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Library of Congress staff in purple shirts perform on a stage in front of children.
Manager of Youth and Family Programs Lauren Roszak and past Teaching with Primary Sources intern Elizabeth Dobrzynski sing sheet music from the Library of Congress's collection during our program. (Staff photo/Amanda Roberts)

Baseball Trivia: Summer Reading Community Outreach

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The trivia questions in this post were created by Library of Congress Internship (LOCI) program past participant Katrina Limson, a MLIS student at San Jose State University.

The Washington Nationals are the “team that reads”, but did you know that the city’s Major League Baseball team and the Library of Congress have a partnership that goes back for many years? Visitors to the ballpark can see selections from the exhibit Baseball Americana on the concourse at Nationals Park. Last year, we hit a home run when we added new programs to our partnership. Members of the Informal Learning Office led an interactive performance of Abbott and Costello’s Who’s on First skit as part of a monthly Story Time with the team’s Summer Reading Ambassador and partners. Librarian of Congress Dr. Hayden then shared the stage with pitcher Sean Doolittle during Live at the Library—a favor returned at the end of the summer, when Dr. Hayden took to the mound to throw the first pitch at an August game. The partnership continues this summer— join us in-person for Story Time (July 31, August 17, or September 3), Library of Congress Day at the Nationals (August 2), or participate in our Story Time activity from home for the first time, as published below!

A librarian in a baseball uniform throws a pitch.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden throws the first pitch for the Washington Nationals’ game against the Oakland A’s during Library Night at Nationals Park, August 30, 2022. Photo by Shawn Miller/Library of Congress. Note: Privacy and publicity rights for individuals depicted may apply.


On Sunday, June 4, 2023, we kicked off the first Story Time at Nationals Park with more than 400 kids and their families. To highlight the Library’s unique collections, intern Katrina Limson developed a fun baseball trivia game. Test your Library of Congress baseball knowledge! Scroll down past each accompanying photograph for the answer, and for additional information Katrina discovered during her research.

Question #1: What was an early name for baseball?

A. Town ball

B. City ball

C. State ball

D. Land ball

Three men playing baseball in a black and white photograph. One of the men wears a dark coat and is pictured from behind with his arms wide open, the other one is catching a ball, and the third one is sliding into a base.
Baseball. Between 1909 and 1919. (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress).

Answer: A. Town ball

Katrina shared with us that she learned from Wikipedia that “town ball was first played in the 1700s. In town ball, there were no foul balls.”

What comes up when you search the term “town ball” in the Library’s collection?

Question #2: Hand signals in Major League Baseball are used because a deaf player couldn’t hear the calls made by the umpire. True or False?

Scroll down as you guess!

A baseball stadium. A player slides into home plate in a cloud of dust. We see the behind of the umpire waving his arms.
Umpire ready to make the call as Washington ball player slides into home plate during baseball game. Between 1910 and 1930 (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)


Answer: True

According to Katrina, her research on several websites related to Deaf history helped her learn that William Hoy lost his hearing after contracting meningitis as a child. He played for many local D.C. teams. Some baseball historians believe Hoy (and other early deaf players) were influential in the development of hand signals, as they could not hear the umpire’s calls. Below is a baseball card of Hoy from the Library’s collection of baseball cards.

A sepia-tone baseball card. A man is pictured in a white uniform throwing a baseball in front of a fenced pasture. The words "Hoy, C.F. Washington" are below his name, as well as Old Judge Cigarettes, Goodwin & Co, New York.
Dummy Hoy, Washington Statesmen, baseball card portrait. 1888. (Baseball cards from the Benjamin K. Edwards Collection, Library of Congress).


Question #3: The earliest members of the first Washington team were professional baseball players. True or false?

Three men in front of a grandstand and concourse filled with people. One player is at bat and wearing a dark baseball uniform. Another player is wearing white with a Yankee insignia on his uniform. The other is the umpire.
Otis Clymer, Washington AL batting, and Red Kleinow, New York AL catching. 1909. Bain Collection, Library of Congress.


Answer: False

As Katrina learned from this local D.C. publication, the Washington Base Ball Club was formed in 1859 and mostly made up of government officials!

Question #4: What is the most popular food sold at baseball games?

A) Popcorn

B) Hot dogs

C) Cracker Jack

D) Peanuts

A group of men in suits and hats stand in front of a hot dog seller.
Baseball fans—“hot dogs” for fans waiting for gates to open at Ebbets Field, Oct. 6, 1920. (George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress)


Answer: B. Hot Dogs

Katrina told us that according to a 2021 press release, “About 20 million hot dogs are consumed every single year at Major League Baseball stadiums.”

Question 5: Who was the first Black professional player in the modern Major League Baseball’s American League or National League?

Nine baseball players pose in front of a building with a child and a man in a suit.
African American baseball players from Morris Brown College, with boy and another man standing at the door, Atlanta Georgia. 1899 or 1900. (Daniel Murray Collection, Library of Congress)


Answer: Jackie Robinson

The Library boasts a strong collection of materials related to Jackie Robinson, many of which have been made available online here. Explore them with your family! One of our favorites is the comic book below.

Front cover of Jackie Robinson comic book, 1951. (Serial and Government Publications Division, Library of Congress).

Want more baseball trivia?  We’ll be at the stadium for future Story Times with the National’s other Summer Reading Partners on July 31 before the 7:00 p.m. game, August 17 before the 4:05 p.m. game, and September 3 before the 1:30 p.m. game.

And for Library fans that can’t get enough baseball, we invite you to join the Library of Congress at Library of Congress Day at the Nationals which will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 2, during the 1:05 p.m. game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

We’ll have new trivia questions for each program, which we will be posting on this blog. Be sure you are subscribed to Minerva’s Kaleidoscope so you don’t miss a question!

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