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April 23, 2014
CQ Press Encyclopedia of American Government


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Have You Heard


On April 14, 1910, William Howard Taft began the tradition of presidents throwing out the first baseball of the season. That's not in dispute. On shakier ground is the legend that Taft also originated the seventh-inning stretch, when he stood to ease his three-hundred-pound frame from the long discomfort of a stadium chair. According to the Baseball Museum at Cooperstown, New York, Brother Jasper of Manhattan College beat Taft by almost thirty years. Coach Jasper gave his team a seventh-inning break in June 1882 during an exhibition game with the semi-pro New York Metropolitans. After that the stretch became standard at the college's home games. The museum also has reports of the stretch at pro baseball games in New York as early as 1889. Everybody stood—and they've been standing ever since.  more...


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