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April 21, 2010
Times Leader

By BETTY?POKAS, Times Leader Area Editor
BASEBALL has the reputation of being the “all-American pastime,” and that’s not surprising when one considers its popularity.
Not only do people like to watch baseball at the ballfield or on television, but individuals of all ages also like to play it. In addition, it’s a handy game to listen to on the radio when walking or sitting outside in the sun or the shade.
“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is a popular song, but probably more popular are the hot dogs often available at the game.
And, then there’s the seventh-inning stretch. Some attribute its origin to President William Howard Taft, one of Ohio’s native sons. It is said that the 300-pound president became uncomfortable while seated at a baseball game so he stood up, and other fans thought he was ready to leave the game so they also stood up to show their respect. When he sat back down, they also sat so that’s how the seventh-inning stretch reportedly came into existence.
It might be a case of folklore, but it’s an interesting story.
To his credit, Taft was the first president to throw the first pitch on opening day.
The accompanying pictures, taken years ago and unidentified, indicate the popularity of baseball in Eastern Ohio.
This area also was the site for the beginning of Colt League Baseball. The late John Laslo, who later became Martins Ferry mayor, founded Colt League in 1953.
Pokas can be reached at

Article Photos

BASEBALL appeals to all ages as indicated by these young players. The picture appears to have been taken in Martins Ferry, but the year isn’t known although it might have been in the 1960s.



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