In 1909 Representative John Tener of Pennsylvania, a former professional baseball player, organized the inaugural Congressional Baseball Game.
What began as a casual game among colleagues has evolved into one of Congress’s most anticipated annual pastimes. Each summer, Representatives and Senators don baseball uniforms, organize teams along party lines, and play ball for charity. The Congressional Baseball Game has raised millions of dollars for local charities in the District of Columbia. Spectators include Members, congressional staffers, and, occasionally, U.S. Presidents. More than 100 years later, the Congressional Baseball Game has grown into an institution of its own.
Representative John Tener of Pennsylvania, a former professional baseball player, organized the inaugural baseball game in 1909. Initially played intermittently because of interruptions due to the Great Depression, the Second World War, and intervention by the House leadership, newspaper sponsorships starting in the 1940s made it a more regular part of the congressional schedule.
Until the 1960s, the Congressional Baseball Game was played inconsistently. During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Democrats and Republicans teamed up and played against the press corps. The game has been played annually since 1962.
Games were initially held at American League Park in northwest Washington, D.C., and its successor Griffith Park, which was built at the same location. Since then, the players have met in fields throughout the Washington, DC, metro area.
House and Senate Members, some former professional players and some breaking racial and gender boundaries, have lined up to play in the Congressional Baseball Game.
Who hit the first known Home Run? Or Grand Slam? What's the record for most runs scored in an inning? Read about Congressional Baseball firsts, notables, and records.
In 2009, women in Congress organized an annual softball game to support breast cancer charities. A bipartisan group of women Members competed against an all-female press corps team.
Since the early 1900s, Members of Congress have met for a friendly face-off on the field for the (mostly) annual Congressional Baseball Game. This celebration of America’s pastime is represented in the House Collection with baseball cards, photographs, game programs, and memorabilia.