You know it’s spring when baseball season begins. Time to begin enjoying those peanuts, caramel popcorn and the crack of the ball on the bat with these 10 beloved songs about America’s Pastime.
This song from Bruce Springsteen’s iconic Born In The USA album focuses on a man who ruefully looks back on his “glory days” playing high school baseball while recalling some of the friends he knew. The first verse is based upon a chance encounter Springsteen had with one of his past Little League® teammates when he himself played baseball in a Babe Ruth league. Listen to it here.
The lyrics of this 1999 Kenny Rogers song portrays a little boy repeatedly tossing a baseball up in the air, then swinging and missing, though he constantly refers to himself as the greatest player. When his mom calls him in for dinner, we discover that he imagined himself as the pitcher, not the hitter, earning strikeout after strikeout. Listen to it here.
This beautiful ode to baseball was written by Paul Simon, based on his memories of attending baseball games in the New York area where he grew up as a kid. The track features the legendary Toots Thielman weaving an evocative harmonica part over Simon’s guitar as the song slowly develops … just the way a great game would. Listen to it here.
This feel-good jump blues track was originally recorded by the Count Basie Orchestra in 1949, two years after Jackie Robinson made his major league debut. The song was later covered by Natalie Cole and included in a Ken Burns baseball documentary. Listen to it here.
You’re virtually guaranteed to hear this track playing over the PA at most baseball games, both major league and minor. Interestingly, singer/songwriter John Fogerty (the famed front man for the ’60s group Creedence Clearwater Revival) has said that he chose the name of the album before he wrote the song, which was inspired by the ultra-deep centerfield at the original Yankee Stadium. Listen to it here.
The Cheap Seats is not only the fifteenth studio album by country music band Alabama, but the name of this feel-good baseball-tinged track, which was used as the theme song by ESPN for their Minor League Baseball games during the 1994 broadcast year, when the single was riding high in the charts. Listen to it here.
This fun track by Billy Bragg and Wilco from the 2000 album Mermaid Avenue Vol II features banjo and guitar, along with lyrics by Woody Guthrie written in 1949, about an old-timer struggling to keep up with the younger kids … proving that some topics are timeless. Listen to it here.
Eddie Vedder, lead singer of the rock band Pearl Jam, wrote this one about his favorite baseball team, the Chicago Cubs. Vedder was from Evanston, Illinois and was a lifelong fan. The song is also known as “(Someday We’ll Go) All the Way,” in reflection of the fact that, when it was first released in 2008, the Cubbies hadn’t won a World Series in 100 years — something the team rectified in 2016 … which prompted a video re-release of the track. Listen to it here.
Country artist Trace Adkins recorded this track in 2006. The video uses baseball as a metaphor for a women’s night out at a tavern, depicting the men that play the “game” — including Adkins himself, who ultimately has to step up to the plate. Listen to it here.
It doesn’t get more baseball than this 1908 Tin Pan Alley song, which has become the unofficial theme to the game, traditionally sung during the seventh inning stretch. Interestingly, neither of the composers had attended a ball game before writing the song! It’s been recorded literally hundreds of times, but the classic version is the one performed by Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly from the film of the same name. Listen to it here.
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