Since When Has Their Been A Congressional Baseball Game
The recent attempted murder of U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise brought the annual Congressional Baseball Game to the forefront, leaving many to wonder, why are members of Congress playing baseball. The answer is, the Congressional Baseball Game, a tradition among lawmakers going back to the early part of the 20th Century that in recent years has raised $600,000 for charity.
Every year Senate and House members on both sides of the aisle team up on the field and spend time creating friendships and allowing a sense of camaraderie. Congressional players wear uniforms of their home state and lawmakers play to win every year. Because of their hectic schedule, Congress only has free time for practice in the early hours of the morning.
The first game was in 1909, and introduced by Rep. John Tener, who happened to be a former Baltimore Orioles baseball player. The game was played every year until 1958, when at the time Speaker Sam Rayburn canceled it because he believed the game had become “too physical.” It was restarted in 1962 by Speaker John McCormack and created a friendship with the Roll Call Newspaper.
The game has been played all over Washington D.C., during the George W. Bush presidency, the game was played in Bowie, Maryland at the Bowie Baysox stadium. It was then temporarily moved to RFK Stadium in Washington D.C and then in 2008, Congress moved the game to Nationals Park in 2008.
The game has been a lighthearted affair, as Republicans and Democrats put aside their political differences and spend the day playing America’s pastime. While certain members of Congress have been great ballplayers, one that stood out among them is DeSantis, he is a former captain of the Yale baseball team. In 2012, he became the first Republican to hit a homerun at Nationals Park. The winner of the game takes home the Roll Call Trophy, named after the Capitol Hill paper that sponsors the annual game. Republicans have claimed 10 of these trophies, while Democrats have only secured three.
2017’s game is one nobody will ever forget, it was played in honor of Scalise, as he remains in critical condition after being wounded by a gunman only a few days ago. Members from both teams came out and publicly said that they all stand united in respect to Scalise.