“Take Me Out to the Ball Game”


The unofficial anthem of North American baseball was written in 1908 by lyricist Jack Norworth and composer Albert Von Tilzer, neither of whom had ever seen a professional baseball game before penning it.

The simple and straightforward ditty that fans sing at games today is actually the chorus of a two-verse lyric. Not many people realize that the song is about a girl named Katie Casey, who was “mad with baseball fever” as she told her young beau that rather than go to a show, she wanted him to take her to a ballgame.

For decades a quintessential part of the ballpark experience, fans enjoy singing and swaying to the waltz-like rhythm when it’s played during the seventh inning stretch. Researchers think the song made its major-league park debut in 1934 after being played for the first known time earlier that year at a Los Angeles high-school game. Harry Caray, the late Hall of Fame broadcaster, first sang the song during a professional game in 1971.

Jack Norworth wrote over 2,500 songs, including “Shine On, Harvest Moon” and several other baseball songs, but none more famous than “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” It has been acknowledged as the third most-performed song in America in a typical year, behind only “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Happy Birthday to You.”

Famed journalist and radio broadcaster Walter Winchell stated that the song captures the very essence of America’s Pastime, where the ball park becomes an “island of innocent excitement in a world of wild despair.” ♦


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