Ah, the Seventh Inning Stretch – a welcomed pause during a baseball game’s seventh inning half. It is a time for fans to move around and stretch their legs, possibly dance a little, and prepare for the remaining innings. There is much debate as to the origins of the famous Seventh Inning Stretch. Popular folklore indicates President Taft may have started the trend. When attending a game in 1910, the obese President found it difficult to remain seated for the duration of the event so he rose to stretch during the seventh inning half. This act prompted the stadium to follow suite out of courtesy. President Taft was known for spending more time at baseball games than he spent running the country.
An alternative explanation for the origin of this tradition comes from a manuscript that dates back to 1869. Harry Wright of the Cincinnati Red Stockings described the fans taking a break that sounds very similar to the infamous Seventh Inning Stretch. Wright wrote, “The spectators all arise between halves of the seventh inning, extend their legs and arms and sometimes walk about. In so doing they enjoy the relief afforded by relaxation from a long posture upon hard benches.”
Whether President Taft started the tradition or not baseball fans a cross the country will continue to enjoy the breath of fresh air that accompanies this seventh inning tradition.