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"Take Me Out to the Ball Game"

History of an American Folk Song

By

New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" may be one of the most universally known and enjoyed folk songs in America these days. In her memoir Sing It Pretty, musicologist Bess Lomax Hawes describes folk music in its purest form as the songs we all know, but don't remember learning. By that definition, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" is an excellent example of a folk song.

 

"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" Songwriters

Written in 1908 by Vaudeville star singer and songwriter Jack Norworth, the music was added by Albert Von Tilzer. Niether the lyricist nor the musician had ever been to a baseball game before, and the song was about wishing to attend one, imagining what it would be like. Later, in 1927, Norworth wrote a new verse to go with the already popular chorus. He attended his first baseball game in 1940, where he watched the Chicago Cubs play the Brooklyn Dodgers.

 

Seventh Inning Stretch

Initially, the song became popularized through Vaudeville shows. Although countless versions have been recorded through the years, it wasn't brought to an actual game until 1971, when Baseball announcer Harry Caray first led the crowd in singing the chorus during the seventh inning stretch at a Chicago Cubs game.

 

Artists Who Have Recorded "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"

Harvey Hindermeyer, Carly Simon, Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, and others.

 

Original Lyrics for "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"

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 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...

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