Why do people sing “Take me out to the ballgame” when they are already there? The song is marking its 100th anniversary this year…time to find out!
Here’s a bit of trivia for you. Did you realize that what you are singing when you sing the traditional ball game song is only the refrain? The full song is about a young woman. The two verses tell the story of baseball-mad Katie Casey, who’s love invites her to the threater. She declines saying, “No, I’ll tell you what you can do: Take me out to the ball game!” And so the song goes. In verse 2 she yells at the umpire.
The story in the song is actually quite interesting – there’s a lot to it.
Another surprise is that the song became a hit long before it was tied to baseball games. It was written in 1908 and was originally sung during reel changes in movie theaters to promote sales of the sheet music. Americans were singing “Take me out to the Ballgame” in movie theaters years and years before they were singing it in ballparks.
The history of the song is also intertwined with the history of the seventh inning stretch – the time of the game when the song is traditionally sung at major league ball stadiums. This tradition didn’t reach its height until the mid 1970s when the White Sox’s announcer Harry Caray began singing it at Comiskey Park in Chicago. Then Caray moved over to the Cubs and the national ritual was cemented. It was Harry Caray who established and then cemented the well-loved ritual.