Take Me Out to the Ball Game

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"Take Me Out to the Ball Game"
3077 take me out to the ball game LOC.jpg
Song by Edward Meeker
GenreTin Pan Alley
Composer(s)Albert Von Tilzer
Lyricist(s)Jack Norworth

"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.[1][2] 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 not to a show, but to a baseball game. The words were set to music by Albert Von Tilzer and registered with the U.S. Copyright Office on May 2, 1908.[2] (Norworth and Von Tilzer finally saw their first Major League Baseball games 32[3] and 20[citation needed] 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.[4]

Norworth wrote an alternative version of the song in 1927. (Norworth and Bayes were famous for writing and performing such hits as "Shine On, Harvest Moon".)[5][6] 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 singing group, led by popular tenor Harry MacDonough, recorded a successful version on Victor Records.[7]

The most famous recording of the song was credited to "Billy Murray and the Haydn Quartet", even though Murray did not sing on it.[8] The confusion, nonetheless, is so pervasive that, when "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America as one of the 365 top "Songs of the Century", the song was credited to Billy Murray, implying his recording of it as having received the most votes among songs from the first decade.[9] The first recorded version was by Edward Meeker. Meeker's recording was selected by the Library of Congress as a 2010 addition to the National Recording Registry, which selects recordings annually that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[10]

Norworth's original lyrics, written on an envelope and complete with annotations, are on display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.[2]


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,
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:"


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,
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:

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's 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.[11]


The song (or at least its chorus) has been recorded or cited countless times in the 113 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 MGM musical 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.

Bing Crosby included the song in a medley on his album Join Bing and Sing Along (1959).

A Kidsongs version was seen in "A Day at Old MacDonald's Farm" with the kids playing baseball plus footage from the 1984 World Series.

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 version by the Goo Goo Dolls was also recorded.[12] Multiple genre Louisiana singer-songwriter Dr. John and pop singer Carly Simon both recorded different versions of the song for the PBS documentary series Baseball by Ken Burns.[13]

In 2001, Nike aired a commercial featuring a diverse group of Major League Baseball players singing lines of the song in their native languages and accents. The players and languages featured were Ken Griffey Jr. (American English), Alex Rodriguez (Dominican Spanish), Chan Ho Park (Korean), Kazuhiro Sasaki (Japanese), Graeme Lloyd (Australian English), Éric Gagné (Québécois French), Andruw Jones (Dutch), John Franco (Italian), Iván Rodríguez (Puerto Rican Spanish), and Mark McGwire (American English).[14]

In 2008, Billy Joel covered the song in his Last Play at Shea concert at Shea Stadium.

In popular culture[edit]

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.
  • The April 23, 1950, broadcast of The Ed Sullivan Show featured the DeMarco Sisters singing a swing version with alternate lyrics.
  • A 1954 version by Stuart McKay[15] 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.[16]
  • In 2006, Jim Burke authored and illustrated a children's book version of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame".
  • In 2006, Gatorade used an instrumental version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in a commercial over video highlights of the United States Men's National Soccer Team in the lead-up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, closing with the tagline "It's a whole new 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.[17]
  • The NHL used the song to promote the 2009 NHL Winter Classic between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings taking place at Wrigley Field on New Year's Day, 2009. It was the first Winter Classic to take place in a baseball stadium.
  • In the series Homeland Nicholas Brody teaches the song to Isa Nazir to help him learn English.
  • From March 13, 2015, the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was adopted as the departure melody for trains on the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line at Kōrakuen Station in Tokyo, Japan.[18] Baseball is popular in Japan, and Korakuen Station is one of the closest stations to the Tokyo Dome baseball stadium.[19]
  • Instrumental parts of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" can be heard in the background music for Joe E. Brown's 1932 movie Fireman, Save My Child.
  • In 1985, it was featured in Kidsongs "A Day at Old MacDonald's Farm", which shows the kids playing baseball. Also, Kirk Gibson of the Detroit Tigers is seen hitting a home run during the 1984 World Series.
  • It was sung on two early episodes of Barney & Friends.
  • 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.
  • One of the Good Luck Charlie episodes was named "Take Mel Out to the Ball Game".
  • On August 9, 2010, the San Francisco Giants hosted a Jerry Garcia tribute night, in which an ensemble of an estimated 9,000 kazooists played Take Me Out to the Ball Game.
  • The episode of Sam & Cat entitled "#MagicATM" featured the chorus, but with modified and nonsensical lyrics that start with "Take me down to the basement, fill the buckets with cheese."
  • In October 2016, Bill Murray impersonated Daffy Duck as he gave his rendition of the chorus of 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' while at game 3 of the World Series, which was held at Wrigley Field.[20]
  • The song was referenced in the title of the baseball themed Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Take Me Out to the Holosuite".
  • 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.
  • An instrumental of this song plays in ballgame scenes in The Loud House Season 5 episode "Cow Pie Kid".
  • In October 2019 "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" began with an ersatz news broadcast concerning President Donald Trump being booed while attending a New York Yankees game. The segment ended with the fans singing "Take Him Out Of The Office" to the tune of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game."

Recognition and awards[edit]


  1. ^ "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". Performing Arts Encyclopedia. Library of Congress. Retrieved July 17, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Laymon, Anna (October 10, 2019). "The Feminist History of 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game'". Smithsonian.com. Smithsonian magazine. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  3. ^ Anton, Mike (July 12, 2010). "They're still belting out his 102-year-old hit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  4. ^ Thompson, Robert (2008). Baseball's Greatest Hit: The Story of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 63.
  5. ^ "Jack Norworth & Take Me Out to the Ball Game". Laguna Beach Historical Society. Archived from the original on February 4, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2008.
  6. ^ "Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth: Together and Alone". Archeophone Records. Retrieved July 17, 2008.
  7. ^ Newman, Mark. "Take Me Out to the Ball Game: Song History". Major League Baseball. Retrieved July 17, 2008.
  8. ^ Druckenbrod, Andrew (June 23, 2008). "Name this tune: You sing 'Take Me Out,' it's 100 years old". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved July 17, 2008.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 20, 2010. Retrieved October 24, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "The National Recording Registry 2010". Library of Congress. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
  11. ^ Graziano, Frankie. "'Nut-Free' Yard Goats Singing A New Tune". www.wnpr.org. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  12. ^ "Diamond Ditty turns 100". The Oregonian. June 20, 2008.
  13. ^ "Film Credits Baseball Inning 8: A Whole New Ballgame". PBS. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
  14. ^ Nike, Inc. (2001). Take Me Out to the Ballgame (Bee-yooo-tiful).
  15. ^ Peter Tschirky (February 10, 2012). "Stuart McKay – Take Me Out To The Ball Game – 1954 – Basson Fagott". Retrieved July 6, 2018 – via YouTube.
  16. ^ Alan Katz and David Catrow, "Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs", ISBN 0689829035
  17. ^ Casey at the Bat, poem by Ernest L. Thayer, a setting for concert band and narrator by Randol Alan Bass. Alfred Publishing Co., Inc., 2008
  18. ^ 南北線の発車メロディをリニューアル!各駅に新しい発車メロディを導入します [Namboku Line departure melodies updated! New melodies to be introduced at each station] (PDF). News release (in Japanese). Japan: Tokyo Metro. March 2, 2015. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  19. ^ "アクセス(Tourists Special Site)". Tokyo-dome.co.jp. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  20. ^ "Bill Murray perfectly sings 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' as Daffy Duck at World Series". Ftw.usatoday.com. October 29, 2016. Retrieved July 6, 2018.

External links[edit]