For one night a year, the competition seen on Capitol Hill is carried over to the pitcher's mound for the Congressional baseball game.
The tradition began in 1909, but wasn’t played annually until 1962 when Roll Call officially sponsored it. For years, the game was primarily for House members. It wasn’t until 1950 when the first Senator, Harry Cain (R, WA) participated. Attire for the game has also been ever changing. Originally, players draped a sash over their shirts identifying either as republican or democrat. Later participants wore the uniform of what was Washington’s major league team, the Senator’s. Now players wear uniforms of major or minor league teams from their state. Since 1909, Republicans won 42 games and Democrats have won 39, according to the United States House of Representatives History, Art and Archives.
What hasn’t changed though is its goal to raise money for charities. In 1917, all proceeds from tickets and souvenirs benefited the Red Cross. More than $500,000 was raised last year benefitting the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, The Washington Literacy Center and The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation.
Fifty-five companies sponsor this year’s Congressional baseball game, including its $50,000 Hall of Fame Sponsors Toyota, Anheuser Busch and Clear Path. Other sponsors include Delta, Disney, Ford, Pepsico and GM.
House Speaker Paul Ryan announced yesterday that the Congressional baseball game will go on as planned despite a gunman attacking the Republican team’s practice in Alexandria, Va. yesterday morning. Five people were transported medically from the scene, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
The game is today at Nationals Park with the first pitch at 7:05 p.m.