George W. Bush’s playful first pitch at World Series Game 1 sparks nostalgia and camaraderie.
In a nostalgic moment, former President George W. Bush took center stage at Game 1 of the World Series, delivering the ceremonial first pitch to former Texas Rangers catcher Iván “Pudge” Rodriguez. Bush, who served as the managing partner of the Rangers from 1989 to 1994, showcased his deep connection to the team by donning a white jacket adorned with the iconic red “T” logo.
The ceremonial pitch, however, didn’t follow the conventional script, as Bush bounced the throw from the front of the mound. This playful deviation added a lighthearted touch to the event, contrasting with his more solemn first pitch during the 2001 World Series in New York after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Engaging in pre-pitch banter, Bush shared a moment of reflection with former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, now a TV analyst. They reminisced about Jeter advising Bush in 2001 to avoid bouncing the pitch to prevent boos. Jeter humorously noted, “This is Texas. You bounce it, they won’t boo you.” Bush replied, “It doesn’t matter now.”
Adorned in his familiar No. 7 jersey, Hall of Famer Iván “Pudge” Rodriguez, who spent a significant portion of his illustrious 21-year career with the Rangers, caught Bush’s throw. Rodriguez, a 13-time Gold Glove player and 14-time All-Star, played a pivotal role in the Rangers’ World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011.
The ceremonial first pitch also carried sentimental value for Bush, who, as the 43rd president, had twice shared this honor with his late father, George H.W. Bush, the 41st president. Their joint appearances took place before Game 4 of the 2010 World Series in Arlington, Texas, and Game 5 in Houston in 2017. The younger Bush’s residence in Dallas adds an additional layer of connection to the Rangers’ community. The ceremonial pitch thus became a poignant blend of baseball tradition, personal history, and a shared love for the game.