Herbert Hoover was a lifelong fan of baseball, not just major league baseball, but baseball of all kinds. Hoover played the game as a youth, tried out for the Stanford team while in college, and championed baseball as the ideal American sport. Hoover was given season passes to the Washington Senators and New York Giants, attending several games each year. As President, Hoover threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Senators. As ex-President, Hoover remained a staunch baseball fan, attending many World Series games during the 1950s.
In 1956, Hoover granted the Cincinnati Reds permission to post this quote on the outfield wall of Crosley Field: “The rigid volunteer rules of right and wrong in sports are second only to religious faith in moral training—and Baseball is the greatest of American sports.” This quote neatly sums up Hoover’s abiding love of America’s game.
On August 8, 1959, the New York Yankees hosted an Old Timers’ Day which brought together sixty former athletes who played for or against the Yankees in the twenty-four World Series involving the team. Former Yankees Joe DiMaggio, Wally Pipp and Bill Dickey, and others played two innings against a National League team led by Bill Terry, Rogers Hornsby and Dizzy Dean.
Herbert Hoover, a special guest of the Yankees, was invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Old Timers’ Game as he so often did while serving as President. Hoover had so much fun throwing out the first pitch in 1959 [two days shy of his 85th birthday] that he threw out the ceremonial first ball for the Old Timers’ Game on August 13, 1961, three days after turning 86 years old.