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Baseball history unpacked, June 27

Jack Norworth Day, Hammerin’ Hank, Reuss’ no-no, and Kris Bryant’s big day. Audio and video!

Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

A Cubs-centric look at baseball’s past. Here’s a handy Cubs timeline.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1940 - To honor the lyricist of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, Jack Norworth Day is celebrated at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field. Norworth and his partner Albert Von Tilzer, who wrote the music, had never seen a game when they created the song in 1908. (1)

The story goes that Norworth came up with the lyrics while sitting on a subway train in New York City, after spotting a sign that said “Baseball today at the Polo Grounds”. Neither man had ever been to a baseball game at the time. The sing went on the become a #1 hit in 1908, as performed by Billy Murray and the Hayden Quartet, and the second-most widely-sung song in America (after the National Anthem). (5)

Baseball Almanac says:

In 1858, the first known baseball song was written, “The Base Ball Polka!” It was not quite as famous as Jack Norworth’s 1908 classic, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”, which was written on some scrap paper on a train ride to Manhattan, New York. Norworth then provided those paper scrap lyrics to Albert Von Tilzer who composed the music which in turn was published by the York Music Company and before the year was over, a hit song was born.

Jack Norworth was a very successful vaudeville entertainer / songwriter and spent fifteen minutes writing this classic which is sung during the seventh inning stretch at nearly every ball park in the country. In 1927, he changed some lyrics and a second version appeared.

The link also contains two versions of the lyrics and this immortal quote:

“In the seventh inning fans all get up and sing ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game,’ and they’re already there. It’s really a stupid thing to say and I don’t know who made ‘em sing it. Why would somebody that’s there get up and sing take me out to the ball game? The first person to do it must have been a moron.” — Larry Anderson.

Here’s a rendition by Edward Meeker, from 1908:

Norworth is also responsible for the lyrics to “Shine On, Harvest Moon”. Here’s Ada Jones and Billy Murray performing it, from 1909:

  • 1959 - With the players voting, Henry Aaron gets a unanimous vote for the All-Star Game, making him the first player so selected. (2)

There were two All-Star games played that year. The first was on July 7 at Forbes Field, and was won by the National League, 5-4. Here’s the box score. Aaron was 2 for 4. Ernie Banks was 2 for 3 with two doubles. Cubs pitcher Don Elston got the save while SF Giant Johnny Antonelli got the win.

You can listen if you want:

The second game was at LA Memorial Coliseum on August 3, and was won by the American League, 5-3. Here’s the box score. It wasn’t the same players in each game. Don Drysdale took the loss for the senior circuit as Jerry Walker got the win for the juniors.

You can listen to that one, too:

  • 1980 - Dodger southpaw Jerry Reuss, facing only 28 batters, no-hits the Giants at Candlestick Park, 8-0. Shortstop Bill Russell’s errant throw on Jack Clark’s grounder with two outs in the first inning deprives the 31-year-old left-hander from tossing a perfect game. (1)

Box score. Vida Blue took the loss for the Giants, with both Dusty Baker and Steve Garvey going deep.

  • 2016 - Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant becomes the third major-leaguer ever to collect five extra-base hits in one contest, and the first to do so with three home runs and two doubles. The 24-year-old Chicago infielder’s Great American Ball Park offensive output joins the ranks of Ranger outfielder Josh Hamilton (Camden Yards, 2012) and Braves first baseman Joe Adcock (Ebbets Field, 1954), who both hit four homers and a double to accomplish the feat. (1)

Box score. Certainly we all remember this one. Jake Arrieta was 2 for 3 , pitched five innings and was relieved by most of the pitching staff. KB played three positions and barreled like nobody’s business. Dan Straily took the loss.

Here’s the game if you want to relive it:


Thanks for playing along.