March 30th, 2008

carole lombard 07
  • vp19

Play ball!



Yep, that's Carole Lombard, making her pitch in front of someone on the New York Giants at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, in either 1932 or 1933, when the team held spring training in L.A. (Los Angeles Wrigley Field, you say? Yep. It was the longtime home of the Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels, and was also where the expansion American League Angels played their first season in 1961.)

We show this photo because Lombard was an avid baseball fan -- and tonight, the major league season begins in North America (Boston and Oakland played two games in Japan earlier this week) when the Washington Nationals open their new home, Nationals Park, by facing the Atlanta Braves.



And I'll be there. (The photo is from Saturday night's exhibition game vs. Baltimore, won by the Nats, 3-0.)

2008 marks not only the centennial of Lombard's birth, but of baseball's anthem, "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." The chorus is sung at virtually every ballpark during the seventh-inning stretch, but have you ever seen the complete lyrics? Actually, there are two versions of lyrics, written by vaudevillian Jack Norworth, with music by Albert Von Tilzer. First, the 1908 lyrics:

Katie Casey was base ball mad.
Had the fever and had it bad;
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev'ry sou Katie blew.
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."

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."

Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names;
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."


For some reason, Norworth decided to update the lyrics in 1927, coming up with this:

Nelly Kelly loved baseball games,
Knew the players, knew all their names,
You could see her there ev'ry day,
Shout "Hurray," when they'd play.
Her boy friend by the name of Joe
Said, "To Coney Isle, dear, let's go,"
Then Nelly started to fret and pout,
And to him I heard her shout.

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."

Nelly Kelly was sure some fan,
She would root just like any man,
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along, good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Nelly Kelly knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song.

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."


So to all the Katie Caseys, Nelly Kellys -- and Carole Lombards -- out there, see you at "the old ball game"!

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