Baseball Firsts & Notables

Representatives Clyde Kelly and Thomas McMillan shake hands before the start of a game at Griffith Stadium./tiles/non-collection/c/cbg_thomas_mcmillian_clyde_kelly_hc.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
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Representatives Clyde Kelly of Pennsylvania (left) and Thomas McMillan of South Carolina shake hands before the start of the 1926 game at Griffith Stadium.

First Known Grand Slam: Representative Gerald Ford of Michigan hit the first known grand slam in the second inning of the 1957 game.

First Use of a Pinch Runner: In 1913, Samuel Winslow of Massachusetts (a former college baller) could hit, but not run. Both teams agreed that when he reached base, a House Page could run in his place.

First Home Run: Representative Joe O’Connell of Massachusetts hit the first home run in 1909. In the seventh inning, O’Conner knocked a three-run home run out of the park.

First Umpire: In 1909, Fr. James Reynolds from New Jersey served as the first umpire. Earlier, Democrats had blocked Republican Speaker Joe Cannon of Illinois from calling the balls and strikes.

First Injury: In 1909, Representative Edward B. Vreeland of New Jersey hurt himself practicing on the White House Ellipse. Vreeland was relegated to the bench for the game.

First Celebrity to Throw Out the First Pitch: Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana threw out the first pitch in 1917, the year she became the first woman to serve in Congress.

Most Runs Scored in an Inning—In the 1928 game, Democrats scored 20 runs in second inning of the game.

First Radio Broadcast: In 1928, WRC broadcast the game sports announcers; Thorton Fisher and John B. Daniel, called the game with microphones installed behind home plate.

First Senator to Play: In 1950, Senator Henry Cain of Washington was the starting pitcher for the Republicans.

First African-American Players: In 1971, Representative Ronald Dellums of CA and Delegate Walter Fauntroy of DC were first African Americans to play congressional ball, joining the Democrats’ roster as a relief pitcher and right fielder, respectively.

First Women Players: In 1993, Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida (second base), Maria Cantwell of Washington (outfield), and Blanche Lincoln Lambert of Arkansas (outfield/pinch hitter) were the first women to play in the annual game.