If you’ve attended a game at Oracle Park or tuned in to a Giants television broadcast, chances are you’re familiar with the team’s unofficial anthem: “Bye Bye Baby.”
The peppy song usually plays at the waterfront ballpark and on the Giants’ broadcasts at the end of each half-inning in which a San Francisco hitter homers.
Here are the catchy lyrics, in case they aren’t already stuck in your head:
When the Giants come to town, it’s Bye Bye Baby
Every time the chips are down, it’s Bye Bye Baby
History’s in the making at Candlestick Park
Cheer for the batter, and light the spark
If you’re a fan of Giants baseball, sing Bye Bye Baby
If you want to be in first place, call Bye Bye Baby
Listen to the broadcast on KSFO
Turn up the volume, and hear ’em go
With the San Francisco Giants, it’s Bye Bye Baby
So, what are the origins of this ballpark classic?
“Bye Bye Baby” was the signature home run call of longtime Giants play-by-play broadcaster Russ Hodges, who is best known for his iconic call describing Bobby Thomson’s famed “Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” which defeated the Dodgers in the 1951 tiebreaker at the Polo Grounds.
In his 1963 memoir, My Giants, Hodges wrote that he started using the phrase, “Tell it bye-bye baby,” for home runs in 1954, but the call didn’t become popular among Giants fans until the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco in 1958.
The song debuted in 1962 as an ode to power-hitting Giants lineups that featured star sluggers such as Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda. It features a melody composed by Aaron Edwards, a popular announcer for KSFO (560 AM), which carried Giants radio broadcasts for two decades before KNBR (680 AM) landed the rights in 1979.
“Everybody in my business has a favorite expression, and sometimes it catches on beyond his wildest dreams,” Hodges wrote in his memoir. “That’s what happened to Mel Allen’s ‘How about that?’ which has become part of the American language. Whenever somebody on the Giants hits a home run, I say, ‘Bye bye baby,’ and our fans have picked it up and made it their own. It’s a battle cry, which any western follower of the Giants instantly recognizes, and we now even have a song based on it.”
The song got more airplay than usual in 2021, when the Giants led the National League with 241 home runs, a single-season franchise record.