Best and Worst 7th-Inning Stretch Appearances at Wrigley Field

Eli GreenspanSenior Analyst IMay 24, 2012

Best and Worst 7th-Inning Stretch Appearances at Wrigley Field

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    Singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch is a tradition pushing 35 years. Coined by broadcaster Harry Caray, it has become a tradition unlike any other in baseball.

    Today, celebrities don a Chicago Cubs jersey and take their best jab at it, sometimes stumbling and mumbling, and other times landing in immortality.

    Either way, the Cubs cameramen have it down to a science. They start by filming the girls, then they move to a few couples, then pan to the little old lady with the white buzz cut behind the first-base dugout, then to the kid on dad's shoulders, and finally, back to the broadcast booth ending on Harry Caray's face.

    The cameramen have a way of capturing the atmosphere in the stadium for the fans watching at home. 

    Let's take a look at who has flopped and found success as a stretch singer at Wrigley Field. 

Bottom 5: Mike Ditka

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    Ditka!

    At least he knew he did a bad job when it was over. He lost the tune early, and it was all downhill from there.

    Not to worry, Ditka has not lost a step in Chicago sports fans' hearts. 

4. Mr. T

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    Mr. T was really jacked up for this performance, and it showed in his American-flag-themed sweat pants. Sometimes, it really isn't about how the celebrity will do as much as the show he or she will put on.

    This is certainly the case here.  

3. Denise Richards...

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    OK, she is definitely reading off a piece of paper. The least you can do is learn the song if they ask you to sing it. 

    Anyway, this was great to watch Denise Richards knowingly stumble through one of the easiest songs to sing along to. She hasn't been asked to redeem her poor performance. 

2. Jeff Gordon

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    First off, Wrigley Stadium?

    I'm pretty sure Jeff Gordon's people had all footage of this removed from the Internet. I remember Jeff Gordon not even trying to pretend to know the words and moving his arms back and forth just waiting for it to end. 

    It was so bad, he received boos, and the majority of Cubs fans, myself included, lost all interest in NASCAR forever. 

    You can catch a few snippets of Gordon "singing" here

The Worst: Ozzy Osbourne

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    Ozzy Osbourne has certainly seen better days since his debut performance at Wrigley Field.

    Ozzy, sadly, barely knew any of the words, and it was so bad it caught the attention of Kerry Wood from the dugout, who looked stunned by the performance of the Prince of Darkness.

    Ozzy will forever hold the place of the worst seventh-inning stretch performance in the history of celebrity performances.   

Top 5: Eddie Vedder

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    Eddie Vedder is a timeless figure on the Cubs "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" circuit. He has performed five times since 1998 and is a born and raised Cubs fan. 

    I found two renditions, and they are both solid and right in tune with the fans.

    Enjoy this version of a slightly younger, not-so-sober Eddie. 

4. Gary Sinise

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    Gary Sinise is a great Chicago-born actor—Forrest Gump, Ransom, Apollo 13. The list goes on...

    Lt. Dan is also a very knowledgeable Cubs fan who makes regular appearances at games. His passionate rendition earns him a spot on the list.  

3. Ryne Sandberg

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    Ryne Sandberg was never a showboat, but he was a true Cub who was as loyal as any player during his time. He played a major role in the Cubs organization and PR campaign for charity events in the offseason.

    Before joining the Phillies organization as manager of their Triple-A affiliate, Sandberg managed in the Cubs minor league system and had a shot at being the manager, but lost out to now former manager Mike Quade.

    It was probably for the best that Sandberg did not take over, as a lot of changes are underway. 

    Anyway, he effortlessly sings a great rendition of the seventh-inning stretch. 

2. Bill Murray

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    Bill Murray is becoming the resident Cubs celebrity, and arguably, has been for some time. 

    Murray makes several appearances at Wrigley every season and makes each one memorable. This is a sound performance for Murray, who is right in sync with Cubs fans. 

1. Ron Santo

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    It was great when Ron Santo took over for the stretch responsibilities part time when the Cubs did not have someone scheduled or cancelled last minute. 

    He's one of the most popular Cubs of all time from his playing and post-playing days. As Cubs radio commentator, he and Pat Hughes made listening on the radio as enjoyable as watching the game.

    He's a Hall of Famer and member of the elite club of Cubs with their numbers retired. 

Harry Caray

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    There really is no one better than Harry Caray. So sit back, relax and enjoy this vintage clip of the legendary Cubs broadcaster.