As a boy, Carter saw Robinson's debut

Updated: April 4, 2004, 10:15 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

As Major League Baseball opens around the country, three teams are bringing in heavy hitters for the opening pitch.

President George W. Bush will be in St. Louis on Monday to throw out the first pitch for the Cardinals' game against the Brewers, and his vice president Dick Cheney will toss the ceremonial ball on Monday in Cincinnati for the Reds-Cubs game.

The inaugural first pitch in the San Diego Padres' new Petco Park will be thrown by former U.S. president and 2002 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Jimmy Carter.

It will be the first time in three years that Bush will throw a ceremonial first pitch on opening day -- he did it when Miller Park opened in Milwaukee. "It just shows what an occasion it is in St. Louis," Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen said. "To have him here, it's going to be like a holiday."

Carter, a former San Diego resident and naval officer, is a life-long baseball fan, having the boyhood distinction of attending Jackie Robinson's Major League debut. Carter's participation will mark the first time a President has been involved in ceremonies surrounding a baseball game in San Diego since then-President George H. W. Bush delivered a ceremonial pitch prior to the 1992 MLB All-Star Game hosted by San Diego at Jack Murphy Stadium.

"We are pleased and honored to have someone of former president Carter's stature ... on-hand to help celebrate the Opening Night of the inaugural season at PETCO Park," said Padres president Dick Freeman.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.