On this day 21 years ago – May 15, 1991 – President George H.W. Bush watched the Baltimore Orioles with Queen Elizabeth II.
That day, the Baltimore Orioles played the Oakland Athletics at Memorial Stadium, and it marked the very first baseball game for the then 65-year-old Queen of England, proving that it’s never too late to attend your first baseball game.
The choice of the Orioles was fitting for her first game, as the City of Baltimore was named for Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore. And, Maryland herself was named for King Charles I wife, Queen Henrietta Maria who was affectionately called Queen Mary.
Prior to the start of the game, the President and the Queen greeted the players on the field and chatted with the three Ripkens who were on the field that day. In an article from the UPI Archives by Paul Walsh, Cal Ripken Jr.said after shaking the hands of the President and the Queen:
‘I’ve been playing baseball for 10 years and I’m used to a normal atmosphere. This is a lot different. There’s a lot of excitement.’
They sat in a mezzanine-level box that belonged to the Orioles owner, Eli Jacobs. Unfortunately, they only stayed for two innings. Prior to the game, they ate in the Dugout Lounge with several members of the Orioles front office. MLB shared a video to commemorate the event:
The Queen has not been to a baseball game in the US since that day. She has not attended any of the games in the UK, even though they have been played at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.
On May 15, 1991, the Orioles lost to the A’s by a score of 6-3. By the time the Queen and President left in the second inning, the O’s were down 1-0. Harold Baines hit a single off of Jeff Ballard that scored Dave Henderson.
The O’s first run came from Randy Milligan home run in the fourth. He hit a second home run in the sixth. Had the Queen stayed through the entire game, she would have seen back-to-back jacks from Milligan and Craig Worthington in the sixth inning. The only O’s runs were scored off of the three, with Milligan going 2-4 that day.
It goes to show you the value of staying for all nine innings. Even though the O’s lost, she could have watched future Hall-of-Famer Dennis Eckersley close the game for the A’s.