On Baseball’s National Anthem

I get e-mails from the History Channel. I must have signed up for their newletter at some point in the past, but I couldn’t say when that was. Normally, I just delete them, unless the subject line looks interesting. And yesterday, I got a very interesting one. To me, anyway.

“Forgotten Baseball Poet Receives Star Treatment”

Surely it wasn’t “Casey at the Bat,” and while I wrote about “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon” a few weeks ago that poem is of interest really only to :cubs: fans.

This e-mail? Well… I’ll let it speak for itself (text courtesy of the History Channel):

Baseball’s National Anthem

Everybody knows (or should know) “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. But what about the guy who wrote it?

Jack Norworth was a vaudeville-era songwriter and performer who was inspired to write his epic by a sign touting “ballgame today” he could see from his New York City subway car. “Ballgame” alone should have garnered him a spot in the Songwriters Hall of Fame — in 1908, it was the second most popular song at ballparks, following only the national anthem — but he also knocked a little ditty titled “Shine On, Harvest Moon” that pretty well sealed the deal.

Ironically, Norworth’s grave sits within spittin’ distance (that’s OK, this is baseball) of Angels Stadium in Anaheim’s Melrose Abbey Memorial Park. Largely ignored over the years, this past July — in conjunction with the All-Star Game being played there — fans cleaned up his gravesite and installed a 5-foot granite monument to the tunesmith.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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