one of teams leaving town, so ties to Montreal don't resonate with D.C. baseball fans. The Expos players never played a game in D.C. so there is no fond memory of them here. With so many other choices from D.C. baseball history I can't see a Montreal player pushing out someone more memorable to long-time fans.

Speaking of baseball history, Phil Wood would be a sleeper candidate. He is a D.C. native who is a walking encyclopedia of baseball history in town and hosts a Saturday morning show on MASN and as well as the post-game radio show Nats Talk Live after games from the Wood Shed out on the concourse behind Section 105. This trip to the World Series is especially sweet for him and I think he would be a good choice for Game 4, even if combined with other 1st pitch throwers. Plus, it would be a genuinely decent gesture for the team to make towards him. He would get a decent cheer from the assembled Nats faithful. Thomas Boswell and Phil throwing 1st pitches together would be really sweet, since they're both The Press™ and both native Washingtonians. I don't see fans having a problem with them being the story for a few minutes.

If anybody has any tricks for scoring WS tix, I'm all ears / eyes. They start selling WS tix tomorrow morning only to those who bought NLCS tix directly from the team, so it's a land rush.
   20. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 17, 2019 at 02:42 PM (#5891371)
¡LIVAN! is an obvious choice, plus he really needs the money.


This is a paying gig?
   21. Hot Wheeling American Posted: October 17, 2019 at 02:52 PM (#5891374)
My sources are hinting at a sleeper candidate: George Pelecanos.
   22. depletion Posted: October 17, 2019 at 03:12 PM (#5891380)
Anthony Williams: the Bill Shea of the Nationals. He sacrificed a lot of political capital to get the deal done. Did he pay too much? Maybe, but here we are.
   23. bunyon Posted: October 17, 2019 at 03:29 PM (#5891386)
Ovechkin is good, since he and his crew showed D.C. how to celebrate a title last year (and then some!) He and Zim simultaneously throwing 1st pitches would be neat, since they were famously photographed partying together after the Caps won the Stanley Cup. But then, Zim will be getting his well deserved plaudits on the field during the games, so I don't see him as a strong contender for limited space.

Ovechkin slaps a baseball toward home where Zimmerman catches it.
   24. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 17, 2019 at 03:30 PM (#5891387)
There are only 3 games in D.C. (I'm predicting a 7-game World Series), but there's nothing stopping them from having multiple people throw simultaneous 1st pitches.


Then you can have Giuliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman at the same time.
   25. bunyon Posted: October 17, 2019 at 03:34 PM (#5891388)
I was googling to see if I could find any Walter Johnson descendents and found this: https://ghostsofdc.org/2013/07/02/this-is-so-sad-walter-johnson-buries-his-wife-hazel/

I never knew that. It's a sad photo of a sad time.
   26. Kurt Posted: October 17, 2019 at 03:41 PM (#5891390)
I like the suggestion from this article. The entire 2005 starting lineup takes the field, and Livan throws out the first pitch to Brian Schneider.
   27. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 17, 2019 at 03:49 PM (#5891391)
Walter Johnson's grandson, Henry W. Thomas, wrote a biography of Walter that was published in 1995. I don't know if Thomas is still around.
   28. bunyon Posted: October 17, 2019 at 03:57 PM (#5891395)
26: Sold

27: With that tip, I learned that Walter's youngest daughter was still alive in 2017 and a huge Nats fan. She was 94 so two years is a long time.
   29. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 17, 2019 at 04:01 PM (#5891396)
She was 94 so two years is a long time.
Probably doesn't have much of a throwing arm anyway.
   30. bunyon Posted: October 17, 2019 at 04:02 PM (#5891397)
Rub some dirt on it.
   31. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 17, 2019 at 04:17 PM (#5891401)
There are only 3 games in D.C. (I'm predicting a 7-game World Series), but there's nothing stopping them from having multiple people throw simultaneous 1st pitches.
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is a big Nationals fan. To give the ceremony a touch of diversity, he could be paired with Justice Ginsburg.
Phil Wood would be a sleeper candidate. He is a D.C. native who is a walking encyclopedia of baseball history in town and hosts a Saturday morning show on MASN and as well as the post-game radio show Nats Talk Live after games from the Wood Shed out on the concourse behind Section 105.
Phil Wood was one of the folks who kept the candle in the window burning for baseball during Washington’s long, painful, MLB hiatus. He did baseball radio shows, some at odd times and/or obscure stations, for decades, with more of a sabermetric bent than was common at the time. He has ‘a face for radio’, as the saying goes, but his MASN TV performance has improved considerably over the years. He’s probably too obscure for 1st pitch honors, but long-time DC area residents fondly remember his unstinting support for Washington baseball.
   32. Bote Man sez Davey is MoY Posted: October 17, 2019 at 04:23 PM (#5891403)
This is a paying gig?

I assume the team at least pays for travel and lodging to get the players to D.C. from their far-flung homes. Livo ran into some legal and financial trouble a few years back and I think had to sell his home in a gated neighborhood on the north side of Miami.

The Nats could probably vouch for Esteban Loaiza on a work-release program ;-)
   33. Hot Wheeling American Posted: October 17, 2019 at 04:48 PM (#5891407)
Consideration of Zimmerman strikes me as very odd. He's on the active roster!
   34. caspian88 Posted: October 17, 2019 at 05:20 PM (#5891415)
If they pick Ovechkin, he has to throw it from a point roughly between the mound and first base.
   35. Kurt Posted: October 17, 2019 at 05:35 PM (#5891418)
If they pick Ovechkin, he has to throw it from a point roughly between the mound and first base.


While standing nonchalantly like he's waiting for a bus, and before you know it the ball is in the catcher's mitt.
   36. Alex Vila Posted: October 17, 2019 at 07:21 PM (#5891432)
Gotta pay homage to the Montreal roots, so ... Jeff Loria!

John Brattain would come back from the dead and smite him.
   37. Sweatpants Posted: October 17, 2019 at 08:08 PM (#5891440)
Frank Howard

As a bonus I'd like to see him stand next to Aaron Judge, though the Astros will probably veto that request.
Howard is the biggest-looking baseball player I've ever seen. There have been taller guys, like Randy Johnson, but none of them felt as big. Look at him. He looked like a giant.

Of course the reputation on him is that he's an impossibly nice man.
   38. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 17, 2019 at 08:14 PM (#5891441)
Consideration of Zimmerman strikes me as very odd. He's on the active roster!


Yeah but he was their first ever draft pick and for a long time the #1 star. It’s unusual to be sure but this is an unusual situation. If you don’t take Zimmerman you have the choices of;

- connections to a franchise that left town 59 year ago
- connection to a franchise that left town 47(?) years ago
- A bunch of guys connected to the current organization but never played in Washington
- A bunch of pretty recent dudes.
- Non-baseball players

I admit the suggestion in 26 is a good one. I like it a lot. But Zimmerman feels like a really good choice. It’s not like the club has a ton of long time players strongly associated with the organization. Bryce Harper has some free time I guess.
   39. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 17, 2019 at 08:16 PM (#5891443)
Howard is the biggest-looking baseball player I've ever seen. There have been taller guys, like Randy Johnson, but none of them felt as big. Look at him. He looked like a giant.


Hot damn, the Red Sox were playing the shift there.

I really miss the balloon protector for umps.
   40. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 17, 2019 at 08:18 PM (#5891445)
The entire 2005 starting lineup takes the field
They would have to have someone ready for when Nick Johnson gets hurt halfway to first base.
   41. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 17, 2019 at 08:27 PM (#5891447)
Howard is the biggest-looking baseball player I've ever seen. There have been taller guys, like Randy Johnson, but none of them felt as big. Look at him. He looked like a giant.


That clip threw me for a second because I've always associated Frank Howard with wearing #33 with the Senators, not #9. Then I realized that Ted Williams took over as manager the next year, and knew why Howard didn't wear #9 any more...
   42. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: October 17, 2019 at 08:30 PM (#5891449)
I'm surprised no one's mentioned the last man to bat for the Washington Senators: Toby Harrah. (Of course, maybe they don't want to be reminded of that game...)
   43. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: October 17, 2019 at 08:42 PM (#5891457)
#40 made me laugh out loud quite literally.
   44. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 17, 2019 at 10:27 PM (#5891478)
Gotta be Frank Howard.

I share the same memory as many; I remember being at Tiger Stadium when he was a coach for the Yankees, and I saw this guy on the field in batting practice who looked super-human. I couldn't imagine a bigger man than that. He looked badly Photoshopped onto the rest of the field, though I guess that wasn't really a term back then.

They didn't have names on their jerseys so I was trying to figure out who he was. I knew Frank Howard was big, but I didn't know he was with the Yankees, and I also didn't know he was THAT big.
   45. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 17, 2019 at 11:14 PM (#5891486)
The honor should go to Youppi.
   46. Walt Davis Posted: October 19, 2019 at 03:21 PM (#5891936)
The honor should go to Youppi.

Oh god, we're gonna get a 7th inning race with all of the deceased presidents, aren't we?

I know it was a long time ago but I'm really hoping they take the field in their Natinals jerseys.
   47. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: October 19, 2019 at 03:34 PM (#5891944)
Howard is the biggest-looking baseball player I've ever seen. There have been taller guys, like Randy Johnson, but none of them felt as big. Look at him. He looked like a giant.

Meh. In the 60's, the Dodgers were scouting an actual giant, and Durocher almost signed him which would have had disastrous results for the league.
   48. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: October 19, 2019 at 03:42 PM (#5891946)
Here is Frank Howard with what I assume is his 5 YO son.
   49. Tin Angel Posted: October 19, 2019 at 05:41 PM (#5891964)
Howard is the biggest-looking baseball player I've ever seen.


Frank Thomas? On the MLB network he makes everyone else at the desk look small, even A Rod.
   50. Howie Menckel Posted: October 20, 2019 at 12:59 AM (#5892257)
how about GW Bush and Obama throw out the first pitch together?

who says no? (I'm a lifelong independent, so sometimes I get a much-needed reality check here)

and I have a good Frank Howard story, but I must have told it already here.
   51. bunyon Posted: October 20, 2019 at 10:05 AM (#5892290)
50: I had the same idea but, just, no. The country is deeply, deeply polarized at the moment. Unification isn't coming from past elected leaders who contributed a lot (intentionally or not) to the polarization. Leave the politicians at home. With three games, there are plenty of good choices without them.

Besides, W was an owner and big fan of a team that Dallas stole from Washington. I don't know how many see it that way but it's true.
   52. Tony S Posted: October 20, 2019 at 11:43 AM (#5892306)
While this thread is about the Nats (I like the Livan Hernandez idea), my pick for the Astros' first pitch would be J.R. Richard.
   53. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 20, 2019 at 12:58 PM (#5892323)
I like Bote Man's suggestion of Phil Wood and Boswell, along with Frank Howard. No non-baseball figures, and for Christ's sake, no politicians or Supreme Court Justices, though Anthony Williams might be a lone exception, given his role in bringing baseball back to the District.
   54. Tin Angel Posted: October 20, 2019 at 01:25 PM (#5892327)
Not even Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
   55. Esoteric Posted: October 20, 2019 at 02:39 PM (#5892341)
The only politician who should get within a mile of being officially associated with the Nats' first World Series is Tony Williams. I would accept him throwing out a first pitch. But as I said earlier, I think Livan, Hondo, and Werth are likely picks.
   56. Kurt Posted: October 24, 2019 at 02:39 PM (#5894033)
   57. JustDan Posted: October 24, 2019 at 04:39 PM (#5894091)
It won't be Ovechkin for any of the games, the Caps are on a western road trip this whole weekend.

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