October 9, 1915: President Wilson throws Pitch, Washington Post commits Error

All Washington was abuzz. The widowed President Wilson was reported to be in love again.

Hardly more than a year had passed since First Lady Edith Wilson had passed away in the White House, and the public had felt as devastated and depressed as the President himself when she died, only fifteen months after his inauguration.  wilson galt

But now, it was reported that the grieving husband had met an attractive widow, fifteen years his junior, and his mood had lifted dramatically.  Suddenly Woodrow Wilson and Edith Galt were being seen everywhere together.

She was attractive and stylish.  Her big cartwheel hats and ever-present orchid corsage proclaimed a statuesque, self-confident woman.  The President became a snappier dresser himself. They went on daily carriage rides and out to vaudeville shows. Wherever the President went, Edith appeared as well. Their photographs were printed in the newspapers.  There were even rumors that they had been seen necking in the back of the President’s chauffeur-driven Pierce Arrow.

On October 8, 1915 Woodrow Wilson and Edith Bolling Galt announced their engagement and traveled to New York City to visit a good friend of the President. The press did an excellent job covering the trip – a throng of reporters and photographers followed the engaged couple to various events and destinations throughout the city. The schedule was rather hectic and the press was disappointed that President Wilson did not purchase an engagement ring, but, all and all, the usually grim-faced President Wilson appeared with an unusually pleasant countenance–“continually wreathed in smiles,”

The next day, October 9, the engaged couple traveled to Philadelphia to watch the Red Sox take on the Phillies in the second game of the World Series. The game started five minutes late waiting for the presidential party. When the 28th U.S. president and his soon-to-be bride (also an avid baseball fan) finally arrived they were met with a thunderous roar from the 20,000 fans in attendance at the Baker Bowl.

The couple was seated in a box seat next to the Phillies dugout, which had been decked out with bunting and American flags. Woodrow Wilson, wearing a navy greatcoat, knew he was making history by being the first U.S. president to attend a World Series game. As Mrs. Galt beamed, the President waved to the crowd and threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and then the game began.

Leading off for the Red Sox in the top of the first, Harry Hooper drew a walk, and then Everett Scott popped out to first. When Tris Speaker singled to right, Hooper took third. Dick Hoblitzell took the plate, and just as the pitch was thrown Speaker broke for second, Ed Burns, the Phillies’ catcher, gunned him down, but in a daring double steal, Hooper took off for home. The throw back to the plate was on target, but the Phillies catcher, Burns, dropped the baseball, and Hooper scored.

The Red Sox never had to call on their rookie pitcher, Babe Ruth – Rube Foster pitched 9 innings of one run ball and drove in the winning run himself in the ninth inning. It was a splendid day for baseball; after the first inning bobble at the plate, both teams played errorless ball for the rest of the afternoon.

The same could not be said for the Washington Post. President Wilson and Mrs. Galt were aghast (or perhaps bemused) when they opened the newspaper that evening and read the social reporter’s account of their visit to New York City the day before.

“Both the President and Mrs. Galt were evidently pleased by the reception accorded them. They were slightly shy on their first appearance in public as an engaged couple, but acknowledged applause with smiles. They made no attempt to hide themselves, and every time they appeared in public they were side by side.
The President gave himself up for the time being to entering his fiancée. He was happy and jovial throughout the day and his usually stern face was constantly wreathed in smiles.”

The Post, meaning to write that the President “spent the evening entertaining Mrs. Galt” desperately apologized to both Edith and the President, and frantically tried to reclaim newspapers from newsstands before they were sold and read, but it was too late.

The gaffs of the press certainly did not deter the President and Mrs. Galt from continuing to express their affection for each other. They were married in a small ceremony on December 18th, 1915.

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