#tbt: When the Congressional Baseball Game Broke the Gender Barrier

Sanchez, left, still is on the baseball roster. Ros-Lehtinen, right, left baseball for softball. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game is Thursday, the latest iteration of a tradition dating to 1909. But it wasn't until the 32nd annual outing that female members of Congress made their first appearance on the diamond, a milestone marked in our Aug. 2, 1993, game program by Tim Curran. "This year's contest is certain to secure its own niche in history, featuring three women Members attempting to crash through the gender barrier that has gone unchallenged since Rep. John Tener (R-Pa.) first patched together an informal Congressional contest in 1909.  

Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Blanche Lambert (D-Ark.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) are all expected to see playing time Tuesday, establishing a foothold for women in a game that has remained the almost exclusive domain of men at all levels. Who says Congress can't lead?"  

The three trailblazers are no longer affiliated with their respective rosters. Ros-Lehtinen is now a fixture of the annual Congressional Women's Softball Game. Lambert, who married to become Blanche Lincoln, eventually served in the Senate. And Cantwell is a current senator. The lone woman on the roster for either team this year is Rep. Linda T. Sánchez, D-Calif.  

Perhaps there is room for a Cantwell appearance in a future softball game, though. As our program noted, "Her much ballyhooed softball skills could help the Dems. Word is her curveball is starting to break."


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