Today in Sports History: June 27th

6/27/1940 - Norworth attends ballgame

Jack Norworth, the man who wrote the lyrics to "Take Me Out To The Ball Game," sees the first baseball game of his life as the Brooklyn Dodgers host "Jack Norworth Day" at Ebbets Field.

On a summer day in 1908, Norworth -- a successful vaudeville performer -- was riding on a New York City subway when he saw an ad saying: "Baseball Today - Polo Grounds." Half an hour later, Norworth had jotted down the lyrics to a song about baseball. He teamed up with Albert Von Tilzer, a composer who had also never seen a baseball game, to create the song's now famous tune. On May 2nd, the song was copyrighted and advertised in the New York Clipper.

It was a smash hit. Decades later, Norworth's tune had become the official anthem to Major League Baseball, as it was played in every park in the middle of the seventh inning. Fans were directed to sing the words aloud, a tradition popularized by White Sox announcer Harry Caray in the 70's. The tradition continues to this day, although the verses to the song are almost completely forgotten. The chorus on the other hand remains completely the same.

Take Me Out To The Ball Game is estimated as the third most commonly played song in the United States, right behind the Star-Spangled Banner" and "Happy Birthday to You." In 1958, Major League Baseball awarded Norworth a life-time pass to any ballpark in the country. He died one year later, at the age of 80.

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