Congressional Baseball Game

logo for the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity

Representatives play ball in enduring tradition

On July 14, some representatives will play hardball.

The 2011 Congressional Baseball Game for Charity will pit Democrats against Republicans in a friendly rivalry that dates back more than a century. Ticket sale proceeds from the game will go to the Washington Literacy Council, and The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington.

Since the inaugural game in 1909, the long-running series has seen a fair amount of drama, suspense, serious injuries, and flat-out fun. A dependably steady exposition in the early years, the game occurred only intermittently thereafter because of interruptions due to the Great Depression, the Second World War, and intervention by the House leadership. For a while the game was held biennially. In 1958, House Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas put a stop to the game, citing its increasingly physical nature. The game was revived in 1962.

Over the years, the game has attracted thousands of attendees. The 1926 game was preceded by elaborate ceremonies including elephant-and-donkey-led parades. During that game, a comedian served as emcee and Army and Navy bands played music. President Dwight Eisenhower threw out the first pitch for the 1953 game. Representative Lyle Williams of Ohio broke his leg playing in the 1984 game.

This year, the Republicans will be looking to maintain their 38-34-1 lead in the series, while the Democrats hope to win their third game in a row. The game promises plenty of good will along with a healthy dose of competition. Talent will be in no short supply. Representative Cedric Richmond, a Democrat from Louisiana, played center field at Morehouse College. Representative Lou Barletta, a Republican from Pennsylvania, once tried out for the major leagues.

For more historical background, visit Office of the Clerk website.

This year’s game will be played at Nationals Park, home to the major league Washington Nationals. The first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. For more information about the game and to purchase tickets, visit the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity website.