This Thursday night, Congressman Ron Paul from Texas will become the 22nd Member of Congress inducted into the Congressional Quarterly Roll Call Baseball Hall of Fame. The only other sitting Member in the Hall of Fame is 2011 inductee Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.).
The award is going to Paul for a particular moment in 1979 when he smacked a pitch from former Ohio Democratic Rep. Ron Mottl over the left-field wall at Four Mile Run Park in Alexandria, Va. The distance is equivalent to a shot at Fenway Park of 310 feet.
According to Ripleys.com, Paul is the only member of Congress to ever hit a baseball out of the park during the annual Congressional Baseball Game.
In an interview with CQ Roll Call, Paul said he thinks they honored him with an award the same night he hit the ball out of the park. “It was a lot of fun, that’s all,” he said. “There was no long-lasting significance.”
“I remember the one I missed,” Paul said. “I hit the top of the wall and got a double.” That moment happened at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, the former home of the Orioles.
He ended his baseball career with a .294 batting average, six runs scored and six RBIs during seven games. A video clip of Paul playing in the 1983 Congressional baseball game can be found on YouTube.
Paul is well-known for being a staunch Libertarian, standing firm in his principles even in the face of strong criticism. He ran for President of the United States three times in 1988, 2008, and 2012. Paul will leave the House of Representatives in six months at the end of the 112th Congress. Many speculate that Paul will be retiring from politics altogether.
The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place before the start of the 51st Annual CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game on Thursday night at Nationals Park. According to the Office of the Clerk, the “Congressional Baseball Game has evolved into one of Congress’s most anticipated annual pastimes.” The tradition, which began in 1909, has raised millions of dollars for charities in D.C. and is often watched by Capitol Hill staffers and, occasionally, the President.
If Paul had been in Congress between 1958 and 1962 he wouldn’t have been able to play in the game, as Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas put an end to the Congressional Baseball Game. In 1962, with the support of Roll Call, the Congressional Baseball Game was relaunched under the leadership of Speaker John McCormack of Massachusetts.
This year, the proceeds from the game will benefit The Washington Literacy Center and The Boys & Girls Clubs of America.