Today was the last day of the 2014 baseball season for my beloved Boston Red Sox.
This year’s team suffered from the same kind of inconsistent pitching and lackluster hitting that continually cursed the Red Sox teams that I grew up with. Any hopes for back-to-back World Series Championships were long gone by the end of July. At least the 2014 Boston Red Sox didn’t lose as many games as the 2012 Boston Red Sox.
Ah, well. Wait’ll next year!
In the celebration of victory and the resignation of defeat, the game of baseball has long been a source of inspiration for creative artists of every persuasion. I feel quite safe in stating that the novelists, journalists, essayists, poets, short story writers, reporters, biographers and bloggers of the world have produced more published written works about – or in some way involving – baseball than any other sport.
Songwriters have had to contend with the fact that the quintessential baseball song was written by Albert Von Tilzer and Jack Norworth in 1908. Some may have been daunted, but many have not been deterred.
Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Fogarty, John McCutcheon, Ry Cooder and Tom Paxton – to name a few – all have a song or two in their repertoire about baseball.
High on my list of favorite baseball songs is one by the great Steve Goodman (July 25, 1948 – September 20, 1984). The sad-but-hilarious “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request” is one of three songs that Steve wrote about his beloved hometown baseball team, the Chicago Cubs.
In my post of May 3, 2013 called Staying Through The Credits, I wrote about “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball,” one of the classic R&B numbers on my list. Written by pianist and singer Woodrow “Buddy” Johnson, the absolutely essential recording of this song was cut by Count Basie and his Orchestra in July of 1949.
There’s even a whole album on my list. The Baseball Ballads is the 2002 CD by North Carolina-based songwriter, singer & guitarist Chuck Brodsky. This unique and highly recommended collection contains 10 outstanding original baseball-themed songs including “The Ballad of Eddie Clepp” and “Gone To Heaven.”
Just recently, I’m pleased to say, my list got one song longer.
Earlier this month, I was in the iTunes store picking up a copy of Doc & Merle Watson’s 1982 version of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” for a playlist I was putting together when something caught my eye. At the bottom of the far right hand column of the “Listeners Also Bought” section on the page for Doc & Merle Watson’s Guitar Album was a link to a song called “Baseball” by Sam Baker.
I clicked the preview button and, not even letting the preview finish, immediately purchased the track. As I sat back and listened to the entire recording, I fell in love with this song.
Here’s a live version from March 22, 2014, filmed at a place in The Woodlands, Texas, called “Dosey Doe.”
Take a few minutes and listen to “Baseball” for yourself.
Accompanying songwriter, singer & guitarist Sam Baker are Chip Dolan on keyboards and Tim Lorsch on cello.
So, how did you like that?
Sam Baker was born in Itasca, Texas in 1954. “Baseball” is from his first album, Mercy, that he released in 2004. Sam’s fourth and latest album, Say Grace, came out in 2013.
Check him out.
P.S.: If you liked the video/live version of “Baseball,” get the studio version from Mercy. It’s even better.
P.S.S.: I’ll be rooting for the Washington Nationals in the post-season. Go Nats!