Ohio Republican Michael G. Oxley was honored at the Congressional Baseball Game in more ways than just the GOP win.
The former congressman died of lung cancer Jan. 1 at 71 in McLean, Virginia, but his baseball career was not forgotten on Thursday.
His jersey made an appearance at the game he loved so dearly.
Illinois GOP Rep. Rodney Davis asked one of Oxley’s former staffers if he could wear his old friend’s jersey to honor him.
“This was the first game we were playing without him here,” Davis said. “It was a great feeling to be wearing Mike’s jersey while catching the first pitch from a legend like Ken Griffey Jr.”
After catching that pitch from the Seattle Mariner’s All-Star, Davis changed into a Blackburn College jersey — a school in his Illinois district — to play the game.
Then for the after-game party, he put the Oxley jersey back on.
Oxley led the Republican team during the glory days — when a win like this year’s victory against the Democrats was commonplace.
His last year managing the team was 2006, when the Republicans beat the Democrats 12-1 to cement his 7-1 record as manager.
In 2007, he was inducted into the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game Hall of Fame.
Texas Republican Joe Barton led the Republicans to victory this year and has managed the team since 2007.
“I helped coach and our tradition is as one manager retires that manager picks the next manager. Oxley picked me so I’ve been coaching and managing since I stopped playing ,” Barton said.
Oxley, a competitor on and off the field, also played the game himself — playing every position over 16 years.
In the 2007 game program, Oxley attributed much of his success as a manager to his players.
“I was lucky because I had good pitching. Steve Largent was my meal ticket , he made me look like a genius,” Oxley said of the former Oklahoma Republican.