Monday, August 6, 2018

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME! by ARLETTA DAWDY


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,
to cheer up the boys she knew,
                                              She made the gang sing this song            

This delightful song of romance and baseball dates to 1908 and has its origins in a train ride, poster board and the work of lyricist Jack Norworth and the musical score of Albert Von Tilzer. Though neither man saw a baseball game until decades later, the song soon became a hit in Tin Pan Alley and at baseball stadiums all over the county and eventually the whole world of baseball.

Image result for jack norworth take me out to the ballgame
Google Images
Many recordings have been made as well as movies featuring the song. A 1927 version (not in the public domain as is the original) was sung by Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra in the movie of the same name.  Years later, Carly Simon sang it for the Ken Burns PBS documentary Baseball. Perhaps the most unusual use was a 2001 Nike ad featuring Major League ball players singing in their native languages.

            In Bisbee, Arizona, a small town baseball park was erected in 1909 and still stands today. The Warren Ball Park is one of the oldest in the United States and may well be the oldest. The park was constructed by the Calumet and Arizona Mining Company for use by their mining families. When merged with Phelps Dodge, maintenance and use continued until the Bisbee community took responsibility after the demise of Phelps Dodge.



            In its long history as a professional park Warren was used most disgracefully on July 12, 1917 when 2000 striking miners under orders from Phelps Dodge managers, the local sheriff and the Arizona governor were rounded up and detained in the park. Seven hundred denied the IWW and pledged to return to work with catcalls and boos sending them off. Thirteen hundred men were transported to the New Mexican desert in boxcars and left without sanitation, water or food for twenty-four hours. The Deportation of 1917 included the Wobblies attorney and some Bisbee businessmen. Accused of nefarious activities, including non-citizenship, many were actual home owners and citizens.

Detainees in Warren Ballpark July 12, 1917    Google Images

           The Wilson Presidential Commission in October of 1917 found that the deportation was wholly illegal under state and federal law. No criminal proceedings were mounted against the powers that had caused the action. At the 100th anniversary, the Bisbee community commemorated the tragic event in the summer of 2017.

Hall of Famers who played the park  include: John McGraw, Connie Mack and Honus Wagner. National teams that played exhibition games in the 1910’s-1940’s were the New York Giants, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburg Pirates and Cleveland Indians.

The Chicago White Sox played there and included members of the 1919 Black Sox scandal . Eight White Sox men were accused of throwing the World Series in favor of the Cincinnati Reds and accepted payment from a gambling syndicate.

            Though acquitted in a 1921public trial, the eight were banned from baseball and forbidden any post-career tributes. The first Baseball Commissioner was appointed with complete control over the game; he had the unusual name of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis!


Image result for judge kenesaw mountain landis quotes
Google Images

            On a lighter note, Nora Bayes, Jack Norworth’s then wife and vaudeville star, was the first to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The couple went on to write other collaborative pieces including “Shine on Harvest Moon.”  The baseball song was echoed by fans for many years during the “seventh inning stretch.” Heard less often now, the song sounds out in the Tokyo train station herding fans to their games!


Image result for Nora Bayes
Google Images






6 comments:

  1. Interesting post, Arletta. All new facts to me. Thanks.

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  2. Thanks for checking in, Caroline. The Warren Ball Park is on the National Registry of Historical Sites under the banner of the Bisbee Historical District.ad

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  3. I had never heard of the Warren Ball Park or the Deportation of 1917. What a shameful example of big business bullying their workers! The song, on the other hand, is a nostalgic memory of the good old days.

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  4. Lyn, I'm so glad you stopped by and learned about these pieces of Bisbee history. I hope to share more in future blogs for there are many amazing stories.

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  5. Wonderful blog. The songs history is most interesting. That they would treat union miners that way doesn't surprise. They did something similar in the 1903-04 Labor Strike in Cripple Creek. Doris

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  6. Hi Doris, Glad you liked the blog and, yes, Colorado has many mine stories to share. Will you do it in a blog entry? I started out thinking I'd write about county fairs when this tale erupted!

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