May 6, 2011 •
Highlighted Site of the Week – The United States Congressional Baseball Game
The annual baseball game played by members of the United States Congress.
Baseball season is here and every year, members of the U.S. Congress (Republican and Democrat) face off in a venue other than the Capitol – on the field. The U.S. House Office of the Clerk website has a fun series of pages for the event: The U.S. Congressional Baseball Game. This year, on June 17, the 50th game will be sponsored by CQ/Roll Call.
In 1909 the first game was put together by U.S. Rep. John Tener (R-Penn.), who had been a professional baseball player from 1885 until 1890. The games have been very popular and over the years the proceeds have gone to various charities.
They have been held in different places: American League Park,Griffith Stadium, D.C. Stadium, RFK Stadium, Memorial Stadium, Four Mile Run Park, and Prince George’s County Stadium. Since 2006 they have been held at Nationals Park.
The games were put on hiatus a few years during the Great Depression and World War II. They are said to have gotten in the way of getting legislation passed in Congress a few times!
The Office of the Clerk site can give you a history of the rosters, and a great stats page showing where the games were played, who won, and the final score.
Attendance in the 1926 game was 4,000 as the Republicans held a parade with a live elephant and the Democrats paraded a donkey. (Democrats won that year.) The first game to be covered by radio broadcast was in 1928, and lately the games have been covered on Twitter and Facebook.
The Congressional Baseball games have not been immune to the problems of ethics. This Fox News article reports how Rep. John Ensign had to sit out of the 2009 game because of his admitting to having an affair. Apparently his skills on the field were missed!
Here is a Roll Call video from the 2010 game. Pure fun: 2010 Congressional Baseball Game Music Video.
Let me know if you are going!
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