World Series Excitement in the Nation’s Capital

The World Series is in full swing (pun intended!) and this year, the Washington Nationals are battling it out in the Fall Classic for the first time since 1933. The nation’s capital is abuzz with excitement for the hometown team, much as D.C. baseball fans were in 1924, 1925 and 1933 – the only other times Washington played for the title. The excitement spilled over into conversation with fellow reference librarian Hanna Soltys, whose travels through the sports-related images in our collections turned up some of the great images below.

The challenge of getting a ticket to the game is nothing new. In 1924, for Washington’s first appearance in the World Series, Miss Elsie Tydings was one of the lucky ones who got a ticket. In fact, she was at the front of the line, and purchased the first ticket sold!

Miss Elsie Tydings who had the distinction of purchasing the first ticket sold for a World Series in the National Capital. She was no. 1 in the 1st line this morning. Photo by National Photo Company, 1924 Oct. 1. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c03761

Miss Elsie Tydings who had the distinction of purchasing the first ticket sold for a World Series in the National Capital. She was no. 1 in the 1st line this morning. Photo by National Photo Company, 1924 Oct. 1. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c03761

Those without a ticket had a few options to follow the game, including the three depicted in the photos below. In 1924, temporary bleachers and rooftops gave a view on the field itself.  Crowds also gathered at the Washington Star newspaper headquarters to watch a scoreboard tracking a game during the 1925 series in the second photo. And finally, radio listeners could hear pioneering Graham McNamee, credited with originating play-by-play sports broadcasting, bring the game to their own living rooms on the radio. He’s shown calling the second game of the 1924 World Series from Washington’s Griffith Stadium.

Temporary left field bleachers and the only housetops afording [sic] a view of the grounds. World Series second game. Photo by National Photo Company, 1924 Oct. 5. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c08156

Temporary left field bleachers and the only housetops afording [sic] a view of the grounds. World Series second game. Photo by National Photo Company, 1924 Oct. 5. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c08156

World Series 1925--Crowds at Star Score Board. Photo by National Photo Company, 1925. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c23040

World Series 1925–Crowds at Star Score Board. Photo by National Photo Company, 1925. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c23040

Graham McNamee of W.E.A.F. broadcasting World Series, 10/5/24. Photo by National Photo Company, 1924 Oct. 5. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.12274

Graham McNamee of W.E.A.F. broadcasting World Series, 10/5/24. Photo by National Photo Company, 1924 Oct. 5. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.12274

The lucky ones were in the stadium for the big games, including President Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge in 1924, when the President threw out the first ball to launch the series against the New York Giants. Other special guests in attendance at the 1924 series were some of baseball’s heavy hitters: George Sisler, Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb, as seen in the second photo below.

Pres. Coolidge throws out the ball that starts the World Series at Wash. between the Nationals and the Giants. In the box with the Pres.: Mrs. Coolidge, Speaker and Mrs. Gillette; Stanley Harris, Mgr. of the Wash. team standing at right of the President's box. Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1924. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.32822

Pres. Coolidge throws out the ball that starts the World Series at Wash. between the Nationals and the Giants. In the box with the Pres.: Mrs. Coolidge, Speaker and Mrs. Gillette; Stanley Harris, Mgr. of the Wash. team standing at right of the President’s box. Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1924. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.32822

Sisler, Ruth, Cobb, 10/4/24. Photo by National Photo Company, 1924 Oct. 4. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.12310

Sisler, Ruth, Cobb, 10/4/24. Photo by National Photo Company, 1924 Oct. 4. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.12310

The excitement continues to build, as the series comes to Washington today. Let’s play ball!

World Series of 1933, Washington, D.C. View of diamond, first game. Photo by Theodor Horydczak, 1933. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/thc.5a47422

World Series of 1933, Washington, D.C. View of diamond, first game. Photo by Theodor Horydczak, 1933. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/thc.5a47422

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