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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

A baseball tradition.

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The Chicago tradition of singing " Take Me Out To The Ball Game " began as a practical joke in 1976.


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Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".

Every year at Christmas, my sister Peg gives me a calendar, a desk calendar with a day by day look at significant and unique events in the annals of sports.

With a glance, you get a quick, fascinating story that sets up your day.

Among the recent submissions was the history of the Chicago tradition of singing " Take Me Out To The Ball Game ".

Linked to the Cubs all these years later, the segment started as a practical joke by the Chicago White Sox in 1976.

White Sox owner Bill Veeck, a beauty in his own right, installed a microphone in the broadcast booth unbeknownst to Sox announcer Harry Carey who was known to belt out the song during the 7th inning stretch.

Veeck's joke was pumped out of the loud speakers at Comiskey Park and a tradition was born.

The tradition though was altered 6 years later when Caray departed the White Sox for the Cubs and his 7th inning rendition of " Take Me Out to the Ball Game " became a national focal point with WGN, the superstation, broadcasting Cubs games to the masses.

Harry Caray passed away in 1989, but the tradition in Chicago lives on at Cubs games with various entertainers and celebrities picking up the chore of singing Take Me Out To The Ball game at Wrigley Field.

And thanks to my sister's Christmas gift, I now know the tradition started not at Wrigley, but at Comiskey Park

I'm Fred Wallace


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