Jimmy Carter

From BR Bullpen


James Earl Carter, Jr.

"In 1976, Jimmy Carter got the Secret Service on his team and they consistently beat the media." - TV newsman Sam Donaldson

"Next time, get your ass here before the seventh game." - Rick Dempsey, speaking about the only major league game (the last one of the 1979 World Series) that Carter attended while President

Carter playing softball

Jimmy Carter was the thirty-ninth President of the United States (1977-1981), and later won the Nobel Peace Prize. He was not very interested in attending major league baseball games - in fact, he was the only sitting president since William Howard Taft not to have thrown the ceremonial first pitch at a regular season major league baseball game - but he was a fanatic softball player. In his defence, there was no team based in Washington during his tenure, and he did make it to nearby Baltimore, MD to throw the first pitch of Game 7 of the 1979 World Series. Donald Trump, who did not have such an excuse, managed to complete a four-year mandate without performing the ceremonial duty at any point.

He had been a pitcher for his baseball team "in submarines", as he put it (he was a naval officer under Hyman Rickover in the Navy's nuclear submarine program). When he was president, he was such a serious softball player that his Secret Service people felt pressure to perform well on the field.

Early in 1979, when the Oakland Athletics were setting negative attendance records, the Washington Post ran a spoof article based on the premise that MLB had decided to move the A's to Washington to avoid further embarrassment. In his fictional journal of the season, the writer wrote that on opening day, President Carter had been invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch and then had insisted on pitching the entire game, but had suffered a lopsided loss, unsurprisingly. This was a reference to the President's well-document passion for softball.

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Preceded by
Gerald Ford
United States President
1977 – 1981
Succeeded by
Ronald Reagan