Monday’s Music Moves Me: PLAY BALL!

Image by stanbalik from Pixabay

This month’s guest conductor, Alana, wants songs that are either played at sporting events or are about sports. Naturally, the ones I think of are primarily baseball, and nearly all of them are from Chicago. So if you’re quite ready…

  1. Wayne Messmer, “The Star-Spangled Banner”: Wayne is from Chicago and sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” at many sports related events. If my memory is correct, he was also the field announcer at Wrigley Field for a couple of seasons. This is prior to a game between the Cubs and Phillies.
  2. John Fogerty, “Centerfield”: Title song from his mid-’80’s solo album. I think there’s a major-league rule that teams have to play this during infield warmups at the beginning of the game.
  3. “It’s A Beautiful Day For A Ballgame”: WGN used to play this at the start of Cubs baseball telecasts, and that’s where I heard it. I think before “Centerfield” the league rule was to play this during infield warmups.
  4. Timothy Miller, “God Bless America”: It was an Atlanta tradition since 1966 to sing “God Bless America” during the 7th-inning stretch on Sunday Braves games in addition to “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” After 9/11 all the other teams in MLB started doing it. Timothy Miller, a tenor with the Atlanta Opera who’s also a voice teacher and a huge sports fan, sings “God Bless America” on Sundays at Truist Park in Atlanta and at other athletic events around Atlanta. He’s fantastic. Sometimes he’s the best reason to go to a Sunday Braves game.
  5. Harry Caray and Nancy Faust, “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”: Cubs fans tend to forget that, before Harry Caray brought his act to Wrigley Field, he spent eleven years as the TV and radio voice of the crosstown White Sox. He started the practice of leading fans in “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” on the South Side, and was accompanied by the lovely Nancy Faust on the organ. Nancy started as the Sox organist in 1970 and retired in 2010, and during her last season was honored with a bobblehead…
  6. Captain Stubby & The Buccaneers, “Let’s Go, Go-Go White Sox”: Captain Stubby was a kids’ show host on Chicago TV during the ’50’s and wrote and performed this in 1959, when the White Sox went to the World Series (and lost four games to two to the recently-transplanted Los Angeles Dodgers). Interest in the song picked up again in 2005, when the Sox swept the Houston Astros and won the World Series.
  7. “Hey Hey, Holy Mackerel”: This was written in 1969 when the Cubs made a run at the World Series (and fell apart like a cheap suit in September, much to the delight of White Sox fans, who were having a real crappy year on the South Side anyway).
  8. Eddie Blazonczyk, “Bear Down Polka”: Switching from baseball to football, the Chicago Bears had an incredible season in 1985-86 and played the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX, winning 46-10. The whole city went crazy about this, and local polka king Eddie Blazonczyk and his band did a polka version of the Bears’ fight song, “Bear Down, Chicago Bears.”
  9. “Here Come The Hawks”: Not to be outdone by the Cubs, the Chicago Blackhawks had a fight song written in 1969, when the Hawks had a pretty incredible team, with names such as Bobby and Dennis Hull, Stan Mikita, Pit Martin, Keith Magnuson, and “Tony Zero” Esposito (who had an incredible number of shutouts as goaltender, thus the nickname “Tony Zero”).
  10. Notre Dame Fight Song: Many Chicagoans (and people all over the Midwest, indeed across the country) think of The “Fighting Irish” of the University of Notre Dame (pronounced “noter dame,” unlike the French cathedral) as a sort of home team, especially when the local teams are doing poorly.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for July 6, 2020.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Cathy, Alana, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

18 thoughts on “Monday’s Music Moves Me: PLAY BALL!

  1. Oh, John, I got such a charge out of oldish songs. I was a Mets fan in my childhood/teen years (around 1961-1973) and I think our theme “Meet the Mets” (go to Songbird’s post) was written by the same people as some of these others. Harry Caray was one of the broadcasting greats. John Fogerty’s Centerfield is one of the greatest baseball songs of all time. I heard it recently performed by him with his grown children as the “band”. Finally, the Notre Dame fight song – I have to give a confession here. My junior high’s school spirit song was to the tune of this song and we students put our own lyrics to it. Can’t repeat them here or anywhere, but when I heard those opening bars I just burst out laughing (sorry).

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  2. John,

    “Take Me To The Ballgame” was a favorite for us to sing as kids. I loved watching baseball when I was younger but not so much as an adult. The sport is still endearing to my heart and I’m happy that it’s one of America’s favorite pastimes. Thanks for sharing some excellent songs that shows the spirit of the sport. Have a boogitetastic week, my friend!

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  3. Nice list. We used to be able to watch the Cubs when we got WGN as one of our cable stations. Loved watching Cubs games and listening to Harry Caray. Having that station meant that we could also see more Pirates games too.

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    1. Many years ago, I was in Chicago when the Braves were playing, and decided to watch Harry when the Cubs were at bat and Skip (Harry’s son) on TBS when the Braves were. I remember the camera panned to where Skip was sitting in the Braves’ booth, and Chip (Skip’s son) sitting behind him (he was just starting as a baseball announcer. Harry said “There’s my son and my grandson,” and you could just tell how proud he was. I’ll never forget that. The three of them got together on a broadcast on another occasion, which was some kind of a record.

      I always felt badly for Chip: he signed a contract with WGN just before Harry died. He wanted to work with his grandfather and was finally getting his chance. As they say, man plans and God laughs…

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  4. Nice playlist, as always. I didn’t follow baseball that much, but Dad would often have a Cubs game on in the background. Or, if the game preempted my usual kids’ shows, I’d leave the game on.

    Somehow I ended up with a copy of the “Cub Power” album: https://www.discogs.com/The-Chicago-Cubs-And-The-Fabulous-Bleacher-Bums-Cub-Power/release/2711327, which had Hey Hey, Holy Mackerel on it. Amusingly, I knew “Pennant Feeling” long before I heard “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” … at first I wondered who was ripping off whom. 🙂

    It’s fun to read the names I used to hear all the time as a kid, while mostly ignoring the sports report on the news. 🙂

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    1. I think I told you that I think I’m on that “Cub Power” album. A friend of mine and I decided to go sit in the left-field bleachers one day, and they were recording the fan noise out there for the album. He bought the album and said he could hear me really well. Kind of a weird feeling when you hear yourself like that.

      One of my favorite pastimes is to go out to Baseball-Reference.com and read the box scores of games I remember. The names remind me of nights spent in bed with my radio turned down so Mom couldn’t hear it, listening to the Sox play the Angels or the A’s, with Bob Elson and Red Rush calling the game…

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  5. Great choices, especially Fogerty’s Centerfield. My hubby is thrilled baseball will be starting soon.

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