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I don’t know what the best baseball song is, but it ain’t John freakin’ Fogerty

Dec 19, 2013, 4:30 PM EDT


Today at ESPN Jim Caple takes a stab at listing the top 10 baseball songs of all time. He has “Centerfield” by John Fogerty at number one.

I feel like picking the best baseball song is a fools’ errand if, for no other reason, than everyone has different musical tastes so who’s to say what really is the best baseball song? It’s inherently a matter of opinion. But I know this much: “Centerfield” is objectively awful. It’s just not a good song and if you think otherwise you’re a bad person and should feel bad. No offense, Jim.

I guess everything else is fair game. Well, not “Talkin’ Baseball.” That’s awful too. Just can’t be on your list if you want to be taken seriously in polite society. Terrible, abominable song. Get the shakes just thinking about it.

I go back and forth on my favorite baseball song, but here’s one that rotates in and out of the top spot. It’s Mabel Scott’s “Baseball Boogie.”

OK, yes, she’s not really singing about baseball. She’s singing about sex. But I think that’s ok. I’d rather hear Mabel Scott sing about sex than hear John Fogerty singing about baseball. And if you disagree, well, you’re wrong AGAIN.

104 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. seeinred87 - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    How about some love for Todd Snider’s “America’s Favorite Pastime” or Reckless Kelly’s “April to October,” huh?

    • spudchukar - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      Allright, a little love for Idaho’s finest.

  2. msullyldp - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    “The Ballad of Ted Williams” on NPR’s annual Tribute to Baseball

  3. jdd428 - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    “The Greatest” – Kenny Rogers

    • Kevin S. - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      Not at all a country fan, but that’s a great song.

      • jdd428 - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        Not a country fan either.

    • cackalackyank - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:14 PM

      If you are going to pick a Kenny Rogers song, at least pick “The Gambler”. After all it’s about Pete Rose, isn’t it?

      • jdd428 - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:16 PM

        Well played.

      • chinahand11 - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:57 PM

        I love Pete Rose and wish him induction in the HOF, but that was a good one. Funny.

  4. The Dangerous Mabry - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    We can agree that “Talkin’ Softball” is fantastic, though, right?

    • robotmonkeycat - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:10 PM


      Well, Mr. Burns had done it,
      The Power Plant had won it,
      With Roger Clemens clucking all the while,
      Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness made us smile,
      While Wade Boggs lay unconscious on the bar-room tile.

      We’re talkin’ softball,
      From Maine to San Diego,
      Talkin’ softball,
      Mattingly and Canseco,
      Ken Griffey’s grotesquely swollen jaw,
      Steve Sax and his run-in with the law,
      We’re talkin’ Homer,
      Ozzie and the Straw.

      • kopy - Dec 20, 2013 at 9:47 AM

        Officer Eddie: (reading Steve Sax’s license) Well well, Steve Sax, from New York City.
        Officer Lou: I heard some guy got killed in New York City and they never solved the case. But you wouldn’t know anything about that now, would you, Steve?
        Steve Sax: But there are hundreds of unsolved murders in New York City.
        Officer Lou: You don’t know when to keep your mouth shut, do you, Saxy Boy?

  5. gammagammahey - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    I’m partial to Count Basie’s “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?”

  6. schniz61 - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Take me out to the Ballgame? Duh.

  7. jdd428 - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    “Glory Days” should not make the list as a “baseball song” – it has one verse (out of 3) that has anything to do with baseball.

    • Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:44 PM

      the fact that Bruce refers to a “speedball” rather than a fastball should disqualify that song from every baseball-song list, ever, ever, F’n ever.

      and I love Bruce.

      That said, the Warrant “Cherry Pie” song (so hot, she. Sorry, distracted…) has “think about baseball, swing all night” in the lyrics. Although, I am not sure what they’re talking about..

      • spursareold - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:25 PM

        Duh. What do you call the stages of foreplay? First base, second base, third base…

      • Glenn - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:54 PM

        I think it means thinking about baseball to last longer. Remember Woody Allen saying he did that (in Manhattan? Annie Hall?) and then saying he yelled slide during sex once.

      • albertmn - Dec 19, 2013 at 8:12 PM

        I agree that the “speed ball” reference should disqualify it. That always irks me more than it probably should whenever I hear that song.

      • km9000 - Dec 19, 2013 at 10:18 PM

        “That’s why I carry a big gun.”
        “Aren’t you afraid it might go off accidentally?”
        “I used to have that problem.”
        “What did you do about it?”
        “I just think about baseball.”

  8. cur68 - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    This post only exists to irritate me. I’m not falling for it and writing 400 words about why you’re wrong, Craig. You know you are and you know why.

    Centerfield is the best baseball song of them all.

    And if you, or anyone else, doesn’t think so, well then dang you. Dang you to heck.

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 19, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      I like CCR, but must admit that I have never heard that song. I did think of you today when I had an appointment with a MD who recently moved from Edmonton to Brampton. I would not be surprised if you have met Dr. S. P.

    • gibbyfan - Dec 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM

      This post should irriitate anyone with common sense Cur………Craig, obviously the arbiter of all wisdom, rightfully states that it’s foolish because music is a subjective matter of opinion then interjects his opinion to declare the song objectively bad. PLEASE !!

    • albertmn - Dec 19, 2013 at 8:15 PM

      Even if you don’t agree Centerfield is number 1, you should agree it should be on the list. Apparently, Craig’s taste in music matches up to nearly no one else (which is just fine, as music is about personal preference).

    • alexo0 - Dec 19, 2013 at 8:43 PM

      No self-respecting hipster would ever like a song as commercial as “Centerfield”. You have to go obscure, man.

      • laherman - Dec 20, 2013 at 9:36 AM

        I didn’t realize Calcaterra was self-respecting.

  9. Kevin S. - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Not gonna lie, “Centerfield” gets me pretty pumped up for the season every spring. Also, it’s excellent fodder if there’s ever a team with a centerfielder in the doghouse that visits the Braves. @bravesorganist would have a field day.

  10. elmo - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers’ “Walter Johnson”.

    Dave Frishberg’s “Van Lingle Mungo” and “Dodger Blue”.

    Also, I gotta second Todd Snider’s “America’s Favorite Pastime”. Great song.

  11. chip56 - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    Must be nice to be the unchallenged expert in everything.

    • clemente2 - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      It does distinguish him from you.

    • cur68 - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:09 PM

      “Must be nice to have your own blog on a major sports outlet and about a 10 000 readers/clicks per day and be able to print your opinion publicly thus generating debate about something which isn’t very important but might be fun for people to chat about”

      And there’s NOTHING stopping YOU, Mr. Expert On Every Damn Thing from attempting to do the same. In fact why don’t you and provide a link for it? You seem pretty convinced that Craig’s tragically wrong about most things that you know more about. Lets see how all this knowledge stacks up, shall we?

      Oh, and BTW: read the comments. He’s BEING challenged on his opinion. That’s why he put this post up. Duh.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:13 PM

        Okay, this is freaky. I was going to reply with the same damn post. Right down to stating what Craig actually has, pointing out that he’s being challenged, and the FTFY.

      • cur68 - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:21 PM

        He was friggin’ BEGGING for it, man. I just type faster, is all.

        And hey: congrats on the AWESOME taste in baseball music. You shall not be danged to heck. Unlike some people.

        PS: check out the down thumbs! I think we found our Mad Thumber! Why Chippy! You ‘Ole Scamp, you!

      • Kevin S. - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:31 PM

        Yes, yes he was.

        And I don’t know if he’s definitively the harpy, but I’d shortlist him.

  12. DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    “Boys of Summer” – because Don Henley goes insane when people confuse it for a baseball song

    Yea, have to agree with Craig – I don’t know either, but it ain’t the highly clichéd Centerfield

    • chadjones27 - Dec 19, 2013 at 7:07 PM

      Boys of Summer and Glory Days are to baseball songs as Paradise By The Dashboard Light is to baseball songs.

      I disagree with on Centerfield. I think it’s a good baseball tune.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 20, 2013 at 7:21 AM

        Just to be clear – and I think you understood what I meant – I realize Boys of Summer is not a baseball song. I was mostly picking on those who think it is.

        Centerfield is not my cup of tea, but many people do love it, and it is all in the eye of the beholder – so in that regard, the case could be made it is way up there. But to segue to a different point, there are some things musically speaking that are NOT a matter of opinion. I present Craigs number 1 error of all time:

  13. spudchukar - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    Still partial to Steve Goodman’s “The Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request”.

    • capsboy - Dec 19, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      Still partial to Steve Goodman .

    • 4d3fect - Dec 20, 2013 at 8:52 AM

      that’s got my vote too.

  14. mt10425 - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    What an idiot! Other than ‘Take me out to the ball game’ the two best baseball songs are ‘Centerfield’ and ‘the Boys of Summer’. Pull your head out.

    • Gamera the Brave - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:20 PM

      Um, it’s an opinion…
      On a baseball site…
      In the off-season…
      Please resume the lotus position, deep, cleansing breaths…

  15. cadillacjosh - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    My favorite was always the song from the Pizza Hut ads that’s like

    “I play Right Field
    It’s important to know
    You gotta know how to catch
    You gotta know how to throw
    That’s why I play Right Field
    Way out where the dandelions grow”

    Possibly most famous from being the opening song on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles VHS.

    • chadjones27 - Dec 19, 2013 at 7:17 PM

      A Peter, Paul, and Mary song should never be included in any baseball discussion.
      Funny Tune though

  16. missingdiz - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    “Take me out to the ball game” is THE baseball song.
    I hate football, I really do, but the coolest sports song is “Backfield in Motion.”

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Dec 19, 2013 at 6:52 PM

      Take Me Out… obviously, especially Mandy Patinkin’s Yiddish version, which is a hoot and speaks volumes about immigrants becoming American!
      But if we’re looking beyond the diamonds, one of the reasons hockey will never rank higher than 4th in team sports in the US is that Canadians think The Good Ole Hockey Game is a great song when it doesn’t even belong among the 1,000 best hockey songs and there aren’t even that many. Not to sound judgmental or anything.

  17. cultureworksvt - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    I’m quit partial to “Oil Can” by John Lincoln Wright and the Designated Hitters. Unfortunately, I can’t find in on line anywhere. Here’s his “The Red Sox Song”:

    Chuck Brodsky has made a career out of writing great baseball songs. His songs about Dock Ellis, Fred Merkle and Eddie Klepp are all classics.

  18. extavernmouse - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    I always liked Centerfield, though not as much as “Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request.” Combine that with the best-ever version of “Take Me Out to The Ballgame:” Steve Goodman and Jethro Burns (from Homer & Jethro), a breakneck version that’ll leave you breathless. Goodman also wrote the Cubs theme song (“Go Cubbies Go”?) and, during “Take Me Out…” sings “If they don’t win, what else is new.”

    • chad10 - Dec 19, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      I am a big fan of the Goo-Goo Dolls version of “Take Me Out”, from TWIB some years ago.

  19. eagles512 - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    I enjoy Centerfield. Not great by any means but enjoyable.

  20. pftfan - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    No love for K7??


  21. jkcalhoun - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    I thought this was the place on the Interwebs to troll Phillies fans, but since Ting-a-Ling Double Play wasn’t mentioned, it can’t possibly be.

  22. jerseybando - Dec 19, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    1. Centerfield-John Fogerty
    1A. Past Time-The Baseball Project

  23. ray1950 - Dec 19, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    I’ve always enjoyed Phil Rizzuto’s “play by play” in the middle of “Paradise By The Dashboard Light”

  24. smokeypatsfan - Dec 19, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    “Take me out to the ballgame” by a mile and I’m frigging deaf in real life!

  25. smokeypatsfan - Dec 19, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    Take me out to the ballgame by a mile and I’m deaf

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