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Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Song written by Albert Von Tilzer and Jack Norworth in 1908
"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" is a 1908 Tin Pan Alley song by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer which has become the official anthem of North American baseball, although neither of its authors had attended a game prior to writing the song. The song's chorus is traditionally sung during the middle of the seventh inning of a baseball game. Fans are generally encouraged to sing along, and at most ballparks, the words "home team" are replaced with the home team's name.
Jack Norworth, while riding a subway train, was inspired by a sign that said "Baseball Today - Polo Grounds". In the song, Katie's boyfriend calls to ask her out to see a show. She accepts the date, but only if her date will take her out to the baseball game. The words were set to music by Albert Von Tilzer and registered with the U.S. Copyright Office on May 2, 1908. (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 then-wife Nora Bayes and popularized by many other vaudeville acts. It was played at a ballpark for the first known time in 1934, at a high-school game in Los Angeles; it was played later that year during the fourth game of the 1934 World Series.
Below are the lyrics of the 1908 version, which is in the public domain.
Katie Casey was baseball mad,
Had the fever and had it bad.
Just to root for the home town crew,
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 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,
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:
1 The term "sou", a coin of French origin, was at the time common slang for a low-denomination coin. In French the expression "sans le sou" means penniless. Carly Simon's version, produced for Ken Burns' 1994 documentary Baseball, reads "Ev'ry cent/Katie spent".
In addition to substituting the name of the home team, variations sometimes made to the chorus include singing "For it's root, root root..." instead of "Let me..." and replacing "never get back" with "ever get back." After the Hartford Yard Goats minor-league team banned peanuts and peanut products such as Cracker Jack from their stadium in 2019 due to allergy concerns, the team held a contest to determine a replacement lyric for the line referencing them. The winning entry, "Buy me a hot dog and Yard Goats cap" is now sung during the playing of the song at Dunkin' Donuts Park.
The song (or at least its chorus) has been recorded or cited countless times in the 112 years since it was written. The first verse of the 1927 version is sung by Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra at the start of the MGMmusical 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.
The iconic song has been used and alluded to in many different ways:
In the 1935 Marx Brothers' film A Night at the Opera, in one of the more unusual uses of the song, composer Herbert Stothart arranged for a full pit orchestra to segue seamlessly from the overture of Il trovatore into the chorus of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game".
In the 1941 movie Meet John Doe, Gary Cooper is playing air-baseball with the song's first two chorus lines playing in the background, instrumental version.
A 1954 version by Stuart McKay  shifted the lyrics two syllables forward to make the song end surprisingly early. In McKay's version the initial "Take me" was sung as an unaccented pickup, causing the final "Game" to land on the same note as "Old" in the original, and leaving the last two notes unsung.
In 1955, in an episode of I Love Lucy guest starring Harpo Marx, Harpo performed a harp rendition of the song.
A version is heard during the end credits of the 1978 film The Bad News Bears Go To Japan. The first verse is sung by Japanese children, later accompanied by American singers.
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 as Casey on the Loose) which posited Katie Casey as being the daughter of the famous slugger from the poem.
In 1994, radio station WJMP, broadcasting to the Akron, Ohio market, played the song continuously during the Major League Baseball players' strike of 1994 as a protest.
In 1995 in the ER Season 2 episode "Hell and High Water", the character Doug Ross tells a child to keep singing the song to keep himself conscious.
The 2001 children's book Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs by Alan Katz and David Catrow, featuring silly words to well-known tunes, recast the end of the chorus as "I used one, two, three bars of soap. Take me out...I'm clean!" in its title number.
In 2006, Jim Burke authored and illustrated a children's book version of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame".
In 2007, one of Esurance's commercials used a song about the company with the same tune, but it had a woman attending a baseball game animated by WildBrain.
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.
In 2008 American composer Randol Alan Bass used the song in Casey at the Bat, a setting of the poem by Ernest L. Thayer for concert band and narrator.
The tune of the song is used in a song used for kindergarten culminations, nicknamed "Take Me Out to the First Grade", referring that kids are moving on to first grade and are ready to learn everything else in different subjects.
Edward Meeker's original 1908 recording can be heard in Slender: The Arrival during which it is played on a radio, along with three other songs, during chapter 1.
On the HGTV series Good Bones, home remodelers working in Indianapolis found a sheet of sheet music paper inside a wall. When they took it to a music store, they found it was signed by Albert Von Tilzer and was the chorus of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." No decision on what to do with the paper was disclosed on the show.