From presidents to senators, Opening Day holds a mound of special memories in Cleveland

Posted at 7:37 PM, Mar 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-29 19:40:02-04

Opening Day and politics have roots that go hand in hand in Ohio, particularly for presidents and politicians.

It was Ohioan William Howard Taft who was the first president to throw out the Opening Day first pitch, a feat followed by almost all of his predecessors, including Bill Clinton in 1994 on the day Jacob's Field (now Progressive Field) opened to the public.

Senator Sherrod Brown has his own memories of Opening Day.

"I remember I was a student at Johnny Appleseed Jr. High School in Mansfield and I was taking my best friend to Opening Day. My Dad had gotten tickets for my best friend and me and my teacher didn't like it," Brown said. "She let us go, but she made us right on the blackboard, 'I will never do this again,' and made us write it ten times on the blackboard."

Senator Rob Portman's also remembers an Opening Day experience. His memory involves a candid conversation with former Indians' pitcher Bob Feller.

"We just had the greatest conversation," Portman said. "You know he cared a lot about politics, he had some strong views, but he also just had this encyclopedic knowledge of the game."