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President Kennedy Nearly Catches Foul Ball

Apr. 9, 1962 - President Kennedy, like every President since William Howard Taft, made the first pitch at the opening of the baseball season today. But, unlike any of his predecessors, he almost made a putout on a foul ball. He should have had it and must be charged with an error. Had the President made the catch, it would have crowned a perfect day for the 44,383 fans who jammed the new District of Columbia Stadium. The Senators adorned the occasion with a 4-1 victory over the Tigers. The President’s fielding effort came in the fourth when Willie Tasby, Washington’s left fielder, sent a towering foul to the right of the first-base foul line. As the ball descended, it seemed headed for the President, just behind the Senators’ dugout. It was. The President reached for it. He was blocked from the play by Dave Powers, his special assistant and political mentor, who once played semi-pro ball. The ball struck the top of the dugout a couple of feet from the President and bounced about 30 feet in the air. Later, Powers said, “If I had had a glove, I’d have caught it.” In any event, the next batter, Bob Johnson, put things right by christening the left-field wall with the stadium’s first homer.

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