Soon following the Islamic terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, then-President George W. Bush threw out what’s arugably the most memorable ceremonial first pitch of any MLB game to date.
On an emotional night in October, President Bush threw out the first pitch in Game 3 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Under immense threat, the president, cool and collected and proud, threw a perfect strike to Yankee catcher Todd Greene.
The crowd roared and the American people received a much-needed morale boost.
President Bush said he was first told Game 1 would be more fitting, as it would be played in Arizona, at the Diamondbacks’ home stadium, and thus the president would face less of a threat. “I rejected that out of hand,” said Bush.
He knew he had to be in New York City at Yankee Stadium.
“I knew the symbolism and what it would mean for Americans when we felt so vulnerable and we were still afraid,” said Former First Lady Laura Bush of the pitch.
Mrs. Bush never said, “Don’t go, you might get killed,” recalled President Bush. “That wasn’t her style.”
Those who saw the event live can vividly recall the pitch, especially today, the 16-year anniversary of that fateful day nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered in a terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center — the worst attack America had suffered in half a century.
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WATCH the full behind-the-scenes of the pitch via ESPN’s 30 for 30 production, First Pitch: