Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
Speaker of the House William Bankhead of Alabama (right center) and House Minority Leader Joseph Martin of Massachusetts (left center) pose with the House Page baseball squad.
On this date, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in early May 1937, 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. According to the Washington Post
, House Speaker William Bankhead
of Alabama served as a ”master of ceremonies” and helped manage his chamber's roster and game strategy, but the House lost to the Senate 15-2. Pages from the two chambers met again later that summer in another attempt to settle their friendly, but heated congressional rivalry. On July 24, 1937, the House Pages defeated the Senate Pages, 8-0, with the help of their star pitcher, “Hickory” Hill of North Carolina, who allowed just one hit in a dominant outing. As though bragging rights were not enough, the following evening Representative J. B. Shannon
of Missouri treated the boys to a banquet at the Mayflower Hotel complete with numerous speeches. Despite baseball’s popularity among the Page boys on Capitol Hill, the Page School baseball team wasn’t formally established until 1945. That squad, comprised of both House and Senate Pages, played teams from the Supreme Court and from the District Boys’ Club League.