Over the last 10 months, I have heard a nursery-style rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” over and over and over. My little guy’s place of dwelling is adorned with artwork from his inherited baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Today is the first day of my favorite part of the year: it’s opening day in Major League Baseball. I figured it appropriate to jump into a bit of history behind one of America’s best-loved and most-sung musical pieces.
For whatever reason, this song that, if you really think about it, is pretty annoying (see first paragraph, maybe it’s just me, but I doubt it), has grabbed the hearts of countless ballpark-goers for over 100 years. It is now as much a part of the game as the peanuts and cracker jacks of which it so lovingly refers.
From Amy Whorf McGuiggan and Mike Veeck’s book, Take Me Out to the Ball Game: The Story of the Sensational Baseball Song,
“Of all the arts, music shares a special relationship with baseball. Hundreds of songs have been written about baseball since the earliest known composition was penned in 1858, but only one has held onto the hearts of fans through the generations. Other songs had their heyday, rhythmically dancing through the heads of a generation and ever present on the parlor piano, but most are now forgotten by all except students of baseball music and collectors of sheet music. ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ is the exception. Not only is it a song that has stood the test of time, it is the song – among the broad array of baseball polkas, waltzes, schottisches, and galops written to celebrate teams, players, and the game itself – that has come to define the national game. It is rightfully called baseball’s anthem.”
The song was written in 1908, at least that’s when the Library of Congress received two copies of it, by Jack Norworth (lyrics) and Albert von Tilzer (music).
Next time you’re at the ballpark, join in on the historic tradition. Sing your heart out…
Take me out to the ball game /
Take me out to the crowd
…Although you’re already at the ballgame, who really cares?
It’s integral to the experience.