By Jody Brumage
Each summer, Washington D.C. comes together to participate in the tradition of the Congressional Baseball Game. Started over a century ago, it is perhaps the only time where partisanship is expected to rule the day.
The event was started in 1909 by Congressman John Tener (R-PA), who had been an outfielder and pitcher for the Chicago Cubs (then the Chicago White Stockings) in 1888-1889 and who played several years in minor league teams. Members of each party form their respective teams, dawn uniforms celebrating their home states, and meet at the ball field to see which side can best the other in America’s pastime. Though the game has been interrupted over its history by the Great Depression, World War II, and the occasional Speaker of the House who found the game to be distracting, the annual meeting of the parties on the baseball diamond continues to this day.
A blog post from the U.S. House of Representatives Historian’s Office offers a more detailed history of the tradition, which you can read by clicking here.
This year’s game will be played on Thursday, June 11, 2015 at National’s Park.
At the Byrd CLS, one of our collections, the papers of West Virginia Congressman Harley O. Staggers, Jr. contains numerous photographic records of the game during the 1980s and early 1990s. Congressman Staggers, Jr. was a college athlete, playing football while he studied at Harvard University in the early 1970s. In his post-congressional career, Staggers, Jr. continues to coach baseball in his hometown of Keyser, West Virginia.
In celebration of this historic game, we’ve pulled together a gallery of the photographs in our collection from the games in which Congressman Staggers, Jr. participated. Click on any of the images to enlarge them.
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