Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" is an early-20th century Tin Pan Alley song which became the unofficial anthem of baseball although neither of its authors had attended a game prior to writing the song.cite web | url=http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/loc.natlib.ihas.200153239/default.html | title=Take Me Out to the Ball Game | work=Performing Arts Encyclopedia | publisher=Library of Congress | accessdate=2008-07-17 ] The song is traditionally sung during the "seventh-inning stretch" of a baseball game, in spite of being written from the perspective of someone not at a game. Fans are encouraged to sing along.

History of the song

The words were written in 1908 by Jack Norworth, who while riding a subway train, was inspired by a sign that said "Baseball Today — Polo Grounds". The words were set to music by Albert Von Tilzer, (Norworth and Von Tilzer finally saw their first Major League Baseball games 32 and 20 years later, respectively). The song was first sung by Norworth's wife Nora Bayes and popularized by various vaudeville acts. Norworth wrote an alternative version of the song in 1927. (Norworth and Bayes were famous for writing and performing such smash hits as "Shine On, Harvest Moon.")cite web | url=http://www.lagunahistory.org/html/norworth.html | publisher=Laguna Beach Historical Society | accessdate=2008-07-17 | title=Jack Norworth & Take Me Out to the Ball Game ] cite web | url=http://www.archeophone.com/product_info.php?products_id=55 | publisher=Archeophone Records | accessdate=2008-07-17 | title=Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth: Together and Alone ]

With the sale of so many records, sheet music, and piano rolls, the song became one of the most popular hits of 1908. The Haydn Quartet singing group, led by popular tenor Harry MacDonough, recorded a successful version on Victor Records.cite web | url=http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/fan_forum/babyruth/index.jsp?content=history | title=Take Me Out to the Ball Game: Song History | publisher=Major League Baseball | accessdate=2008-07-17 | first=Mark | last=Newman ]

Two other recorded renditions were somewhat popular that year as well. Harvey Hindermyer, a member of the [http://www.mainspringpress.com/pioneer_groups.html Shannon Four] singing group and a popular radio performer later in life, recorded the song for Columbia Records. That version can be found on the Ken Burns "Baseball" documentary soundtrack. Another hit version was recorded by [http://www.tinfoil.com/cm-9808.htm#e09926 Edward Meeker] , staff announcer and special effects man for Edison Records.

Contrary to some sources, Billy Murray, although a fan of baseball in general and the New York Giants in particular, never recorded a version of the song. One of the well-known quartets, whose sessions frequently included Murray, did record the song, but without Murray, leading to some confusion in some of the record catalogues.cite news | url=http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08175/891968-63.stm | accessdate=2008-07-17 | date=23 June 2008 | publisher="Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" | first=Andrew | last=Druckenbrod | title=Name this tune: You sing 'Take Me Out,' it's 100 years old ]


Below are the two versions side by side for comparison:

1908 Version Katie Casey was baseball mad, Had the fever and had it bad. Just to root for the home town crew, Ev'ry sou1 Katie blew. On a Saturday her young beau Called to see if she'd like to go To see a show, but Miss Kate said "No, I'll tell you what you can do:" 1927 Version Nelly Kelly loved baseball games, Knew the players, knew all their names. You could see her there ev'ry day, Shout "Hurray" When they'd play. Her boyfriend by the name of Joe Said, "To Coney Isle, dear, let's go", Then Nelly started to fret and pout, And to him, I heard her shout:
" [Chorus] " Take me out to the ball game, Take me out with the crowds; Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, I don't care if I never get back. Let me root, root, root for the home team, If they don't win, it's a shame. For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out, At the old ball game.
Katie Casey saw all the games, Knew the players by their first names. Told the umpire he was wrong, All along, Good and strong. When the score was just two to two, Katie Casey knew what to do, Just to cheer up the boys she knew, She made the gang sing this song: Nelly Kelly was sure some fan, She would root just like any man, Told the umpire he was wrong, All along, Good and strong. When the score was just two to two, Nelly Kelly knew what to do, Just to cheer up the boys she knew, She made the gang sing this song: " [repeat Chorus] "

1 The term "sou", now obscure, was at the time common slang for a low-denomination coin. Carly Simon's version, produced for Ken Burns' 1994 documentary on baseball, reads "Ev'ry cent / Katie spent".

Modern renditions of the song

Nowadays the verses to the song are almost never heard, with only the chorus generally sung. It is commonly held to be the third most-often-played song in the United States, after "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "Happy Birthday to You".

In the "I Love Lucy" episode "Lucy and Harpo Marx", Harpo plays "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" on his harp.

In the Marx Brothers comedy, "A Night at the Opera", Harpo and Chico, in sabotaging the opera "Il Trovatore" sneak a rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" within the Overture. When the Overture comes to the song, they, in the orchestra pit, feign a game of baseball, while Groucho appears as a stadium vendor calling out, in a mixed metaphor, "PEANUTS, PEANUTS! GETCHER RED HOT PEANUTS!!"

Among those famously associated with the song was Hall of Fame sportscaster Harry Caray, who began singing at games in Comiskey Park for the Chicago White Sox from the early 1970s to 1981, then in Wrigley Field for the Chicago Cubs from 1982 through 1997. Caray's tradition of leading the crowd in singing the song began when White Sox owner Bill Veeck sneaked a public address microphone into Caray's broadcast booth, so that the crowd could hear Caray's boundless enthusiasm and marginal musical talents — something that previously only his broadcast colleagues were privy to. The original idea of the leading the crowd had originated some years earlier, when WMAQ radio producer/broadcaster Jay Scott noticed Harry, and others, singing the song when Nancy Faust would play in on the organ. Scott suggested the sing-along it to WMAQ radio brass, but the idea did not catch on, and was ridiculed by Caray himself. After being ordered to sing by Veeck, Caray began leading the crowd, leaning out the front window of his booth and swinging his microphone in time with the music, like a conductor's baton. When Caray left Sox broadcasts to join the WGN team broadcasting Cubs games, the singing tradition went with him. Late in his career, when Caray missed a number of games due to a stroke, "guest conductors" did the honors; after Caray's death, the guest-conductor tradition has become a part of the Cubs tradition, with different celebrities doing the activities each game, whether it is part of Chicago sports, actors, musicians, news anchors, or fans.

Coincidentally, the year the song was written (1908) is the last year the Cubs won the World Series — after beating out Norworth's Giants for the league championship (See Merkle's Boner).

When sung at baseball games, a variety of alternative lines are sung. Most of these center on the line "Let me root, root root for the home team;" in most Major League ballparks, the actual name of the home team is substituted for the words "home team."

If the team name contains one syllable, the word "team" can be appended to the team name, as in "Reds team," as sung in Cincinnati, though in recent years the Reds have taken to using "Redlegs" to fill this spot. Similarly, other two-syllable nicknames are also used, such as "Cubbies" at Chicago Cubs games, "Bravos" at Atlanta Braves games, or "Twinkies" at Minnesota Twins games. Some teams replace the words "Let me" with either "So it's", "For it's", "So we'll", "With a," or "'Cause it's."

At a few baseball parks, such as Dodger Stadium where the Los Angeles Dodgers play, the song's chorus is played and sung twice, but the second time is done a half-step higher.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, many teams replaced the song with God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch, or played the song after God Bless America. This practice largely has ceased in recent years, though God Bless America is retained for patriotic holidays such as Independence Day and Memorial Day. In some instances it is reserved for a specific day of the week, such as a Sunday.

If a game goes to the 14th inning at Wrigley Field, they will sing the song again. cite news | url=http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page3/story?page=behrens/040726 | accessdate=2008-07-17 | title=And it's root, root, root for the Cubbies | first=Andy | last=Behrens | page=3 | publisher=ESPN | date=28 July 2004 ]

During the April 17 2008 Colorado Rockies vs. San Diego Padres 22 inning game, the song was played at the 14th Inning Stretch and once again at the PETCO Park unprecedented 21st Inning Stretch.cite news | url=http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3353469&campaign=rss&source=ESPNHeadlines | accessdate=2008-07-17 | date=18 April 2008 | title=Weary Rockies hang on vs. Padres in 22nd inning for historic win | author=Associated Press | publisher=ESPN ]

In 2002, nu metal band Dry Kill Logic made a hardcore version called Riot at the Bat Rack, which was used in the video game MLB Slugfest. [cite web | url=http://www.investor.midway.com/rxpage/mpr_1101.html | accessdate=2008-07-17 | date=24 May 2002 | title=Dry Kill Logic | publisher=Midway ]

In 2008, MLB celebrated the 100th anniversary of the lyrics with various promotional activities.

The United States Postal Service commemorated the 100th anniversary of the song with a 42-cent postage stamp, issued June 16, 2008 in Washington, D.C. during President George W. Bush's first "Tee-ball on the South Lawn of the White House All-Star Game."

Recordings of the song

The song (or at least its chorus) has been recorded or cited countless times in the 100 years since it was written. The original music and 1908 lyrics of the song are now in the public domain, but the copyright to the revised 1927 lyrics remains in effect.cite news | url=http://www.star-telegram.com/300/story/741065.html | publisher="Fort Worth Star-Telegram" | accessdate=2008-09-05 | date=July 4, 2008 | title=Happy 100th Anniversary, 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' | first=David | last=Thomas ] It has been used as an instrumental underscore or introduction to many films or skits having to do with baseball.

The first verse of the 1927 version is sung by Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra at the start of the MGM musical film, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (1949), a movie that also features a song about the famous and fictitious double play combination, "O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg".

In 1957, jazz pianists (and baseball fans) André Previn and Russ Freeman recorded "Double Play!" for Contemporary Records with drummer Shelly Manne. The original song titles invoke baseball imagery, such as "Called on Account of Rain," "In the Cellar Blues" and the title track. The first track on the album is a jazz version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

In the early 70's, the melody of the first few lines of the chorus were appropriated as the intro to the song "J.J. to Brenda to Mark", from "The Electric Company".

In 1985, Kidsongs released a home video that contained a rendition of the song. In this rendition, the chorus as above was sung, followed by a new verse to the same music as the chorus, with the following lyrics: "All I need is just one chance / I could hit a home run / There isn't anyone else I need / Maybe I'll go down in history / And it's root root root for the home team / Here comes fortune and fame / Cuz I know that I'll be the star / At the old ball game"

One recording artist in the early 1990s released a version of the song that simply skipped the first two words, but kept the tune the same, thus highlighting the simplicity of the lyrics, and the fact that most of its words are of single syllables: "Out to the ball game take me / Out to the crowd buy me / Some peanuts and Cracker Jack, I don't /" etc. This recording was included in a traveling exhibit of baseball art, called "Diamonds Are Forever".

In the mid-1990s, a Major League Baseball ad campaign featured versions of the song performed by musicians of several different genres. An alternative rock version by the Goo Goo Dolls was also recorded. [ [http://blog.oregonlive.com/oregonianextra/2008/06/diamond_ditty_turns_100.html Diamond Ditty turns 100 - The Oregonian Extra - OregonLive.com ] ]

A complete parody of the song was featured in an episode of "Freakazoid".

In the mid 90s, Billy Joel included a live version of the song on his "Live from Yankee Stadium" DVD.

The opening lines of The Lawrence Arms track 'Traditional' are based on the song's chorus.

Mandy Patinkin recorded the song in Yiddish on his album Mamaloshen

In 2003, the Japanese punk band Nicotine recorded a cover of the song (with the verses) entitled "Take Me Out to the Ball Game 2003" and released it as a single.

For the 2007 season, indie rock group The Hold Steady recorded a version of the song to be played at Minnesota Twins home games, substituting new lyrics to make it Twins focused. This came about after Hold Steady lead singer (and life-long Twins fan) Craig Finn did an interview with a Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune sports writer.

tories about the song

In 1988, for the 80th anniversary of the song and the 100th anniversary of the poem "Casey at the Bat", "Sports Illustrated" writer Frank Deford constructed a fanciful story (later expanded to book form) which posited Katie Casey as being the daughter of the famous slugger from the poem.

In 2006, Jim Burke authored and illustrated a children's book version of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame".

In 2008, Andy Strasberg, Bob Thompson and Tim Wiles (from the Baseball Hall of Fame) wrote a comprehensive book on the history of the song, "Baseball's Greatest Hit: The Story of 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game"'. The book, published by Hal Leonard Books, included a CD with 16 different recordings of the song from various points in time, ranging from a 1908 recording by Fred Lambert, to a seventh-inning-stretch recording by Harry Caray.




* [http://www.tinfoil.com/cm-9808.htm#e09926 Original lyric, sung by Edward Meeker] , recorded in 1908 on a phonograph cylinder
* [http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/ballgame.htm Lyrics to 1927 version]


* [http://www.mtv.com/#/news/articles/1556150/20070402/hold_steady.jhtml The Hold Steady record a new Twins version of the song] , with link to video sample of the recording.
* [http://www.allaoijr.com/takemeout.html Take me out to the ball game]
* [http://www.audiosparx.com/sa/play/port_lofi.cfm/sound_iid.282669 Old time style solo piano version of Take Me Out to the Ball Game, performed by Suzannah Doyle ]
* [http://vidsgateway.com/com_bXTauo3I7A8_BASEBALL-Take-Me-Out-To-The-Ball-Game.html "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in Yiddish]

External links

* [http://web.baseballhalloffame.org/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080505&content_id=7228&vkey=hof_news Baseball Hall of Fame: "'Take Me Out' Celebrates 100th Birthday"]
* [http://www.americanmusicpreservation.com/songanniversaries.htm Take Me Out to the Ball Game: A Centennial Tribute]

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