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This Day in D.C. Baseball History – A Presidential Affair
April 9, 1959
Opening day at Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C. President Dwight D. Eisenhower threw out the first pitch before he witnessed major league baseball history when the Orioles turned the first triple play during an opening day game. In the bottom of the fifth inning with the Senators leading the Orioles 5-0 the Orioles recorded a 3-6-3 triple play. The triple play didn’t hinder the Senators as they went on to beat the Orioles 9-2 in front of President Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Nixon and the rest of the 26,848 spectators.
The Washington Senators played their first regular season game at District of Columbia Stadium. President John F. Kennedy was part of the sellout crowd of 44,383 who witnessed Senators’ pitcher Bennie Daniels complete game (4-1) victory over the Detroit Tigers. The Washington Senators’ Bob Johnson led the Senators (13) hit barrage, by going (3 for 4) with one home run and (2) RBI’s. The two run home run that Johnson hit in the 4th inning was more than enough, as Daniels would only give up (5) hits and (1) run to the Tigers. FYI: The Washington Senators won their 2nd game (5-2) over Cleveland Indians on April 13, 1962. After that game the Washington Senators will go onto lose their next (13) games.