Inspired by last week’s awesome Banned Books play list provided by esteemed DCPL librarian Tony Ross, we’ve decided to revive our own critically-acclaimed Play List of the Week. (If you’re questioning our credentials, just know that we’re a’claiming our play lists are critical.)
Anyway, October is here, and on Friday, we Washingtonians climb on the roller coaster that is the MLB playoff season with a home team that gives us a reason to dream of big things. We’ve followed baseball long enough to know that the playoffs are impossibly unpredictable, but this has been a magical season thus far and, at least for today, there’s no reason to believe that it can’t continue for 11 more wins. Hey, we closed the season out with the first no-hitter in Washington National’s history. It’s destiny, right? So, to honor our Boys of Summer as they roll into fall full speed ahead, here are a dozen of the best songs about baseball, each with a quote from the legendary Yogi Berra. Check the Spotify player below for a full list of 27 songs.
Enjoy the music and Go Nats!
1. Take Me Out To The Ballgame – Dr. John
Written by Jack Norworth, this classic tune is played at almost every game in every ballpark. The Spotify play list has an interesting fuller version sung by Carly Simon.
"Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too."
2. Centerfield – John Fogarty
The former CCR front man reemerged on the music scene with this classic song on the 1985 album of the same name.
"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."
3. Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball? – Natalie Cole
Written by blues pianist Buddy Johnson and first made popular by The Count Basie Orchestra, this song paid tribute to the pioneering Robinson only two years after he integrated the major leagues.
"Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical."
4. Past Time – The Baseball Project
The Baseball Project is a group of musicians who share a love of baseball and get together to record and perform songs about the game when they aren’t touring with their own bands. With three albums and an EP of great baseball songs, this is the first of two on our list but we’ve included many more on the Spotify list below.
"You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours."
5. Joe DiMaggio Done It Again – Billy Bragg and Wilco
Following the remarkable success of 1988’s Mermaid Avenue, Bragg and Jeff Tweedy dusted of the Woody Guthrie songbook once again for a second album of Guthrie tunes that featured this homage to DiMaggio’s amazing hitting streak.
"I always thought that record would stand until it was broken."
6. Talkin’ Baseball (Call To The Hall) - Terry Cashman
There are dozens of versions of this song, so we chose the version honoring Baltimore legend Cal Ripken, penned after he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. If this one isn’t your cup of tea, we’ve got another version at the bottom of the list.
"You can observe a lot by just watching."
7. Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen
Not entirely about baseball, but The Boss uses reflections on diamond heroics to gently tweak nostalgic longings for the past.
"The future ain't what it used to be."
8. Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio – Les Brown and His Orchestra
The nation was DiMaggio crazy in 1951 when Brown wrote this hit song, right after The Yankee Clipper followed up his record 56 game hitting streak by starting a new streak that would last for 18 games.
"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
9. Catfish – Bob Dylan
Dylan co-wrote this bluesy tune about the first of the big-money free agents, Jim “Catfish” Hunter, who moved from Oakland to the Yankees after being granted free agent status in arbitration.
"Half the lies they tell about me aren't true."
10. Cheap Seats - Alabama
The southern rockers really paint a romantic picture of a day at a minor league ballpark.
"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."
11. My Oh My – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
A moving tribute to Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Niehaus, written after his death in 2010 by award-winning rapper and Seattle native Macklemore.
"It's like deja-vu, all over again."
12. The Day Dock Went Hunting Heads - The Baseball Project
Catchy chorus, crazy story, subtle reference to the LSD no-hitter capped off with a tidy moral tucked in to the end. These guys are great.
"It ain't over till it's over."