That Time Republicans Brought a Live Elephant to the Congressional Baseball Game

Because intimidation.

National Journal
June 11, 2015, 8:22 a.m.

In 1926, Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans came to the an­nu­al con­gres­sion­al base­ball game with more than just their mid­dling ath­leti­cism. They brought real, live mas­cots.

Be­fore the game, the teams held a parade, which in­cluded “the pres­ence of a genu­ine ele­phant and don­key, bor­rowed from an it­in­er­ant cir­cus,” a May 2, 1926, re­port reads in The Wash­ing­ton Star. (The Wash­ing­ton Post con­cur­rently re­por­ted the Demo­crat­ic an­im­al was a mule. The pho­to­graph above does show Demo­crats tow­ing an an­im­al—see de­tail be­low—but Na­tion­al Journ­al can not in­de­pend­ently identi­fy its tax­onomy.) The Navy and Army bands ad­ded to the fan­fare, and a loc­al comedi­an presided as the mas­ter of ce­re­mon­ies. 

To­night, the Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats will face off again for their an­nu­al game, though live an­im­als prob­ably will not be in at­tend­ance. This year’s game will be a chance for the Re­pub­lic­ans to end their six-year los­ing streak to the Demo­crats. Of­fi­cially, the series that star­ted in 1909 is tied: 38 wins for each team, 38 losses, and one tie.

One of those Demo­crat­ic wins oc­curred in 1926, though the game it­self may have been less ex­cit­ing than the parade pre­ced­ing it. “The two teams dis­played a lot of good, as well as bad base­ball,” The Wash­ing­ton Post summed up.

The game’s peak of ex­cite­ment oc­curred in the sev­enth in­ning, after an ar­gu­ment broke out. The Dems charged the GOP with bat­ting out of turn. The game was brought to a halt as the con­gress­men tried to use their powers of polit­ic­al per­sua­sion on the um­pires.

“Demo­crats got a quor­um to­geth­er and be­sieged the um­pires, claim­ing that the Re­pub­lic­ans were try­ing to steam-roller them and that the side was auto­mat­ic­ally out.” the Post wrote. (The ac­count of the ar­gu­ment is cor­rob­or­ated in the Star.)

“Not to be out­done, the Re­pub­lic­ans gathered their clan and star­ted a fili­buster that com­pletely tied up the game.”

The game was post­poned for 15 minutes dur­ing the ker­fuffle. Typ­ic­al Con­gress. 

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