Take Me Out to the Ball Game
"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" is a 1908 Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley is the name given to the collection of New York City music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the United States in the late 19th century and early 20th century...

 song by Jack Norworth
Jack Norworth
Jack Norworth was a U.S. songwriter, singer and vaudeville performer.Norworth is credited as co-writer of a number of Tin Pan Alley hits. He wrote the lyrics of the song "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in 1908, his most long lasting hit. But it wasn't until 1940 that he actually witnessed a Major...

 and Albert Von Tilzer
Albert Von Tilzer
Albert Von Tilzer was an American songwriter, the younger brother of fellow songwriter Harry Von Tilzer. He wrote the music to many hit songs, including, most notably, "Take Me Out To The Ball Game"....

 which has become the unofficial anthem of baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

, although neither of its authors had attended a game prior to writing the song. The song is traditionally sung during the seventh-inning stretch
Seventh-inning stretch
The seventh-inning stretch is a tradition in baseball that takes place between the halves of the seventh inning of any game – in the middle of the seventh inning. Fans generally stand up and stretch out their arms and legs and sometimes walk around. It is a popular time to get a late-game snack as...

 of a baseball game. Fans are encouraged to sing along.

History of the song

Jack Norworth, who while riding a subway
New York City Subway
The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and also known as MTA New York City Transit...

 train, was inspired by a sign that said "Baseball Today — Polo Grounds
Polo Grounds
The Polo Grounds was the name given to four different stadiums in Upper Manhattan, New York City, used by many professional teams in both baseball and American football from 1880 until 1963...

". In the song, Katie's (and later Nelly's) beau calls to ask her out to see a show. She accepts the date, but only if her date will take her out to the ballgame. The words were set to music by Albert Von Tilzer
Albert Von Tilzer
Albert Von Tilzer was an American songwriter, the younger brother of fellow songwriter Harry Von Tilzer. He wrote the music to many hit songs, including, most notably, "Take Me Out To The Ball Game"....

, (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
Nora Bayes
Nora Bayes was a popular American singer, comedienne and actress of the early 20th century.-Early life and career:...

 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, and researchers think it made its debut at a major-league park later that year.

Norworth wrote an alternative version of the song in 1927. (Norworth and Bayes were famous for writing and performing such smash hits as "Shine On, Harvest Moon
Shine On, Harvest Moon
"Shine On, Harvest Moon" is the name of a popular early-1900s song credited to the married vaudeville team Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth. It was one of a series of moon related Tin Pan Alley songs of the era. The song was debuted by Bayes and Norworth in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1908 to great acclaim...

".) With the sale of so many records, sheet music, and piano rolls, the song became one of the most popular hits of 1908. The Haydn Quartet
The Haydn Quartet
The Haydn Quartet was one of the most popular recording close harmony quartets in the early twentieth century.Originally Samuel Holland Rous formed a vocal quartet in 1896 to record for Edison’s studios...

 singing group
Barbershop music
Barbershop vocal harmony, as codified during the barbershop revival era , is a style of a cappella, or unaccompanied vocal music characterized by consonant four-part chords for every melody note in a predominantly homophonic texture...

, led by popular tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

 Harry MacDonough, recorded a successful version on Victor Records.

Contrary to some sources, Billy Murray
Billy Murray (singer)
William Thomas "Billy" Murray was one of the most popular singers in the United States in the early decades of the 20th century...

, although a fan of baseball in general and the New York Giants
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California, playing in the National League West Division....

 in particular, never recorded a version of the song. One of the well-known quartets, whose sessions frequently included Murray, did record the song, but without Murray, leading to some confusion in some of the record catalogues. The confusion, nonetheless, is so pervasive that, when "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent agency of the United States federal government that offers support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence. It was created by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. Its current...

 and the Recording Industry Association of America
Recording Industry Association of America
The Recording Industry Association of America is a trade organization that represents the recording industry distributors in the United States...

 as one of the 365 top "Songs of the Century
Songs of the Century
The "Songs of the Century" list is part of an education project by the Recording Industry Association of America , the National Endowment for the Arts, and Scholastic Inc. that aims to "promote a better understanding of America’s musical and cultural heritage" in American schools...

", the song was credited to Billy Murray, implying his recording of it as having received the most votes among songs from the first decade. The first recorded version was by Edward Meeker
Edward Meeker
Edward Meeker was an American US singer and performer, best known for his appearances on the recordings of Thomas Edison, as an announcer, and performing songs like Chicken Reel and Take Me Out To The Ball Game, as well as reading vaudville skits and providing sound effects.Meeker was born in East...

. Meeker's recording was selected by the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

 as a 2010 addition to the National Recording Registry
National Recording Registry
The National Recording Registry is a list of sound recordings that "are culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States." The registry was established by the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, which created the National Recording...

, which selects recordings annually that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


Below are the two versions side by side for comparison:

1908 Version

Katie Casey was baseball mad,

Had the fever and had it bad.

Just to root for the home town crew,

Ev'ry sou1

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:"

1927 Version

Nelly Kelly loved baseball games,

Knew the players, knew all their names.

You could see her there ev'ry day,

Shout "Hurray"

When they'd play.

Her boyfriend by the name of Joe

Said, "To Coney Isle
Coney Island
Coney Island is a peninsula and beach on the Atlantic Ocean in southern Brooklyn, New York, United States. The site was formerly an outer barrier island, but became partially connected to the mainland by landfill....

, dear, let's go",

Then Nelly started to fret and pout,

And to him, I heard her shout:

style="text-align: left; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;">
Take me out to the ball game,

Take me out with the crowd;

Buy me some peanut
The peanut, or groundnut , is a species in the legume or "bean" family , so it is not a nut. The peanut was probably first cultivated in the valleys of Peru. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing tall...

s and Cracker Jack
Cracker Jack
Cracker Jack is a U.S. brand of snack consisting of strong molasses flavored candy-coated popcorn and peanuts, well known for being packaged with a prize of nominal value inside. Some food historians consider it the first junk food...


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
Umpire (baseball)
In baseball, the umpire is the person charged with officiating the game, including beginning and ending the game, enforcing the rules of the game and the grounds, making judgment calls on plays, and handling the disciplinary actions. The term is often shortened to the colloquial form ump...

 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:

Nelly Kelly was sure some fan,

She would root just like any man,

Told the umpire
Umpire (baseball)
In baseball, the umpire is the person charged with officiating the game, including beginning and ending the game, enforcing the rules of the game and the grounds, making judgment calls on plays, and handling the disciplinary actions. The term is often shortened to the colloquial form ump...

 he was wrong,

All along,

Good and strong.

When the score was just two to two,

Nelly Kelly knew what to do,

Just to cheer up the boys she knew,

She made the gang sing this song:

[repeat Chorus]

1 The term "sou
Solidus (coin)
The solidus was originally a gold coin issued by the Romans, and a weight measure for gold more generally, corresponding to 4.5 grams.-Roman and Byzantine coinage:...

", now obscure, was at the time common slang
Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

 for a low-denomination coin. In French the expression 'sans le sou' means penniless. Carly Simon
Carly Simon
Carly Elisabeth Simon is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and children's author. She rose to fame in the 1970s with a string of hit records, and has since been the recipient of two Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and a Golden Globe Award for her work...

's version, produced for Ken Burns
Ken Burns
Kenneth Lauren "Ken" Burns is an American director and producer of documentary films, known for his style of using archival footage and photographs...

' 1994 documentary Baseball, reads "Ev'ry cent / Katie spent".

Recordings of the song

The song (or at least its chorus) has been recorded or cited countless times in the 100 years since it was written. The original music and 1908 lyrics of the song are now in the public domain
Public domain
Works are in the public domain if the intellectual property rights have expired, if the intellectual property rights are forfeited, or if they are not covered by intellectual property rights at all...

 in the United States (worldwide copyright remains until 70 years after the composers' deaths), but the copyright to the revised 1927 lyrics remains in effect. It has been used as an instrumental underscore or introduction to many films or skits having to do with baseball.

The first verse of the 1927 version is sung by Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly
Eugene Curran "Gene" Kelly was an American dancer, actor, singer, film director and producer, and choreographer...

 and Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

 at the start of the MGM
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of films and television programs. MGM was founded in 1924 when the entertainment entrepreneur Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer...

 musical film
Musical film
The musical film is a film genre in which songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative, sometimes accompanied by dancing. The songs usually advance the plot or develop the film's characters, though in some cases they serve merely as breaks in the storyline, often as elaborate...

, Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Take Me Out to the Ball Game (film)
Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a 1949 Technicolor musical film starring Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams, and Gene Kelly. The movie was directed by Busby Berkeley. The title and nominal theme is taken from the unofficial anthem of American baseball, "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.

In the mid-1990s, a Major League Baseball ad campaign featured versions of the song performed by musicians of several different genres. An alternative rock
Alternative rock
Alternative rock is a genre of rock music and a term used to describe a diverse musical movement that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular by the 1990s...

 version by the Goo Goo Dolls
Goo Goo Dolls
The Goo Goo Dolls are a Grammy-nominated American rock band formed in 1986 in Buffalo, New York, by vocalist and guitarist John Rzeznik and vocalist and bass guitarist Robby Takac. Since the end of 1994, Mike Malinin has been the band's drummer, a position previously held by George Tutuska...

 was also recorded.

Stories about the song

In the 1935 Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
The Marx Brothers were an American family comedy act, originally from New York City, that enjoyed success in Vaudeville, Broadway, and motion pictures from the early 1900s to around 1950...

' film "A Night at the Opera
A Night at the Opera (film)
A Night at the Opera is a 1935 American comedy film starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx, and featuring Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Margaret Dumont, Sig Ruman, and Walter Woolf King. It was the first film the Marx Brothers made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after their departure from...

", 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 1988, for the 80th anniversary of the song and the 100th anniversary of the poem Casey at the Bat
Casey at the Bat
"Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888" is a baseball poem written in 1888 by Ernest Thayer. First published in The San Francisco Examiner on June 3, 1888, it was later popularized by DeWolf Hopper in many vaudeville performances.The poem was originally published...

, Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

 writer Frank Deford
Frank Deford
Benjamin "Frank" Deford, III is a senior contributing writer for Sports Illustrated, author, and commentator for National Public Radio and correspondent for Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO....

 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 2006, Jim Burke
Jim Burke (illustrator)
Jim Burke is an American illustrator who was born in Manchester, New Hampshire.Burke received his BFA from Syracuse University. In addition to his publishing work, he has created many personal paintings, including "Cast Shadows of Florence" which has been accepted into London's Royal Academy of...

 authored and illustrated a children's book version of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame".

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
Harry Caray
Harry Caray, born Harry Christopher Carabina, was an American baseball broadcaster on radio and television. He covered four Major League Baseball teams, beginning with a long tenure calling the games of the St...



  • Original lyric, sung by Edward Meeker, recorded in 1908 on a phonograph cylinder
    Phonograph cylinder
    Phonograph cylinders were the earliest commercial medium for recording and reproducing sound. Commonly known simply as "records" in their era of greatest popularity , these cylinder shaped objects had an audio recording engraved on the outside surface which could be reproduced when the cylinder was...

  • Lyrics to 1927 version

External links

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