July 31, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Hill Talk: Baseball Field Honors a ‘Peanut’

Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells (D) has introduced a measure to rename the baseball field at Rosedale Recreation Center after a local legend.

The field, at 19th and F streets Northeast, will be designated the Mamie “Peanut” Johnson Field if the act passes. Johnson spent part of her childhood in the District, practicing on the Rosedale field. She was a born baseball player, as author Michelle Green recalled in her 2004 biography, “A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie ‘Peanut’ Johnson.”

“Mama never mentioned it, but I’m sure I musta been born with a baseball in my hand, its smooth white skin curving into my tiny brown palm,” it begins.

Johnson, who is African-American, was refused a tryout for the all-white All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, so she tried out for the Negro Leagues in 1953. The Indianapolis Clowns signed the petite pitcher, and she went on to have an impressive 33-8 record in her two-year baseball career. She was one of three women — and the only female pitcher — to play in the leagues.

Now 74, Johnson has moved back to the District, where she had a second career as a nurse at Sibley Memorial Hospital. She manages the All-American Negro Baseball League’s memorabilia shop in Prince George’s County, Md.

“Despite the history, even some of the best baseball fans have never heard of her. Naming the field in honor of Ms. Johnson will be a significant way to acknowledge and praise her accomplishments and career that began at the Rosedale Recreation Center,” according to Wells’ blog.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A officials who backed the effort to rename the field hope it will coincide with the reopening of the recreation center after an extensive renovation.

Staffers Join in Effort to Help Haiti

Hill staffers have joined the effort to raise funds for earthquake victims in Haiti.

Although staff organizations are prohibited from hosting fundraising events because of ethics rules, heads of groups such as the Congressional Jewish Staff Association and the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association are helping put on “United for Haiti.” Proceeds from the benefit, which will be held at Eyebar Lounge (1716 I St. NW) from 6 to 9 tonight, will go to the American Red Cross and Save the Children. The event is sponsored by various Latino groups, including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Alumni Association, the National Council of La Raza and the New Latino Movement.

In addition, the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association has been posting information about donations and relief efforts to its Web site. The group has also been updating members and those on the listserv about the situation in Haiti and how people can help. President Assad Akhter said the group is considering holding a briefing on the status of relief efforts and the role of faith-based groups providing aid to the Haitian people.

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