How 'Take Me Out To The Ball Game' Is A Feminist Anthem
All done with singing the chorus to one of the most famous sports songs in history? Aces. Let’s dive right into the story of how “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was most probably inspired by American actress and significant suffragette Trixie Friganza:
See, while Friganza was entertaining her fellow Americans as a vaudeville actress and supporting her fellow Sisters by giving speeches at rallies about women’s right to vote, she was also dating Jack Norworth – the lyricist who penned the song about peanuts and Cracker Jacks and balls in 1908. While the chorus is the most famous part known today, the original verses talk of a woman named Katie who loves baseball, making a stand, speaking her mind, and being quite the entertainer:
Katie Casey was baseball mad,
Had the fever and had it bad.
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev’ry sou Katie blew.
On a Saturday her young beau
Called to see if she’d like to go
To see a show, but Miss Kate said “No,
I’ll tell you what you can do:
Take me out to the ball game...
Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names.
Told the umpire he was wrong,
Good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:
Take me out to the ball game….
Historians believe that Friganza was the “Katie” in the song, a progressive woman front and center in an arena dominated by men. At a suffrage rally in New York City in 1908, she declared to a crowd: “I do not believe any man – at least no man I know – is better fitted to form a political opinion than I am.” Friganza also appeared on two covers of the original song’s sheet music, and she loved her some baseball. Norworth himself admitted to never having been to a baseball game when he wrote the song.
Around a month after copyrighting his song, Norworth shocked everyone by marrying a completely different woman, seemingly out of nowhere. No loss for Friganza, though, because she went on to do well, good and strong. After all, she’s still making the gang sing her song.
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Top Image: Arturo Pardavila III/Wiki Commons