You’ve probably heard of the seventh-inning stretch if you’ve been to a baseball game. After all, the iconic “Take Me out to the Ballgame” starts playing over the speakers during this break in the action, and fans stand, stretch, and sing to the song’s lyrics. You can hear this song during Minor League and Major League Baseball games between the top and bottom of the seventh inning, which is why fans call it the 7th inning stretch.
So, when did the 7th inning stretch come into MLB games? What is the point of the 7th inning stretch at ballparks? Who wrote the song “Take Me out to the Ballgame?” What are some other songs that occur during baseball games?
Here is the complete breakdown of the 7th inning stretch in baseball and more!
The Origins of the Seventh Inning Stretch in Baseball
There are numerous theories of when the seventh inning stretch began in baseball. One theory is that in 1869 during a game between the Cincinnati Red Stockings and Brooklyn Eagles, there was a break in the action to allow fans to go to the bar and get more drinks.
Another theory claims that the seventh-inning stretch occurred in 1882 during a Manhattan College baseball game. The fans on the hard benches were becoming restless, so they took a break in the action to allow everyone to stretch. That break was, in theory, the first stretch during the seventh inning of a baseball game.
However, the theory that most baseball fans tend to agree upon was when President William Howard Taft got up and stretched during the seventh inning on April 14th, 1910. Taft was a big guy at over six feet tall, so he needed to get up and stretch during the long baseball game. As fans saw the president get up and stretch, they did as well, and the popularity of this break in action quickly spread across the nation.
What is the point of the 7th Inning Stretch at Ballparks?
The point of the 7th inning stretch at ballparks is to give a brief time-out in action to allow fans to stretch, use the bathroom, order more food and drinks, and also take a mental break from the game. The break with “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is supposed to remind fans that this competition is only a game and supposed to be fun at the end of the day. You will often see a team’s mascot lead the song on the big screen, which is popular for families with little kids at a game.
TV and radio advertisers tend to have a bit longer commercial breaks to buy for their ads during this pause in the action. There is a bit more time between the halves of the seventh inning, so the break works well from a marketing and advertising perspective.
Who Wrote “Take Me Out to the Ballgame?”
With the popularity of the 7th inning stretch during baseball games, a song entered baseball in 1934 at a high school in LA. The song “Take Me out to the Ballgame” composers were Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer. Interestingly enough, both did not attend their first baseball game until 1940.
The song’s popularity took off in professional baseball when Harry Caray would sing it at Wrigley Field during baseball games. Fans came to expect announcer Harry Caray to sing it, which became part of the lure of going and staying at Wrigley Field longer in a game, even if the Chicago Cubs were losing by many runs.
As the years went by, Wrigley Field began inviting celebrities to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” with a microphone at the booth, which grew the song’s importance.
What are Other Songs During Baseball Games?
There are plenty of songs before, during, and after a baseball game. For example, God Bless America plays before every game in the United States, and Oh Canada plays out in Toronto for a baseball game. For an opening day and the World Series in baseball, you tend to see famous singers sing these songs live since there are additional festivities before the game to kick off the season.
In addition to God Bless American and Oh Canada, music is a critical part of baseball games. For instance, the home team has custom music play for their players during a game. When a specific batter or pitcher comes into the game, they have their music choice play over the speakers. The music choice is one of the perks of playing baseball at home since your music choice can help you relax or get ready before you play.
Finally, baseball teams all have their unique songs during or after a game. The Boston Red Sox play “Sweet Caroline” during the 8th inning, and the New York Yankees play “New York New York” by Frank Sinatra after every game.
Conclusion: What is the 7th Inning Stretch in Baseball?
In summary, the game of baseball has its national anthem, and that is “Take Me out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch. Every Minor League and Major League Baseball ballpark plays this game from a tradition that began decades ago. While it is hard to say when the break-in action began during professional baseball games, many fans credit President William Howard Taft in 1910 during the Washington Senators and Philadelphia Athletics stretch to make the practice mainstream.
As the practice of getting up and stretching in the halves of the seventh inning, “Take Me Out to the Ballpark” was played at a High School ballpark in 1934 for the first time. The song was catchy and popular and quickly grew in professional baseball, especially after Harry Caray would sing it at Wrigley Field over the speakers to the crowd.
Today, you will find “Take Me out to the Ballpark” play during the seventh inning at all ballparks. This baseball tradition song allows fans to stand up, stretch, use the bathroom, and more while singing the catchy tune. This song is probably the only time when fans of opposing teams will be singing in unison together, which adds to the popularity of the break-in action for the game.
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