In our offices the debate about great baseball music is a never-ending circle of laughter, dancing and out-of-tune sing-alongs. We decided to share some of our favorites with you. A joint collaboration between two of our all-star picks, Pasi and Sam give you the music and it’s ties to the game.
1. We’re talkin’ softball by The Simpsons
It’s hard to exclude this wonderful piece from the best Simpsons episode ever, Homer at the Bat, Season 3, Episode 17. This song is a parody of Terry Cashman’s song “Willie, Mickey, and the Duke” - another great baseball song. Cahman thought so much of it that he performed the song himself for the episode credits. The episode features the voices all of the big leaguers referenced in the song in a Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team matchup.
Lyrics to Talkin' Softball
Well Mr. Burns had done it,
The power plant had won it,
With Roger Clemens clucking all the while,
Mike Scioscia's tragic illness made us smile,
While Wade Boggs lay unconscious on the barroom tile...
We're talkin' softball...
From Maine to San Diego.
Mattingly and Canseco.
Ken Griffey's grotesquely swollen jaw.
Steve Sax and his run-in with the law.
We're talkin' Homer... Ozzie and the Straw.
2. The first ball Game by Nat King Cole
Found on Nat King Cole’s album of spirituals Every Time I Feel The Spirit. The studio album, originally released in 1959 did not include this song. It was Capitol Record’s reissue in 1966, under the name Nat King Cole Sings Hymns and Spirituals, which had several bonus tracks, where you’ll find the game between Eve and Adam with Solomon at ump. David and Goliath were on hand as well as Cain and Abel. Noah was watching the forecast for rain with St. Pete taking tickets at the gate. As Vin Scully tells it, Cole was known to be a huge Dodgers fan who would sacrifice pretty much everything for his team.
3. Right Field by Peter, Paul, and Mary (1993)
Peter, Paul and Mary’s Right Field is an ode to all the kids who got picked last. A great reminder that it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you dream big.
Released on the 1993 children’s album Peter, Paul & Mommy Too, A book by Willy Welch, illustrated by Marc Simont under the same title was released in 1995. Based on the description it was, no doubt, inspired by this wonderful, self-fulfilling tune only a group as classic as Peter, Paul and Mary could pull off.
4. Batter Up by Nelly (2001)
Nelly’s 2001 bonus track off Free City, Batter Up features the music and star of the 70’s sitcom The Jeffersons. The show, which took place in Manhattan, was the first to have an interracial marriage on television in the States. The song was released on 9/11/01.
5. Baseball Baseball by Jane Morgan (With George Barnes Quintet) (1954)
This jazzy ditty could perhaps be the first ode to the sports widow ever to be penned. Don’t worry ladies. In true femme fatale fashion she gets her sweet revenge in a way only a gal from the 50’s could pull off.
6. A Baseball Song (Third was the Fence) by Michael J Hays (2010)
Songwriter Hays grew up in Baltimore. The song recounts his youth playing baseball and what happened when they all come of age. Fear not men, just like any great gang of pals these boys still toss around the yard with the minds of 8 year olds in the bodies of men. Musically speaking, this is a delightful song. The beginning dialogue, which is a throwback to the Red Sovine, could have been left out and the effect would have been stronger so we recommend skipping right to the good stuff about 2 minutes in. It is nare a voice that can pull off what some of the great talkers of Sovine’s time were able to do in music.
7. Say Hey by The Treniers featuring Willie Mayes (1954)
Jump Blues are a genre long since past that should never be forgotten. Twins Cliff and Claude Trenier teamed up with the Say Hey Kid himself for this 1954 dedication.
8. The Umpire by Arthur Shimkin (1952)
This 1952 tune comes to you from Arthur Shimkin. In ’48 he created Little Golden Records label, the first record company devoted exclusively to publishing children’s records. From day one he was in with the “in crowd” getting greats like Bing Crosby, Mr. Rogers, Jimmy Durante and Alfred Hitchcock to participate in his adventures for kids.
A Brookyln Dodgers fan who converted to the Yankees following the move, Shimkin brought four of his all-time favorite players in on this recording, New York Yankees Phil Rizzuto, Tommy Henrich and Brooklyn Dodger Ralph Branca and Roy Campanella. To learn more about Shimkin you can read his son’s loving dedication.
9. "Bad Umpire" ft. CJ Beatty (2017)
From 2009-2015 Beatty played minor league ball in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system. Now he’s putting that experience into his new career as life coach using comedy and music. Bad Umpire comes off Beatty’s album Baseball Motivation, named, no doubt, as an dedication to his old life and a nod to his new career. Now a motivational speaker he talks about leadership, teamwork and mental toughness tapered with creating faith.
10) Cheap Seats – Alabama (1994)
If you followed minor league baseball in the 90s you no doubt heard Cheap Seats being bellowed along to by beer-bellied fans and front office personnel alike. Alabama’s title track off the album of the same name topped the charts and forever won a spot in the hearts of music and baseball fans everywhere in the summer of ’94. Released just in time for season, this April rookie was an old-timer by September that year.
Winner of the “so bad its good” title today goes to the Phillies 1970s disco-themed team song Phillies Fever. Give it a listen, go ahead. Time yourself and see how long it is before you’re breaking out the Saturday Night Fever moves. We couldn’t make it to a minute around here.