National Archives News

America’s Favorite Pastime

Baseball pennant graphic banner

The National Archives celebrates America's favorite pastime! Baseball has played a major role throughout American history. Explore records in the National Archives Catalog related to everything from racial integration in baseball and the Negro leagues to World Series races, Presidential first pitches, and patents that have improved the game.



Highlighted Documents from the Archives

Baseball: The National Pastime in the National Archives ebook.

The National Pastime eBook

Baseball: The National Pastime in the National Archives. This book tells the story of our national pastime through documents, photographs, audio, video, and other records preserved at the National Archives. It covers of the role of baseball during the two world wars, contract disputes, civil rights, the steroids era, Presidential involvement, improvements to the sport, Little League, Spring Training, Opening Day, and celebrations along the way.


Jackie Robinson in a baseball uniform

Fighting Segregation

Jackie Robinson: Beyond the Playing Field includes documents and lesson plans that focus on civil rights history and civic responsibility. Anyone interested in the life of this baseball legend will find the collection insightful. The National Archives holds numerous records relating to Jackie Robinson, many of which pertain to his period of civil rights advocacy.




Author lecture: “History of Washington Baseball”

A conversation with Frederic J. Frommer, author of You Gotta Have Heart: A History of Washington Baseball from 1859 to the 2012 National League East Champions.

1933 newsreel: Giants versus Senators in 1933 World Series

This series consists of the newsreel stories released by Universal Pictures; the last theatrical newsreel released in the United States. One of five major U.S. newsreels, Universal Newsreel was released in theaters from 1929 to 1967 and features an update on the series between the Giants and the Senators in the 1933 Major League Baseball World Series.

Baseball Manager Leo Durocher leads the 1945 Brooklyn Dodgers spring training 

During World War II, before feature films in military motion picture theaters, soldiers viewed highlight clips like "Dem Bums Warm Up," showing 1945 Brooklyn Dodgers team manager Leo Durocher leading infield practice at baseball's spring training. 

1959 newsreel: Dodgers win World Series

A newsreel account of the Los Angeles Dodgers' win over the Chicago Cubs in the 1959 World Series.

Richard Nixon explains his all-time all-star baseball team selections​

On June 30, 1972, journalist Clifford Evans interviewed President Richard Nixon in the White House for RKO General Broadcasting. This meeting was captured by recording devices in the Oval Office.

Members of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball organization visit the White House, January 3, 1973​

On January 3, 1973, Daniel Galbreath, Dave Giusti, and Stephen Blass visited President Richard Nixon in the White House. This meeting was captured by recording devices in the Oval Office.

Additional Videos

President Reagan throws first pitch at a Cubs game, September 1988

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Feature Articles from Prologue

Beyond the Box Score: Baseball Records in the National Archives by David A. Pfeiffer and John Vernon

Jim Crow, Meet Lieutenant Robinson: A 1944 Court-Martial by John Vernon

An Archival Odyssey: The Search for Jackie Robinson by John Vernon

Congressional Play-by-Play on Baseball by Adam Berenbak

When FDR Said "Play Ball": President Called Baseball a Wartime Morale Booster by Gerald Bazer and Steven Culbertson

The Booker T Four’s Unlikely Journey from Prison Baseball to the Negro Leagues by Timothy Rives and Robert Rives


Forward with Roosevelt: From the Museum: Two 1940 All-Star Game Baseballs

Pieces of History: The Inventors Behind America’s Favorite Pastime

Pieces of History: Ceremonial First Pitches

Pieces of History: Jackie Robinson’s 100th

Pieces of History: Nats Win!

Pieces of History: The 1918 Boston Red Sox and World War I

Pieces of History: Play Ball! (Clifford Berryman cartoons)

Pieces of History: Play Ball, Mr. President!

Pieces of History: Facial Hair Friday: Opening Day Mustache

Pieces of History: The Greatest Athlete of the First Half of the Century

Pieces of History: Four Patriots from Baseball’s Hall of Fame

Pieces of History: 9/11: The World Series and a President’s Pitch

Pieces of History: Fear the Beard!

Pieces of History: Private Babe Ruth

Pieces of History: Baseball and the 13th Amendment

Pieces of History: Roberto Clemente, A Legacy Beyond Baseball

Rediscovering Black History: The First Time Jackie Robinson Broke Baseball’s Color Barrier

Rediscovering Black History: Tribute to Hall of Famer Frank Robinson

The Text Message: The Boys of Summer—Records Relating to Baseball and the World Series in the Records of the National Register of Historic Places

The Text Message: Major League Baseball, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and World War II, 1941–1942

The Text Message: Baseball Patents

The Text Message: Take Me Out to the Ball Game

The Unwritten Record: Spotlight: Universal Newsreel Highlights Female Baseball Players

The Unwritten Record: Images of the Week: Baseball

The Unwritten Record: Play Ball!

The Unwritten Record: Batter Up: World War I Amputees Play Ball