The following post is taken in part from an article written by Susan Clermont, Music Specialist, for the Performing Arts Encyclopedia.
Like no other American sport, baseball has been glorified and preserved in musical form by inspired songwriters and poets since its beginnings. In 1858, the year when amateur baseball teams in the northeast established the first league, the National Association of Base Ball Players, one player from the Base Ball Club of Buffalo published the first piece of baseball music – The Baseball Polka. Since then hundreds of songs have followed, some composed by the players themselves, some by their sponsors, several by well-known musicians, others by unknown fans. And, it cannot be mere coincidence that all of their baseball songs generally avoided baseball issues: integration, free agency, players’ strikes, drug use, salaries, etc., never appear in the lyrics; rather, they instinctively focus on the glory, the heroes, or the past traditions of the game. Back in 1951, radio broadcaster and journalist Walter Winchell asserted that “Take Me Out to the Ballgame“ epitomized that focus, that it embodied baseball’s lure and essence, where the ball park becomes an “island of innocent excitement in a world of wild despair.”
Read more about the “other” national anthem here. See more baseball sheet music, including songs rooting for the Cubs, the Orioles, the Reds, and the Red Sox, in the Performing Arts Encyclopedia.
Baseball is definitely a big part of American culture.