Aug 8, 2008

"Take Me Out to the Ballgame" turns 100

"Take Me Out to the Ballgame", the unofficial anthem of baseball, turns 100 years old this summer. has a good article about the song, including these highlights:
  • In 1908, the Chicago Cubs won the world series. Coincidentally, in the same year, the song was written by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer.
  • The song was popular, but didn't really take off until after 1971: "Chicago White Sox announcer Harry Caray first started singing the song along with Comiskey Park organist Nancy Faust. In 1976, White Sox owner Bill Veeck asked Harry if he could give him a microphone so he could sing for the entire stadium during the seventh-inning stretch. Initially, Harry wanted no part of it. Thankfully, as Caray was doing it one afternoon, WMAQ radio producer/broadcaster Jay Scott decided to open the booth mikes on him without his realizing it and a tradition was born.
  • In 1982, Carayh joined the Chicago, and his seventh-inning performance of the song became legendary.
  • Harry Caray continued that tradition of singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” until he died in 1998. At that time the Cubs began a practice of inviting guest celebrities, local and national, to lead the singing Caray-style.
  • A full list of celebrities who have performed "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at Wrigley Field (up to June 19, 2008) can be found here.
There's a great Bill Veeck story about Caray and the song. As the story goes, Veeck secretly placed a mic in Caray's booth so the fans could hear Caray singing. Veeck told Caray: "Harry, anybody in the ballpark hearing you sing 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' knows that he can sing as well as you can. Probably better than you can. So he or she sings along. Hell, if you had a good singing voice you'd intimidate them, and nobody would join in!" (From

A few more facts from the Canadian Press:
  • It's the third most frequently sung song in the United States, yet few know all its lyrics. (Happy Birthday and The Star Spangled Banner are #1 and #2.)
  • It's been recorded by more than 400 artists, from Frank Sinatra to Frank Zappa.
  • The song was a top 10 hit for three recording artists in 1908.
  • It wasn't performed at a ballpark until Pepper Martin and his teammates played it before Game Four of the 1934 World Series at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis.
More info:

No comments: