The Library of Congress > Wise Guide > May 2011 > Take Me Out To the Ballgame
Take Me Out To the Ballgame

“Take Me Out to the Ballgame” has become the unofficial anthem of America’s national pastime. It was composed in 1908 and was recorded by all three of the major U.S. record companies, Victor, Columbia and Edison. Few copies of these recordings can still be found, which may indicate that initially the song was not as popular as it was to become later.

National League Park, Chicago, Giants vs. Cubs. Aug. 30, 1908. Geo. R. Lawrence Co. (Library of Congress). Original sheet music for “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” (Image/ New York Music Co.) 1908. Music Division.

An original recording, featuring Edward Meeker and the Edison Orchestra is among the sound recordings that have been selected for preservation by the Library of Congress. Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian of Congress, with advice from the Library’s National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB), is tasked with selecting every year 25 recordings that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and are at least 10 years old. The selections for the 2010 registry bring the total number of recordings to 325.

Among the selections are Tammy Wynette’s 1968 crossover hit, "Stand By Your Man"; the 1955 unauthorized recording of Mort Sahl’s concert "At Sunset," which is considered the first recording of modern stand-up comedy; Voice of America radio broadcasts by legendary jazz producer Willis Conover; the language of the last Yahi Indian in 1915; the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in 1944; the Boswell Sisters’ "It’s the Girl"; and the first recorded sounds ever captured, which hark back to 1853.

Other additions to the registry also feature notable performances by Nat "King" Cole, Les Paul, Lydia Mendoza, Blind Willie Johnson, The Sons of the Pioneers, George Crumb, John Fahey, Steely Dan and De La Soul.

For a complete listing of and more information on the new selections, you can visit the registry site, which includes information on all 325 recordings since 2002, as well each individual lists for each year, and background on the registry board.

Don’t see any favorites? The Library is currently accepting nominations for the next registry.

Not many fans are aware that “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is really romantic in nature, about a baseball-loving girl who asks her beau to take her to a game rather than a show. More information can be found in an article written in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the song’s copyright.