White Sox invite Obama to throw out '09 first pitch

Updated: November 6, 2008, 1:58 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

President-elect Barack Obama has quite the to-do list before settling into the White House in January. By April, the White Sox hope there's room on his agenda for the Opening Day pitch.

[+] EnlargeBarack Obama
AP Photo/Ann HeisenfeltObama already knows his way around the U.S. Cellular Field mound. He threw out the first pitch at a White Sox ALCS game against the Angels in 2005.

"I'll make an executive decision right now," general manager Ken Williams said Wednesday at baseball's GM meetings in California. "Let this be a formal invitation: If he would like to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day next year, we can find a spot for him."

The American League Central champion White Sox open the season April 6 at U.S. Cellular Field against Kansas City.

A longtime White Sox fan -- who has said that he's not also a Cubs fan -- the Illinois Democrat has taken the mound on the South Side in the past, throwing out the first pitch prior to Game 2 of the 2005 AL Championship Series.

At the time, the Angels led the White Sox in the best-of-seven series 1-0. But after Obama threw out the first pitch, Chicago ran off a winning streak that culminated in a World Series title.

"They were 0-1 at the time, but they won eight straight," Obama told the Chicago Tribune in 2005. "I'm not saying there is a correlation, but I e-mailed [White Sox chairman Jerry] Reinsdorf and said if they start getting in a jam, my arm was rested. I was ready to go."

According to Thursday's Tribune, Obama usually talks pitching when he speaks to Williams.

"Now I not only have to answer to Jerry Reinsdorf about pitching, I have to answer to the president," Williams said, according to the newspaper. "It's one thing when he would ask me about pitching as a senator, but now he's going to ask the question as president, and I have to say, 'Mr. President.'

"I have to answer to the highest office now."

William Howard Taft started the tradition of throwing out the first pitch in 1910 when he lobbed a ball from the stands to Walter Johnson.

Williams said knowing the soon-to-be president and knowing he's a true fan is "kind of cool."

"I'll tell you what, when we won the World Series [in 2005], he was one of the first ones at the front door waiting for us," Williams told the Tribune.

Information from ESPN's research department was used in this report.