Ceremonial First Pitches

Ceremonial First Pitches

Updated May 30, 2014 at 03:54PM EDT by Don.

Added May 30, 2014 at 12:41PM EDT by Don.

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Ceremonial First Pitches is a baseball tradition in which a guest of honor throws a baseball to a catcher to mark the beginning of the game. Since the arrival of online video-sharing platforms in the 2000s, a variety of video clips showing bizarre, impressive and poorly thrown pitches have gone viral online, especially during the baseball season in the summer and fall.


In 1908, the first ceremonial first pitch was thrown by former Japanese Prime Minister Ōkuma Shigenobu at a game in Koshien, Japan. In 1910, the American ritual began at the Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C., where the 27th President of the United States William Howard Taft threw a ceremonial first pitch at an Opening Day game between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Athletics.


On April 2nd, 2007, former mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio Mark Mallory threw a pitch that flew 30 feet to the left of home plate, hitting umpire Sam Holbrook in the foot (shown below, left). In May 2008, singer Mariah Carey threw an opening pitch at a game in Tokyo, Japan, which fell to the ground well before reaching home plate (shown below, right).

On May 4th, 2010, pop singer Justin Bieber threw a pitch that flew slightly outside home plate. A video was subsequently uploaded by YouTuber cspanjunkievideo, which gathered over 2.06 million views and 7,800 comments in the next four years (shown below, left). On June 25th, YouTuber Richard Dargan uplodaed a montage of 10 ceremonial pitch fails, garnering upwards of 1.4 million views and 1,500 comments in the next four years (shown below, right).

Korean First Pitches

On May 11th, 2012, member of the K-pop band Girls’ Generation Jessica Jung threw a ceremonial first pitch directly at the ground before a LG vs. Samsung Korean Baseball Organization game (shown below, left). On May 3rd, 2013, Korean actress Clara Lee made headlines after delivering a first pitch while wearing a pair of baseball-themed tights (shown below, right).

On May 6th, Girls’ Generation member Tiffany Hwang threw a first pitch which veered off course to the left at a Los Angeles Dodgers game (shown below, left). On July 5th, gymnast Shin Soo-ji threw a first pitch in which she performed an impressive spinning-kick move at the Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, South Korea (shown below, right).

On August 14th, ballerina Lee Eun did mid-air split dance while throwing a first pitch at Jamsil Stadium (shown below, left). On August 17th, martial artist Tae Mi threw a spinning leg kick first pitch at Jamsil Stadium (shown below, right).

Carly Rae Jepsen Pitch

On July 14th, 2013, pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen threw the first pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game, which fell to the ground several feet in front of her. On the same day, Redditor samk0526 submitted an animated GIF of the pitch to the /r/funny[1] subreddit, where it received more than 13,100 upvotes and 950 comments prior to being archived.

50 Cent Pitch

On May 27th, 2014, rapper 50 Cent threw a first pitch which veered well off course to the left at a Mets Game (shown below). That evening, Redditor moustachio-banderas submitted a clip of the pitch to the /r/sports[4] subreddit, where it gathered upwards of 4,100 upvotes and 940 comments.

On May 29th, The Washington Post’s Wonk Blog[2] posted a chart of the “best and worst ceremonial first pitches,” which placed 50 Cent’s pitch the farthest outside the pitcher’s mound (shown below).

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