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How Big a Baseball Fan Was the Man Who Wrote "Take Me out to the Ballgame"?

Jack Norworth, who wrote the lyrics for "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in 1908, had not attended a single baseball game prior to writing the song.

Norworth was inspired to write the song after seeing a billboard for a baseball game at the Polo Grounds while riding the New York subway. He later worked with his friend and composer, Albert Von Tilzer, to set the lyrics to music. The original song describes Kelly only accepting a date if the man took her to a baseball game.

The song was popularized by vaudeville singers, but wasn't played during baseball games until 1934 at a high school game in Los Angeles and at a Major League game later that year. Norworth finally went to his first baseball game in 1940, and didn't hear his song at a baseball game until 1958 for the song's 50th anniversary.

More about Jack Norworth:

  • Norworth was born Jack Godfrey Knauff, but changed his name when he went into show business.

  • He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.

  • In 2010, baseball fans who learned about Norworth having written the popular seventh inning song raised money to have a granite monument installed at Melrose Abbey Memorial Park in Anaheim, CA to commemorate Norworth.

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