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Collection By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s

"Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?"

Words and music by Woodrow Buddy Johnson, June 1949. (Library of Congress, Music Division - EU 169446)

Jackie Robinson inspired a number of singers and songwriters to compose songs in his honor. In the years immediately following Robinson's major league debut in 1947, the Library of Congress Copyright Office received deposits of at least four songs with Robinson as their subject, including such titles as "The Jackie Robinson Boogie" and "Jackie Robinson Blues."

By far the best know song honoring Robinson is Buddy Johnson's classic, "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?" Johnson submitted this sheet music for copyright in June, 1949. In August of that year, his recording of the song (Decca 24675) hit its peak position on the charts at number 13. Today many baseball fans are familiar with Count Basie's recording on the Victor label (Victor 20-3514), featuring vocalist "Taps" Miller. This recording, made in the Victor studios in New York City on July 13, 1949, has become synonymous with the song itself.

The words in this hand-written copyright deposit sheet music are:

Did you see Jackie Robinson hit that ball?
It went zoom in cross the left field wall.
Yeah boy, yes, yes. Jackie hit that ball.

And when he swung his bat,
the crowd went wild,
because he knocked that ball a solid mile.
Yeah boy, yes, yes. Jackie hit that ball.
Satchel Page [i.e., Paige] is mellow,

so is Campanella,
Newcombe and Doby, too.
But it's a natural fact,
when Jackie comes to bat,
the other team is through.

Did you see Jackie Robinson hit that ball?
Did he hit it boy, and that ain't all.
He stole home.
Yes, yes, Jackie's real gone.

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