Take Me Out to the Ball Game

We have more than our share of serious baseball fans here at the UNC Press. Personally, I grew up a Washington Senators fan who turned his allegiances to the Baltimore Orioles after the Senators left town in the 1971. Our Associate Director here at the Press is also an Orioles fan as well as a fan of our own UNC Men’s Baseball team.

The area’s best-known team, however, is the Durham Bulls, our local AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Bulls’ home field is a beautiful baseball park (modeled, incidentally, after the Orioles’ Camden Yards) and a great place to see a game.

On Thursday, August 28th, the Durham Bulls, along with the downtown Durham Post Office, are hosting a dedication ceremony for the new “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” stamp recently released by the US Postal Service. The stamp commemorates the Jack Norworth seventh inning stretch baseball game classic song written 100 years ago.

The guest roster at the ceremony includes acting Durham Postmaster Tom Pollard, Bulls mascot Wool E. Bull, and Clay Council, an All-Star Home Run Derby batting practice pitcher who is a mere 71 years young.

For those among you who also take your baseball and baseball history seriously we have two books written by Robert Burk that should be on your bookshelf. The award-winning Never Just a Game details baseball from its inception to 1920 and Much More Than a Game (with the wonderfully stern-faced Kenesaw Mountain Landis on the cover) continues the story from 1921 through to the modern day.

We at the Press would like to offer a commemorative tip o’ the baseball cap to the Bulls, former pitcher Clay Council and the lyrical Mr. Norworth. We’d also like to offer up a rousing version of one of the two little-known verses to Mr. Norworth’s song (a song actually about a woman’s love for the game) to send you on your way:

“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…”