This month's Edition for Educators highlights pastimes in the House of Representatives, from baseball to horseshoes.
Representative James Richards of South Carolina summarized the spirit of the Congressional Baseball games in a May 24, 1948 House Floor speech:
"Mister Speaker, in all seriousness, I want to say that it is a fine thing when two great parties of a great Nation, the greatest Nation on the face of the earth, can drop the care and worries of Capitol Hill, forget about the heat and temporary animosities of debate, and go out at night to a baseball field where the great American game is played. It is a wonderful thing to get together and show the people of the United States that regardless of the fact that we sometimes differ on party matters, that after all we love our country and our flag, and like every boy in America, we love our great national game."
An Annual Outing: The Congressional Baseball Game
The Congressional Baseball Game is one of the longest standing traditions in the House. Since 1909, Members have gathered on the baseball diamond to have fun and raise money for charity. What began as a casual game among colleagues has evolved into one of Congress's most anticipated annual pastimes.
Congressional Baseball Game Trophy
This trophy was awarded to the Republican team at the 2005 Congressional Baseball Game, when they swept a best-of-five game series with a 19-10 victory over the Democrats. Congressman Mike Oxley, the GOP's manager, led his team to two trophy series victories, and remarked that the trophy "could have been 200 pounds, it would have felt light, because we were always so excited."
Washington Evening Star Games Baseball Medal
The Washington Evening Star newspaper awarded medals like this one, showing a star shining over the Washington Monument, to players in the Congressional Baseball Game, which began in 1909. Despite its appeal, the annual game occurred intermittently because of interruptions due to the Great Depression, the Second World War, and intervention by the House leadership. The Evening Star news sponsored the game annually from 1946 to 1958, when Speaker Sam Rayburn ended the game for a few years, contending that it had become too physical.
Getting in Shape for the Big Tournament
Representatives Lex Green, Edward Browne, and Clyde Kelly (featured left to right) practiced for the first annual Congressional Horseshoe Tournament held in May 1930.
Learn about a historic chess match between two of the world’s greatest legislative bodies. Separated by the Atlantic Ocean, organizers used the Trans-Atlantic Telegraph wire to hold a successful match.
Congressional Page Baseball Game
May 8, 1937
On this date, Pages from the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate traveled the roughly 15 blocks from the U.S. Capitol to a makeshift baseball diamond on the Ellipse behind the White House for their traditional day game. Read more about the game.
Congressional Horseshoe Game
May 30, 1930
On this date, freshman Representative Fred G. Johnson, a Nebraska Republican, won the title “Champion Horseshoe Pitcher of Congress” and a pair of silver-plated horseshoes by defeating fellow GOP Congressman and Majority Whip Albert H. Vestal of Indiana in the first congressional horseshoe match. Read more about match.
Thomas McMillan of South Carolina
A former professional baseball player, teacher, and lawyer, Thomas McMillan of South Carolina first arrived at the House in 1925.
Ralph Metcalfe of Illinois
A two-time Olympian, college professor, and U.S. Army Veteran, Ralph Metcalfe of Illinois served 7 years in the House of Representatives.
The Congressional Baseball Game dates back to the early 1900s. Listen as Representative Mike Oxley discusses the camaraderie inspired by the annual tradition.
Check out the 96th Congress (1979–1981) Records of the Committee on Foreign Affairs for hearings on the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
This is part of a series of blog posts for educators highlighting the resources available on History, Art & Archives of the U.S. House of Representatives. The series appears monthly. For lesson plans, fact sheets, glossaries, and other materials for the classroom, see the website's Education section.Follow @USHouseHistory