“The whirlwind of joy which swept over Washington yesterday immediately after Earl McNeely had driven in the run that made the Nationals world champions continued to rage until well after midnight,” The Washington Post reported. “It subsided then only because a baseball-crazed city had yelled itself hoarse and stopped from sheer exhaustion.”
The Post described the spontaneous celebration as “an armistice day and mardi gras blended into one.”
The report stated: “It was the thrilling outburst of a city’s joy which knew no bounds. It was wonderful. Every one of the more than 400,000 men, women and children who make Washington their home took part in the celebration. Every noise-making device that hands could reach was used to produce a mighty din that continued unchecked for hours.”
In other words, it was a larger-scale version of the celebration that took place Wednesday night in and around Nationals Park, after the Nationals won the city’s second World Series title with a Game 7 win over the Astros in Houston.
“Street scenes in the downtown section defy description,” The Post reported in 1924. “It seemed that the entire population and 100,000 automobiles were jammed into the few blocks between Pennsylvania avenue, F street and Ninth and Fifteenth streets. They pushed aimlessly up and down the thoroughfares, shouting and yelling the greatest acclaim ever given a baseball team. At times it seemed that there were such jams of humanity that they would never untangle. But there would be a break some place and the swirling mass would move on to the accompaniment of honking horns, bursting torpedoes, cutouts, back-fires and the shrill of screams of a delirious fandom.”
More from the day after: “The cup of joy had bubbled over and the whole town was drunk with happiness. … The carnival spirit held full sway. How could anyone be angry at anything? Surely if a young man wanted to say something nice to a pretty girl, certainly the mere fact that he didn’t know her never entered his mind. And, for that matter, it didn’t enter her mind, either. Washington had won and that’s all anybody cared about.”
John Loughney, the 38-year-old local actor who went viral last month for answering “Since today!” when asked by a TV reporter how long he had been a Nationals fan, would have fit right in at the 1924 celebration.
“The demonstration was by no means confined to baseball fans,” The Post wrote. “Many who yelled with the others had never seen a ball game. But they, too, sensed that a great victory had been won and they wanted to have a part in its celebration.”
The Post wasn’t the only newspaper to cover the scene.
“Thousands are trampling the streets in the wildest celebration ever seen in baseball,” the New York Times marveled. “From the White House to the Capitol the clamor rises. The streets are full of jostling, joy-crazed citizens blowing horns, manipulating rattlers, firing pistols and making a din that can be heard for miles. On the banks of the Potomac there is bedlam and madness tonight. All the pent-up enthusiasm of a baseball-crazy city is being loosened. With the tension off, the world serene and peaceful again, all the capital is giving itself over to the delirium of thankfulness.”
On Saturday afternoon, the 2019 Nationals will be feted with a parade down Constitution Avenue, as the Washington Capitals were after their Stanley Cup championship last year. While 100,000 people turned out to celebrate the Senators capturing the American League pennant in 1924, there was no such parade after the team’s World Series triumph, partly because several players left town immediately. The defending champion Senators’ home opener in 1925 featured extra-festive pregame ceremonies.
“The District commissioners had planned an official observance but abandoned the idea when they learned the Nationals were abandoning Washington,” The Post reported after the World Series. “It is thought better to put off the official congratulation because a prearranged and dignified affair would seem at a zephyr of gratitude and praise after the typhoon of adulation into which the city was vortexed Friday night.”
President Coolidge addressed the team at the pennant-winning parade, a celebration that began when hundreds of cheering fans greeted the Senators at Union Station and ended with a banquet at the Occidental hotel.
“By bringing the baseball pennant to Washington, you have made the national capital more truly the center of worthy and honorable national aspirations,” Coolidge said.
“The staid old Capital City went wild yesterday when the triumphant Nationals came marching home with Washington’s first baseball championship,” The Post reported after the Senators clinched the pennant Sept. 29. “Shrieking its acclaim, the city capitulated unconditionally to the little band of heroes, the sight of whom transformed the dignified Capital into a veritable asylum of men and women crazed with the taste of victory after so many dreary years of oblivion in the national pastime.”
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