Top Five Baseball Songs (with all due respect to “Centerfield” and “Glory Days”)

Posted: April 3, 2012 in Baseball songs, Billy Bragg, Bob Dylan, Carly Simon, Eddie Vedder, The Intruders, Uncategorized, Wilco, Woody Guthrie

Major League Baseball opened its season today.  What better time to post a list of Top Five baseball songs?  I have intentionally left “Centerfield” by John Fogerty and “Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen off the list.  While both are classics, the purpose of a Top Five list should be, at least in part, to open up things up a bit.  So without further adieu….

1. Joe Dimaggio Done it Again, Billy Bragg and Wilco

This is off an album titled “Mermaid Avenue”, a collaboration between Billy Bragg and Wilco recorded in 1992 which came about when Woody Guthrie’s daughter Nora brought over a thousand of her father’s lyrics to Billy Bragg (who in turn approached Wilco) that had never been set to music.  This track is one of the wonderful results.

2. Catfish, Bob Dylan

To describe Dylan as prolific is like describing the ocean as wet.  Many fine songs never made the cut.  Some surfaced over the years and this is one of those songs.  Co-written with Jacques Levy it did not make it onto 1976’s “Desire” as had been intended.  Telling the tale of Catfish Hunter, who became the highest paid pitcher ever when the Yankees signed him in 1975, this song is Dylan at his bluesy best. Alas, no video.

3. (Love is Like A) Baseball Game, The Intruders

Charting 4th on the US R and B charts in 1968, this is a mid career number from The Intruders.  An early influence in the Philadelphia soul scene (which begat all sorts of bands you know like The Delfonics, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and more) they are still around today.

4. All the Way, Eddie Vedder

A heartfelt song for his beloved Chicago Cubs, this is an acoustic ode of joy.  Apparently a life long fan, for Eddie hope still springs eternal.

5. Take Me Out to the Ball Game, Carly Simon

Carly Simon knew Jackie Robinson from a very young age.  She first met him after her mother took up his and his family’s cause as then segregated blacks.  She has stated that since then she had always wanted to be a baseball player.  Her rendition of the familiar 7th inning stretch refrain was on the soundtrack to Ken Burn’s “Baseball” and was also on a CD that accompanied a children’s book about Jackie Robinson she wrote in 2011.

  1. earthboy011 says:

    Maybe it is technically not a baseball song, but I always think of baseball whenever I hear Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson. It has that great line beginning: Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio.

    However, Chuck Berry’s Brown Eyed Handsome Man is a baseball tune, at least in the last verse, and It beats the living crap our of Love Is Like a Baseball Game, which is almost as bad as Backfield In Motion.

  2. topfivevinyl says:

    I almost included Brown Eyed Handsome man. Robert Cray did a splendid version of it on “Hail Hail Rock and Roll”.

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