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"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" is as American as apple pie and, well, baseball.
But the seventh inning stretch hymn wasn't written for the ballpark; it was written for Vaudeville, a term that describes both a style of entertainment and a circuit of theaters popular around the turn of the century. Even as the song was soaring to the top of the Vaudeville charts, though, Vaudeville itself was dying.
By 1930, Vaudeville was dead, rendered obsolete by a new, more exciting form of entertainment: the movies.
"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" survived, though. It jumped off the stage and onto the diamond where it belonged. Today, it's the third most frequently sung song in America. (Can you name the first two?)
But how exactly did the song get so popular? And when did it first make the leap from stage to sandlot? And most importantly, what's the deal with those extra verses? Like, who on earth is Katie Casey?
|Writer(s)||Jack Norworth (lyrics), Albert Von Tilzer (music)|
|Learn to play|
Jack Norworth was inspired to write “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” after seeing an advertisement for a game while riding the subway. He had never actually been to a game before (and wouldn’t see one for another three decades), but he knew enough about the game to write his song.
“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” has since become an immensely popular song and a hallmark of American culture. It is one of the most frequently sung tunes in the country, and almost any professional or amateur baseball player could tell you where he was the first time he ever heard it at a game.
Jack Norworth and Nora Bayes
The Post Office says “Play Ball”
The US Postal Service issued a Take Me Out to the Ball Game stamp in 2008, the 100-year anniversary of the song.
The New York Giants’ blundering rookie
The Palace Theater
New York’s largest Vaudeville theater.
Tin Pan Alley, New York City
The center of the songwriting industry in 1908
The voice of the White Sox and Cubs leads the fans in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
Seventh Inning Ritual
Fans stand and sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
This site, sponsored by the University of Virginia, includes everything from background information to audio and video files, recommended reading, and links.
The Baseball Almanac
This site is jammed with information for the baseball history buff. Facts and trivia, statistics and biographies—it’s all here, even the attendance records of the current and past presidents.
Tin Pan Alley
This site provides good information, some nice images, and useful links. Check it out.
1908 Recording of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”
Edward Meeker sings the baseball classic in 1908.
Bayes and Norworth
Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth sing “Come Along My Mandy” in 1910
“Shine on Harvest Moon”
Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth’s most famous song, also written in 1908, is performed here by their contemporaries Ada Jones and Bill Murray in 1909. Note the influence of the minstrel tradition on Vaudeville.
Harry Caray, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”
The Chicago Cubs announcer leads the crowd in the song during the Seventh Inning Stretch.
Fans sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”