Austin Dillon to Throw Out First Pitch at San Diego Padres Game on May 2

Simi Valley, CA - Today, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation announced a series of partnerships with eight Major League Baseball (MLB) teams - from the NY Yankees to Los Angeles Dodgers - hundreds of thousands of baseball fans a way to celebrate the 100th birthday of President Reagan. Ronald Reagan's connection with baseball began with one of his first jobs as a radio sports announcer and extended through his post-Presidency (more below).

The Ronald Reagan 100 - Major League Baseball Tributes will kick off Monday night, May 2nd with the San Diego Padres as they play the Pittsburgh Pirates at PETCO Park. At that game:

  • Austin Dillon, Co-Chair of the Reagan Centennial National Youth Committee, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver for Richard Childress Racing and driver of the No. 98 Curb Records/ Childress Institute-Reagan Centennial in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will throw out the first pitch;
  • National country recording artist Tim Dugger, member of the Reagan Centennial National Youth Committee, will sing the national anthem;
  • A Major League Baseball Video Tribute to Ronald Reagan will be shown, narrated by MLB Network and Fox Sports Announcer Chris Rose - available here; and
  • Jelly Belly Jelly Beans, President Reagan's favorite treat, will be given to a few lucky fans.

"The fact that eight of the 30 Major League Baseball teams have chosen to honor President Reagan in a special way during this historic Centennial year shows that his legacy is as alive and well today," said Executive Director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation's Centennial Celebration, Stewart McLaurin. "These partnerships continue the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation's commitment to facilitate 'something for everyone' during the Ronald Reagan Centennial year. From academic symposia with Notre Dame, Georgetown, and the US Naval Academy later this Fall to the unveiling of statues in London and Washington, DC this Summer, 2011 offers a historic opportunity to honor the life, legacy, and leadership of the 40th President of the United States."

MLB Teams that will honor President Reagan during the Centennial year of his birth include:

  • San Diego Padres - May 2nd
  • St. Louis Cardinals - June 3rd
  • Cincinnati Reds - June 8th
  • Atlanta Braves - June 14th
  • Washington Nationals  -- June 23rd
  • Los Angeles Dodgers - July 4th
  • Chicago Cubs - August 6th
  • New York Yankees - date TBD

"The legacy of Ronald Reagan continues to inspire us today," said San Diego Padres Vice Chairman and CEO Jeff Moorad. "From sportscaster to fan, President Reagan was a legendary part of the game. The Padres organization is honored to remember him with this special tribute during the Centennial year of his birth."

Ronald Reagan and Baseball

At the age of 22, the first commercial radio station West of the Mississippi River, Davenport, Iowa's WOC AM 1420, hired Ronald Reagan as a sports announcer. When the station merged with NBC national affiliate WHO in Des Moines, Iowa, Ronald Reagan became the play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Cubs from 1933-1935.

In 1952, then-actor Ronald Reagan starred with Doris Day in "The Winning Team," a movie about pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander who balanced a Hall of Famer career and alcoholism.

As President, Reagan threw out the first pitch at three major league baseball games: two for the Baltimore Orioles (1984, 1986), and one for the Chicago Cubs (1988). On September 30, 1988, he filled in for announcer Harry Caray during a Chicago Cubs' game. During the broadcast, Reagan said, "You know in a few months I'm going to be out of work and I thought I might as well audition."

After serving in the White House, President Reagan assumed his once familiar seat as baseball announcer, next to the legendary Vin Scully, during the 1989 All Star Game in Anaheim. During that game, Ronald Reagan saw back-to-back homeruns by Bo Jackson and Wade Boggs.

Richard Childress Racing PR