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Chicago-Pittsburgh opening day, 1947.
Players huddle on Chicago-Pittsburgh opening day, 1947.George Skadding—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Chicago-Pittsburgh opening day, 1947.
Chicago-Pittsburgh opening day, 1947.
Baseball opening day, Cincinnati, 1957.
Baseball opening day, Cincinnati, 1957.
Baseball opening day, Cincinnati, 1957.
Fans at opening day of baseball, Milwaukee, 1957.
Fans at opening day of baseball, Milwaukee, 1957.
Fans at Dodgers opening day, Los Angeles, 1958.
San Francisco Giant Willie Mays on opening day, 1958.
Opening day, Dodgers, Los Angeles, 1958.
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President John F. Kennedy at the opening day of the Washington Baseball season at the new DC stadium. 1962.
Baseball opening day in Washington D.C. 1962.
Baseball opening day in Washington D.C. 1962.
NY Yankees Roger Maris (2L), Mickey Mantle (5L) & Yogi Berra (9L) standing in line with other Yankees holding baseball caps over hear during playing of National Anthem on opening day. 1962.
Owner of the Mets Mrs. Charles S. Paysom and player Duke Snider, on opening day at the Polo Grounds. 1963,
Atlanta Braves opening day, 1966.
Atlanta Braves opening day, 1966.
Atlanta Braves opening day, 1966.
President Richard Nixon throws out the first pitch as manager Ted Williams of the Washington Senators, the MLB Commisioner Bowie Kuhn and manager Ralph Houk of the New York Yankees look on before opening day on April 7, 1969 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
Players huddle on Chicago-Pittsburgh opening day, 1947.
George Skadding—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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See the Greatest Vintage Photos of Baseball's Opening Day

Apr 01, 2016

Some welcome springtime for its flowering trees, chirping birds and melting snow. For others, the season has one purpose, and that purpose is baseball. Every year around the beginning of April, the grass is groomed, the hot dog buns are replenished and the crowds return for another season of Major League Baseball.

Not only were heads of state and stars of Hollywood staples at the festivities—but so, too, were LIFE Magazine's photographers. As anticipation builds for this year's opening day on April 3, here are those photographers' greatest images of the perennial excitement the season opener brings.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

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