Washingtonians at Play
Unchanging pastimes in a changing dc
Official Souvenir Scorecard, 1933 World's Series
On the surface, sports thrill us with athleticism. But they also tell stories about life – how raw grit, a split decision, or a bad bounce can tip the scales between victory and defeat. The anticipatory drama of baseball is perfectly captured in this program from Game 3 of the 1933 World Series. The pages of player photos and biographies invite fans to predict the worthier men on the field; the pencil-marks in the scorecard record the men who actually were – on that day. Despite their win, the Senators lost the series. Washington hasn’t seen a World Series since.
1936 World's Championship Contest, Miller vs. Sarron
The Washington Senators made their home at Griffith Stadium, which hosted a variety of sporting events. Washingtonians streamed into the stadium to cheer for the Washington Redskins and Georgetown Hoyas football teams, baseball teams from the Negro Leagues and the All-American Girls League, and various boxing matches. In 1936, Griffith Stadium saw Olympic boxer Petey Sarron challenge Freddie Miller, the world featherweight champion. Miller had tenaciously defended his title for three years in the U.S., England, and Spain. This ticket commemorates the night Miller finally lost his belt.
6,000 Mile Souvenir Application
Engrossing to watch, sports are at least as addictive to play. In the late 19th century, a bicycling craze swept the country, sprouting a half-dozen cycling clubs in the D.C. area alone. The enthusiast who completed this 1897 form for a Rambler Bicycles souvenir pushed himself to ride 6,000 miles in a year. As the form attests, he did it in considerably less.
D.C.'s First Negro Wrestler Vitamin Van
When wrestler “Vitamin Van” pushed himself in the ring, he didn’t just sweat the personal challenge. This 1959 poster proclaimed him a representative of his race as well. If so, his efforts outside the ring racked up several victories for the African-American community. York Van Nixon, Jr. (the man behind the wrestling persona) developed a successful real estate brokerage, made a small fortune, and opened the first black supper club in D.C., the VIP Lounge. A lifelong advocate for his hometown, he also drew high-profile fight events to D.C. as chair of municipal and federal boxing commissions and international commissioner of the World Boxing Association. The massive shoulders pictured in this poster lifted multiple communities.