It’s the third most sung tune in America – performed every single day of the year in one place or another. But you know it best as the song that’s sung after the 39th out is recorded – the song that proclaims where we want to go, even though we sing it when we’re already there – Take Me Out to the Ballgame.
It’s a song that is so intertwined in the current game that it’s easy to think there’s a simple story behind how it got to be so big.
And that is anything but the truth – and that is where the new book Baseball’s Greatest Hit by Andy Strasberg, Bob Thompson and Tim Wiles comes in.
Baseball’s Greatest Hit does a wonderful job explaining how the song came to be, chronicling it’s suspect origins, the battle to stand out from the over 1,000 other baseball songs that have come out, and even a movement to create a new baseball song – organized by none other than Major League Baseball. It all makes for quite an interesting journey for this song that has become a staple of Americana.
Not only is it a wonderful explanation of the history of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” but it’s also a wonderful resource about the correlation between music and baseball. The rhythm of music and the rhythm of baseball go hand in hand – and the roster of songs that is included in the book is clear proof of that, even if you haven’t heard of most of them.
At times, the short chapters in the book make it feel a bit disjointed — as my one critique of the book would be not taking the reader on enough of a structured storyline of how the song came to such prominence. While it’s not a critical fault, it’s something that I wish could be revisited.
But that’s not to fault the authors. Tim Wiles works for the Baseball Hall of Fame, overseeing all the artifacts that the museum has ownership. Bob Thompson is the founder of the Baseball Music Project, which you may have seen in your town, and Andy Strasberg has worked for the San Diego Padres and is a well respected marketing executive around baseball.
They know what they are talking about and have a wealth of information to draw from. They do a great job dissecting the story of the song and presenting in bite size pieces that will ultimately give you a tremendous appreciation for and wealth of knowledge about this staple song of baseball.
As much as Take Me Out to the Ballgame is a fixture of baseball – so should Baseball’s Greatest Hit be a fixture on your bookshelf. Throw in a bonus CD with several different versions of the song being performed – and you’ve got a winner.