Daily Dirt: ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game’ is a classic, but fire up ‘Centerfield’ on Opening Day


Jack Norworth claims he scribbled those famous words about a baseball game on an envelope after seeing a sign about a game in May 1908 at the Polo Grounds.

Daily Dirt for Thursday, March 14, 2024

It’s hard to believe “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” is actually that old … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 893 of The Daily Dirt.

1. As we move closer and closer to the start of the MLB season, I find myself singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” quite often. When my wife turns up the sound on the television, that’s usually my clue to tone it down.

Did you know that New Yorker Jack Norworth, the guy who wrote “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” had never attended a game before writing that iconic tune? Norworth, who also wrote “Shine On, Harvest Moon,” claims he scribbled those famous words about a baseball game on an envelope after seeing a sign about a game that day in May 1908 at the Polo Grounds.

Interestingly, writing that song did not automatically make Norworth a baseball fan. He never attended his first game until 1940 — 32 years later. Also interestingly, the song was not played at a baseball game until 1934 at a high school game in Los Angeles. It finally made its debut in an MLB park later that same year.

The following lyrics were Norworth’s original. I have never heard of those first or third parts:

Katie Casey was baseball mad,
Had the fever and had it bad.
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev’ry sou
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:”

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don’t care if I ever get back.
So let’s 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.

2. In honor of Mr. Norworth, here’s an updated list of The Daily Dirt’s favorite baseball songs:

  • Gold medal: “Centerfield” by John Fogerty. If for some reason you have never heard this classic, please play it before you watch or attend your first game this spring. This might be my favorite Fogerty song ever, and that includes such CCR mainstays as “Fortunate Son” and “Up Around The Bend.”
  • Silver medal: “Talkin’ Baseball” by Terry Cashman. The oh-so-talented Cashman has written no more than 30 different versions of the “Talkin’ Baseball’ song, plus 40 other baseball-related songs on subjects as diverse as Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Phil Niekro, Babe Ruth, Carl Yastrzemski and Earl Weaver, plus the Negro Leagues and even rain delays and third-base coaches.
  • Bronze medal: “Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen. I absolutely love the clip of Dwight Gooden in this song’s video.

3. The best of this week’s celebrity birthdays:

  • Beach Boys fans will be celebrating Friday when Mike Love turns 83.
  • Actor Kurt Russell will be 73 on Sunday.
  • Actor/TV host Rob Lowe reaches 60, also on Sunday.
  • Singer/actress Queen Latifah will be 54 on Monday.
  • Actor Bruce Willis turns 69 on Tuesday.

Steve Thought O’ The Day
Forty years ago today, Prince’s “When Doves Cry” was the No. 1 song in the nation. No. 2 was Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It.”

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. How does Steve find a way to sing “Take Me Out fo the Ball Game” when he’s usually stuffing peanuts or Cracker Jack in his mouth?

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