The trivia questions in this post were created by Library of Congress Internship (LOCI) program spring 2023 participant Katrina Limson, a MLIS student at San Jose State University.
As the dog days of summer goes on, so does the Library of Congress’s partnership with the Washington Nationals—the “team that reads”! On July 31, the Nationals batted their way towards victory against the Brewers. Before the game, Lauren Windham Roszak and Jennifer Ezell of the Library’s Informal Learning Office led interactive trivia during the team’s family Story Time with the team’s Summer Reading Ambassador. Like last month, you can participate in our Story Time activity from home by quizzing your family on the trivia questions below. Test your family’s knowledge below—scroll past each photograph for the answer!
Question #1: What was the name of the professional Major League Baseball team in Washington D.C. that preceded the Nationals?
Answer: B. Senators
The Washington Senators played in the American League of Major League Baseball from 1901 to 1960. Their home field of Griffith Stadium was located at present-day Howard University Hospital. The Senators won three American League pennants and two World Series championships during their early years. But as their luck faded, so did attendance—and in 1960, the team moved to Minneapolis as the Twins. They were replaced by another team—also called the Senators—that played at D.C. Stadium, later Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, for eleven more years.
[Kinograms. No. 5021–excerpt], Senators win World Series. (Nalkranian (Louise) Collection (Library of Congress) This film reel was found in a garage several decades after it was placed there!
Question #2: Softball’s original name was indoor baseball. True or false?
As Katrina learned from the Baseball Americana exhibition, a group of friends in Chicago inadvertently created softball during the cold midwestern winter the day after Thanksgiving in 1887. They began hitting a boxing glove with a stick, which soon evolved into a game similar to baseball. By 1926, this game had a new name—softball. By then, it was played outside, but had larger balls, shorter bats, and a smaller diamond.
Question 3: What are the cores of some baseballs made out of today?
Answer: D. Cork
Over the years, baseballs have been made of different materials. Spalding was the first manufacturer to patent a core—made of wood—in the late 19th century. Over time, as players realized that different materials led to faster and further-flying balls, teams varied what they used. Today, professional-grade baseballs have cork at the very center, often surrounded by rubber. The photograph below from the Office of War Information shows the inside of World War II-era baseballs. As the caption shares, “Cork-cushioned centers in baseballs–official in major leagues for more than a decade–are war-taboo. Rubber-cushioned centers, “borrowed” from stopped golf ball production, offer temporary relief.”
Question 4: Baseball was first played in the United States.
True or false?
One of the earliest mentions of baseball in print was on page 42 of “A Pretty Little Pocket Book”, a miniature children’s book that was published in 1787. This source provides evidence that the origins of baseball were in England, as it is a reprint of a 1744 book by John Newberry.
Question 5: A player from the Washington Senators is one of the first five players who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
True or false?
Walter “Big Train” Johnson was the pitcher for the Washington Senators from 1907-1927. He helped them win the 1924 World Series. He was inducted in the very first Baseball Hall of Fame class with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, and Christy Mathewson in 1936. Of course, there’s no shortage of photographs of Walter Johnson in the Library’s collection, such as the one below of Johnson with President Calvin Coolidge at Griffith Stadium.
Want more baseball trivia? We’ll be at the stadium for future Story Times on Thursday, August 17 before the 4:05 p.m. game, and September 3 before the 1:30 p.m. game.
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