Wednesday , December 1 2021

How Did Baseball’s Seventh-inning Stretch Originate?

The seventh-inning stretch, when fans rise from their seats for a brief break after the top of that inning is complete, is as much a part of Major League Baseball as beer at ballparks and booing umpires. But the origins of the American tradition, which may date to 1869, are as murky as the ingredients in a hot dog.

The most well-known origin story involves William Howard Taft, who served as 27th U.S. president from 1909-1913. At an opening-day game in Washington against the Philadelphia Athletics on April 14, 1910, he threw out the first pitch before taking his seat in a box near the field. In the middle of the seventh inning, the 300-pound Taft—”a lover of baseball,” according to a newspaper account—stood up to stretch his legs. The crowd, thinking the president was leaving, rose out of respect.  

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