Senators pitcher Milo Candini received a special assignment during the 1949 Washington season opener at Griffith Stadium on April 18.
Harry Truman was on hand for the traditional presidential first pitch. After the photos had been taken and the umpire called "Play Ball!", Candini was stationed in Truman's box to protect the president from foul balls.
I don't suppose this was the first or the last time that a player was assigned to protect dignitaries from screaming foul balls, but I had never heard of it before.
I don't know if he had any "chances" in that role as a Secret Service temp, but at least he got a good view of the game as the Senators beat the Philadelphia A's 3-2. That was the only day in 1949 that the Senators led the American League.
By the time the rest of the circuit got into action the next day, and Washington lost at New York, the Senators assumed their traditional role as "last in the American League." They finished 1949 with a 50-104 record, 47 games behind the Yankees.
Candini wasn't around to witness Washington's failure in 1949. On May 24 he was sent to Oakland of the Pacific Coast League.
He won 15 games for the Oaks and was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies, for whom he pitched in 1950-51, wrapping up his major league career with a 26-21 record.
Candini played on in Coast League through 1957, then retired to operate a liquor store in his home town of Manteca, Calif.
The only mainstream baseball card on which Candini appears is in the 1951 Bowman set. He also had several appearances on scarcer regional card issues as both a major leaguer and minor leaguer.
|On April 18, 1949, Pres. Harry Truman throws out the first ball to open the
American League season. To his left are A's manager Connie Mack and
Senators skipper Joe Kuhel.