My senior year of college I wrote my honors Anthropology thesis (a whopping 70+ pages) on baseball. One of the most interesting facts I discovered was something I was not expecting. The origin of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
Sure enough, everyone knows the chorus to this unofficial anthem of baseball, but do they know the original verses? I doubt it.
“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was written in 1908 by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer. Their first verse? About a girl named “Katie Casey [who] was baseball mad.” What did Katie Casey want to do on her saturday night date? Go to the ballpark of course.
Katie Casey was baseball mad,
Had the fever and had it bad.
Just to root for the home town crew,
On a Saturday her young beau
Called to see if she’d like to go
To see a show, but Miss Kate said “No,
I’ll tell you what you can do:”
She not only suggested where they should go, but told him where they’ll go. That girl sounds pretty familiar.
The second verse?
Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names.
Told the umpire he was wrong,
Good and strong.
Jack Northworth’s (who wrote the lyrics while Albert Von Tilzer wrote the music) first thought of a fan going to a baseball game was not of a boy or man, but a young girl. Not only does Northworth treat her like any other fan of the game, she showcases her love of the sport.
With baseball today having a hard time connecting with a wider fan base, maybe Major League teams should use this song as a way to celebrate their female fans. Instead of just singing the chorus, have a women’s day at the park one night or day game and get the entire crowd to sing about Katie Casey.
I know I’d go.