A different kind of hit record
Baseball and music have a rich history together. The Hall of Fame honored that history at the 2010 Induction Ceremony by celebrating John Fogerty’s classic baseball song “Centerfield.”
That tradition will continue this year when Terry Cashman’s hit “Talkin’ Baseball (Willie, Mickey and the Duke)” will be honored during Hall of Fame Weekend 2011. On Friday, a musical group a little newer to the scene got their first taste of Cooperstown.
The Baseball Project is a musical group that formed in 2007 to perform songs about baseball. The group is made up of Steve Wynn (also of Dream Syndicate), his wife Linda Pitmon, Scott McCaughey (also of The Minus 5) and Mike Mills of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee R.E.M.
“The song ideas are flowing,” said Wynn during their visit to the Hall of Fame.
The Baseball Project will be performing tonight at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown and had to make a stop at baseball heaven as part of the trip. The group and some of their crew received a “backstage” tour of the Hall of Fame and were able to go into the Museum’s collections storage to see some artifacts not currently on display.
“I feel like I could really hit something with this,” said Mills when he felt the weight of the bat Ted Williams used to record his last hit.
The group got to see the trombone case from the baseball classic, “The Natural,” as well as items like a ball signed by astronauts.
“Baseball is all weaved in with American culture, so there are all kinds of items that relate,” said Mills.
McCoughey’s favorite artifact was a Babe Ruth jersey he got to hold and be photographed with.
“My dad’s favorite player was Ruth, so this is pretty cool,” he said.
The group, who released their second album Volume 2: High and Inside in March, checked out artifacts like a jersey worn by the Braves manager Billy Southworth made of satin to show up better under lighting during night games and even some snare drums used by the Brooklyn Dodgers Symphony Band.
One thing is for sure – the band finally got the official answer to a lyrical question they have had for years about the baseball classic “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” when they got to view the original sheet music in the Hall of Fame’s collection.
“Now we know the real lyrics – it’s never get back, not ever.”
Don’t be surprised if the group is inspired by their trip to Cooperstown to write a hit that is honored at a Hall of Fame Weekend in the near future.
Samantha Carr is the manager of web and digital media for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.