Heard on the Hill

New Faces on Congressional Baseball Teams — Including a Woman

2016 election leads to some roster moves on both sides

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, left, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise celebrate after the Republicans' 8-7 victory in the 55th Congressional Baseball Game in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There will be a few new faces on the field at the 56th annual Congressional Baseball Game on June 15.

The teams begin practice with a few freshman lawmakers on their rosters and some players lost in the shuffle of the 2016 election.

Democrats will be seeking redemption after losing to the Republicans last year, 8-7, in a heart-stopping finish, which also ended their seven-game winning streak.

[Republicans Turn Back Democrats in Thriller, 8-7]

The most obvious change this year is there will be another woman in the Democrats’ dugout: Freshman Nanette Barragán, 40, joins fellow California Rep. Linda T. Sánchez

Sánchez has been on the team since her first year in Congress in 2003. Barragán will also play in the Congressional Women’s Softball Game this year.

Democrats also are adding freshman Reps. Ruben Kihuen of Nevada, and Jimmy Panetta of California.

Kihuen, 37, almost played professional soccer in Mexico in his early 20s before a career-ending injury.

Panetta, 47, was a league champion in wrestling and played fullback on his high school football team.

New York freshman Rep. Tom Suozzi is also on the Democratic roster.

While Republicans are missing two teammates from last year, they’ve picked up three new members.

Illinois’ Robert J. Dold lost his House re-election bid last year and South Carolina’s Mick Mulvaney gave up his seat to become director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Florida freshman Rep. Matt Gaetz, 34, will be the youngest player on the field. The Democrats’ youngest player is California Rep. Eric Swalwell, who is 36.

They’re both about half the age of freshman Michigan GOP Rep. Jack Bergman, who spent 40 years in the Marine Corps before running for the House. Bergman, 70, is a retired three-star general.

The third GOP freshman, Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall, chose track over baseball in high school where he also played football and basketball. Marshall, 56, also ran track and competed in the decathlon at Butler County Community College.



Correction 2:15 p.m. | An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed how many women have played in the Congressional Baseball Game. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and then-Reps. Maria Cantwell, and Blanche Lambert were the first women to play in the game in 1993.

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