The 10 best and worst opening pitches in baseball

Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney of the United States throws out a ceremonial first pitch before the Chicago White Sox game against the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field on Aug. 1, 2014, in Chicago.

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One of the greatest honors a former player, celebrity or government official can be given throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at a Major League Baseball game.

The tradition, started in 1910 by President William Howard Taft, usually goes according to plan. But every now and then you get something that's either unforgettably impressive, or terrible. Here's our list of the best and worst ceremonial throws to date:


5. McKayla Maroney

Let's begin with Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, who made headlines this week with her acrobatic first pitch at Friday's Chicago White Sox game. Maroney performed a cartwheel and flip before throwing the strike, and even sticking the landing. Tens across the board!

4. Matthew McConaughey

If you weren't impressed by the actor already, "True Detective" star Matthew McConaughey can also throw a serious fastball. (Skip to 1:00)

3. Cirque du Soleil performer

Inspiring. Life-changing. Tarzanian. These are all appropriate ways to describe this performer who brought a piece of Cirque du Soleil to a 2011 Padres game. You'll want to watch this one a few times.

2. South Korean actresses/gymnasts

Meanwhile in South Korea, first pitch-throwing is a sport in itself. In 2013, actress Clara Lee, gymnast Shin Soo-ji and actress Tae Mi all threw incredible first game pitches. These ladies certainly redefine the phrase, "you throw like a girl."

1. George W. Bush

President Bush wowed audiences with his graceful, all-American pitch at game 3 of the 2001 World Series. In the Time magazine documentary "Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience," he said it was "the most nervous moment of my entire presidency."


5. Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory

Leading off our "worst" category is this gem from a 2007 Reds game. If mayors are elected in Cincinnati based on their inability to throw a ball, Mark Mallory would be mayor for life.

4. Mariah Carey

Two things that don't belong together: Mariah Carey and a baseball. While one would think her strategic decision to wear high heels onto the field would pay off, the singer couldn't quite get the ball near the plate at a 2011 game in the Tokyo Dome.

3. 50 Cent

Curtis Jackson, otherwise known as 50 cent, threw a street cred-destroying first pitch at a New York Mets game earlier this year. Maybe he wanted to peg an enemy in the stands, or maybe he just wanted to be relevant again. Whatever the reason, this wild throw will always be remembered.

2. Baba Booey

Howard Stern producer Gary "Baba Booey" Dell'Abate set the gold standard for bad opening pitches when in 2009, his throw actually hit an umpire. Tough to live that one down.

1. Carly Ray Jepsen

In 2012, singer Carly Ray Jepsen achieved the Song of Summer with her hit "Call Me Maybe." In 2013, she made history with what may be the worst opening pitch in baseball history. Jepsen's immortal throw at this Tampa Bay Devils game tops our list.

Any other pitches stand out in your memory? Throw them in the comments section below.