For the 105th birthday of 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame,' here are the five best, worst and weirdest renditions
This month marks the 105th anniversary of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." First recorded in 1908, the Tin Pan Alley hit -- written by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, two men who had never been to a baseball game -- is now a staple in ballparks around the world. In celebration of this milestone, we've selected five of the best, five of the worst and five of the weirdest renditions of the song. Play ball.
There's no better place to start than Wrigley Field, where "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" is a fixture of the seventh-inning stretch -- traditionally sung (until this year) by a visiting celebrity -- as pioneered by the legendary Harry Caray in 1982.
Illinois native (and, you know, greatest comedian alive) Bill Murray was on hand in the booth for the Cubs' Opening Day in 2012. After this rousing performance, Murray reportedly popped up behind Alfonso Soriano in left field, tapped him on the shoulder and whispered, "No one will ever believe you."
The Goo Goo Dolls
Maybe it's our late-90's nostalgia talking (and late-90's nostalgia is something we have no shortage of), but this Goo Goo Dolls alt-rock cover -- for a now nearly forgotten Major League Baseball TV commercial -- is kind of fantastic.
Jerry Stiller's version of the song for the Mets isn't good, exactly -- but it's great. This is precisely how Frank Costanza would sing it, possibly in lieu of a more traditional Festivus carol.
Comedian Frank Caliendo wove impressions of Al Pacino, Dr. Phil, Robin Williams and other celebrities into a single memorable version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in a commercial for Frank TV.
Ed Sullivan, the 1958 Yankees and Jack Norworth
Ed Sullivan asked "four young athletes" -- Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle and Bill Skowron -- to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" alongside composer Jack Norworth in the song's 50th anniversary year.
Jeff Gordon's 2005 seventh-inning stretch appearance was doomed before it began. The four-time Sprint Cup champion told the crowd that "it's great to be here at Wrigley Stadium" -- a perfectly reasonable thing to say, if that were what Wrigley Field was called. And it's all downhill from there.
His singing was hopelessly off-key, which might explain why he shut up completely for the second half of the song. It didn't make too much of a difference, considering you'd have hardly been able to hear him over the boos.
The Blue Jays invited the notorious American Idol reject to sing at Rogers Centre, and it went about as well as you'd expect. He was not asked to return for an encore.
When the infamously addled Ozzy Osbourne took the mic at Wrigley, not even the presence of level-headed wife Sharon could salvage the performance. Ozzy does offer some unusual lyrical improvisations -- "it's three, two, three strikes you're out" -- but most of what he sings is unintelligible. The audio in this clip is fairly garbled; that's probably for the best.
Mr. T's interpretation of the song isn't so much bad as it is terrifying. Never before have we had reason to believe that not taking someone out to the ballgame would have real and violent consequences.
Jake the Snake
Oh, Jake. The former WWF star sang for the Braves in Atlanta earlier this month. This performance is probably more depressing than it is funny ... watch at your own emotional risk.
The first half of this Barney clip is standard day-glo children's fare, but the last thirty seconds -- in which Barney disconcertingly inverts the lyrics, and a humanoid baseball winks at the audience -- are inexplicably disturbing.
Parks and Recreation's Chris Traeger
Literally the greatest Parks and Rec character, the seemingly perfect Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) does have one flaw: his singing voice.
The Grammy-winning musician performed his take on "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for MLB.com with the help of an electronic talkbox in 2010. The result was unusual, to say the least.
Hey, this bird can sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame!" Kind of. For a while.
A-plus for effort, anyway.
You might think the long-time Bears coach would be a perfect candidate to sing at Wrigley Field, but you'd be wrong. So very, very wrong.
His screamy, aggressive rendition starts bad and gets worse, becoming surreally high-pitched as he rushes to finish. I'm pretty sure all of my future nightmares will incorporate this into their soundtracks.
-- Molly Fitzpatrick / MLB.com