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.