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Former President George W. Bush Throws 1st Pitch To Pudge Rodriguez Before Game 1

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Iván “Pudge” Rodriguez, a former Texas Rangers catcher, received the ceremonial first pitch from former President George W. Bush before Game 1 of the World Series. The toss was bounced off the front of the mound.

The Rangers, who are playing the Arizona Diamondbacks, had Bush as their managing partner from 1989 to 1994. Bush was the previous governor of Texas.

During his presidency, Bush made headlines when he hit a pitch from the rubber that didn’t bounce during the opening World Series game in New York following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Before the first pitch, Bush recalled that in 2001, TV analyst Derek Jeter, a former shortstop for the Yankees, had told him he had to throw from the mound and couldn’t bounce the pitch to avoid being jeered.

“Well, this is Texas,” Jeter said Friday in a brief interview from the tunnel behind the Texas dugout on the first-base side. “You bounce it, they won’t boo you.”

“No, no,” Bush replied. “It doesn’t matter now.”

While Rodriguez—who was inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame—wore his well-known No. 7 jersey, Bush wore a white blazer with the team’s red “T” insignia on the chest.

In 2010 and 2011, Rodriguez was still on the field when the Rangers last made it to the World Series. Throughout his 21-year career, the 13-time Gold Glove player and 14-time All-Star played part of his first 12 seasons with the Rangers.

Two ceremonial first pitches were exchanged by 43rd President Bush and his late father, 41st President George H.W. Bush. Before Game 4 of the 2010 World Series in Arlington, Texas, and Game 5 in Houston in 2017, they were partnered together. The younger Bush is a Dallas resident.

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