2008 marks the 100th anniversary of sport’s most beloved musical arrangement. “Take me out to the ballgame” was written in 1908 by Albert Von Tilzer, who composed the melody, and Jack Norworth, who wrote the words. Norworth, who while riding a subway train, was inspired by a sign that said “Baseball Today — Polo Grounds”.
What most people don’t know is that what we sing during the seventh inning stretch is only the chorus to the tune. The song is actually about a girl who doesn’t want to be wined and dined by her boyfriend, she just want him to take her to a game. So, clearly, the story is pure fiction.
Here are the original lyrics:
Katie Casey was baseball mad, had the fever and had it bad.
Just to root for the home town crew, ev’ry sou, Katie blew. (a sou is like a nickel or a dime)
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:”
Notice that there are two points in the lyric where we usually sing the song incorrectly.
First, it’s “I don’t care if I never get back.” (not “ever” like most folks sing), and secondly, it’s “Cracker Jack“, not “Crackerjacks”. So, next time you’re at a game, sing along loudly and correctly.
Here is a recording of the original version of the song.
For more articles by Benjamin Edwards, visit his site at: Studyofsports.com