The choir led the crowd in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch. At that time, the Twins trailed the Cleveland Indians 2 to 4. But in the eighth inning, after the boys’ performance, the Twins rallied and ended up winning the game 6-4. A coincidence? No, I’m sure the boys are partly responsible. It was a fine demonstration of vocal music’s power to inspire.
|The Troubadours, up on the big screen.|
|Sebastian, on the far right.|
• The song’s lyrics and music were written by two men who had never attended a professional baseball game.
• It ranks behind “Happy Birthday” and “The Star Spangled Banner” as the most easily recognized song in the United States.
• Two verses of the song are about Katie Casey (her name was changed in a later version to Nelly Kelly), a young woman wants her date to take her to a baseball game instead of a show.
• It’s been used more than 1,500 times in TV and movies, including the 1949 musical, Take Me Out to the Ball Game," starring Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams and Gene Kelly.
|This sheet music, published in 1908, is in the Library of Congress holdings.|
My great-grandmother, Islea Graham Riggs, studied piano in Chicago during the time of the World’s Fair and attended several World’s Fair concerts. I don’t know if she or my great-grandfather, G. Oliver Riggs, were baseball fans, or fans of the song, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” In the decade that it was published, she and my great-grandfather were making a living in Crookston as musicians, and Islea’s first cousin, George Frederick "Peaches" Graham, was playing baseball.
Islea and her cousin George both grew up in Aledo, Ill. “Peaches” played seven seasons of professional ball over a span of 11 years. He debuted in 1902 with the Cleveland Blues as a second baseman, and he pitched one game for the Chicago Cubs the following year (it was a loss). He went back to the minor leagues for a time and returned to the pros in 1908 as a utility player for the Boston Doves. In 1911 he was traded first to the Cubs, and then to the Philadelphia Phillies, where he ended his baseball career after the 1912 season.
George’s time in the amateurs included a few years in Minnesota. From 1905-07 he played for the Minneapolis Millers, who at that time held games at Nicollet Park in south Minneapolis (the Millers folded in 1960 with the arrival of the Minnesota Twins). Did G. Oliver and Islea ever make it to a Millers game to see George play? If they did, they didn’t make note of it in the family scrapbook.
|This is a photo of "Peaches" Graham from a 1911 Boston Rustlers baseball card.|