The second in a series looking at team songs in Major League Baseball by division.
Perhaps no sport lends itself to music than baseball, as “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” has become the official anthem of the seventh inning stretch. However, most teams have their own songs written specifically for them and this does not include the series of songs recorded by Terry Cashman who after did special editions of “Talkin’ Baseball for most of the Major League Baseball teams.
“Go Cubs Go”
With the Chicago Cubs ending 108 years of frustration, the song “Go Cubs Go” became the soundtrack to last October in baseball. The song came out in 1984, when the Cubs had a magical season and won the first division title and came within one game of the World Series. The song was written and performed by Grammy Award winning songwriter Steve Goodman. The Cubs had wanted a new song to replace “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame” that had preceded Cubs on WGN for many years.
“A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request”
It is ironic that Steve Goodman, who won a Grammy for the “The City of New Orleans” a decade earlier as he raised the ire of Cubs General Manager a year earlier when he released another song about the Cubs called “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request”. Sadly, Goodman died just before they clinched the division at the age of 36 after a long battle with Leukemia.
No doubt Steve Goodman and “Go Cubs Go” would be forever immortalized by Bill Murray’s SNL performance with members of the 2016 World Championship Team.
“All the Way”
Steve Goodman was not the only Cubs fan begging for a title, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam fame wrote and performed his own song, dreaming of the day the Cubs won the World Series.
“Hooray for the Cincinnati Reds”
The Cincinnati Reds may be the first professional team in baseball founded in 1869, but it took more than 125 years before an official song was created for the team. In 1997, when the team was in the midst of a disappointing season, diehard Reds fan Steven Reinke who was musical director and composer for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra created a song to celebrate the Reds significance in the development of America’s Pastime.
In the early 1980’s Major League Baseball came out with an advertising slogan, Baseball Fever, come out and catch it. Several teams promoting that slogan came out with jingles, to sell tickets. One of those teams was the Milwaukee Brewers, who at the same time where having their best seasons in franchise history. The song “Brewers Fever” became the rallying cry as Harvey’s Wallbangers went to the 1982 World Series, and has remained a fan favorite in Milwaukee 35 years later.
“Go Go You Pilots”
Before the Milwaukee Brewers made their debut in 1970, they spent one expansion season as the Seattle Pilots. The Pilots playing at a minor league stadium, showed the Pacific Northwest was not ready to support baseball as poor weather and the quality of Sick’s Stadium were one reason for their quick exit. However, like Jim Bouton’s Ball Four, the Pilots team song has been a last reminder of the one year franchise.
“Raise the Jolly Roger”
The song most connected with Pittsburgh Pirates, is the Disco hit by Sister Sledge, “We Are Family” which became the anthem for the 1979 Championship team. However, that song was not written for the Pirates, it was not until 2011, when Johnny Angel and the Halos came out with “Raise the Jolly Roger” to celebrate the team’s return to respectability after a two-decade string of losing seasons. The song sounds somewhat like the theme to Sponge Bob and has not gotten that much play.
St. Louis Cardinals
“That’s a Winner”
The St. Louis Cardinals have never truly had a theme song, as their long association with Anheuser Busch has led to the jingle “Here Comes the King” being an unofficial theme. Though the song was a commercial jingle for Budweiser Beer and not written specifically for the Cardinals. That does not mean the Cardinals were not the subject of song, as a Cardinal fan John Gundry better known as Johnny Nation wrote and performed a tribute to longtime announcer Jack Buck called “That’s a Winner”
Updated Pirates song from a Twitter Follower
The series will continue with songs of the National League West.
Frank Fleming is the creator of the Sportsecyclopedia.com