Clair: How walk-up songs went from organ tunes to a cultural baseball sensation

From SABR member Michael Clair at MLB’s Cut4 on July 10, 2019:

Ask any fan under 30, and they’ll probably be able to tell you who their favorite player is, what number he wears and what song plays as he walks to the plate. But that wasn’t always the case, because for most of baseball history, walk-up songs didn’t exist at all.

While walk-up music is a recent innovation, music and baseball have gone hand-in-hand since the start of the professional game. Read any history of the Red Sox and Pirates squaring off in the first World Series in 1903 and you can’t avoid reading about Boston’s Royal Rooters belting songs like “Tessie” from the stands.

Some teams hired pep bands, and in 1941, the first organ made its appearance at Wrigley Field.

But that was it for about 30 years. Organists played a mix of the national anthem, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” the classic “Charge!” and a collection of organ standards to entertain fans between innings.

It remained that way … until Nancy Faust joined the White Sox in 1970.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: July 11, 2019. Last Updated: July 11, 2019.