Blitz: In 1859, the first Washington Nationals played in front of the White House

From Matt Blitz at DCist on October 22, 2019:

Before Max Scherzer, Juan Soto, and Stephen Strasburg led their baseball team to the World Series, the Washington Nationals were made up of federal government workers. And they played not in a 41,418-seat stadium next to the Anacostia River, but on a patch of grass right outside of the White House.

Baseball in D.C. has a long, storied history that predates even the Washington Senators and Griffith Stadium. It was 160 years ago when the nation’s capital got its first baseball team.

The National Base Ball Club of Washington D.C., otherwise known as the “Nationals,” formed in 1859. The players were mostly government clerks from the Treasury, the IRS, and auditors’ offices.

Their first games were played somewhere on Capitol Hill, but in 1865, they moved to a field in front of the White House (where the Ellipse is today). They competed in a tournament there, which attracted some pretty high profile fans.

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Originally published: October 23, 2019. Last Updated: October 23, 2019.