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“Take Me Out to the Ball Game”: The Rise and Fall of the Baseball Organist


Date: 02/25/2011

Time: 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Location: Room 280, Ferguson Hall

Cost: Free


Music and Sound Studies Colloquium Series
Sponsored by the U of M's Office of Interdisciplinary Initiatives

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game”: The Rise and Fall of the Baseball Organist

Matt Mihalka
University of Minnesota

Over the past century the organ has firmly entrenched itself as the signature sound of baseball. First introduced during a 1941 game at Wrigley Field, the organ quickly became a ubiquitous component of the baseball experience, filling gaps in play with various songs and fanfares. Today, the organ remains a vital ingredient of the baseball soundscape, but the use of live organ music has declined since the 1980s. Remnants of the organ, such as prerecorded organ cheers and accompanying tracks of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” still remain at most ballparks, but current baseball soundscapes increasingly consist of prerecorded popular music and sound effects. This paper elucidates the origins of organ music at the ballpark, and the reasons for its decline. I contend that advancements in sound replication technology, the evolving nature of popular culture, the increased commodification of both music and sports, and historical trends in listening behaviors have influenced the employment and meaning of music and sound at baseball games, and thus the role of the baseball organist. I also examine the current state of live organ music in the ballpark, demonstrating how organists remain viable at many ballparks today.


  • Name: Lisa Marshall
  • E-mail: marsh396@umn.edu
  • Sponsored by: Music, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC)


Convenient parking is available at the University's 19th Avenue and 21st Avenue parking ramps; you must pay a fee to park in these ramps. More information is also available on the University Parking and Transportation Services website (http://www1.umn.edu/pts/parking/parking.html).

Reservation Information:

This event is free and open to the public. Tickets and reservations not required. Seats are available on a first-come, first-seated basis.

More information: http://www.music.umn.edu

Disability Options:

To request disability accommodations, please contact Lisa Marshall, School of Music, 612/626-1094 or mus-ppr@umn.edu.

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