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Take Me Out to the Ballgame

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The song Take Me Out to the Ballgame was written by Jack Norworth and composed by Albert Von Tilzer in 1908 and revised in 1927. It was published by the York Music Company on May 2, 1908. The chorus of this song is traditionally sung during the seventh inning stretch at baseball games. Harry Caray was famous for leading Chicago Cubs fans in the singing of this song. Bill Veeck is credited with asking Caray to sing this song while with the Chicago White Sox.

Jack Norworth claimed, 50 years after the fact, that the song was inspired by an ad for a baseball game which he saw while riding the subway. However, there is no evidence that there were such ads in the New York subway at the time. There were similar ads in the New York Clipper, a newspaper widely read among the artistic community; the April 25 issue of the Clipper included both an ad for a four-game series played by the New York Giants and one for Cracker Jack in its pages and may well have triggered Norworth's creative juices. He was not a baseball fan at the time the classic song was written, and neither was Von Tilzer, but the song touched a deep fiber among fans and is one of the best known and most played songs in the American songbook. The original version by Norworth has a character named Katie Casey rather than Nelly Kelly.


Nelly Kelly love baseball games,
Knew the players, knew all their names,
You could see her there ev'ry day,
Shout "Hurray," when they'd play.
Her boy friend by the name of Joe
Said, "To Coney Isle, dear, let's go,"
Then Nelly started to fret and pout,
And to him I heard her shout.

"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."

Nelly Kelly was sure some fan,
She would root just like any man,
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along, good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Nelly Kelly knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song.

"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."

[edit] Further Reading

  • Timothy A. Johnson: "I Never Get Back: How 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' Succeeds in Celebrating Failure", in The National Pastime, SABR, Volume 28, 2008, pp. 138-143.
  • Steven A. King: "What Inspired 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame'?", The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 38, Nr. 2 (Fall 2009), pp. 57-58.
  • Amy Whorf McGuiggan: Take Me Out to the Ball Game: The Story of the Sensational Baseball Song, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2009.
  • Edward R. Ward: "Nelly Kelly's Waltz", in The National Pastime, SABR, Number 20 (2000), p. 69.
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