The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, isn’t just for players, managers, and other people who made baseball great.
The playing of John Fogerty’s 1985 baseball-themed hit “Centerfield” is as much a part of a baseball game as peanuts and the seventh-inning stretch. In 2010, the Baseball Hall of Fame formally recognized this musical contribution to the national pastime by enshrining the song in 2010.
Here’s another baseball-mythologizing song recognized by the Hall. In 1981, singer-songwriter Terry Cashman had a hit with the folky, soft rock song “Talkin’ Baseball.” With lyrics mentioning the greats of baseball past (such as Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle), the song’s nostalgic feel helped propel it up the charts in a year that baseball was tainted by a strike that canceled baseball for most of the summer.
Earlier this year, the Simpsons patriarch got his own plaque in the Hall of Fame, just like real players do. The HOF commissioned it in honor of The Simpsons’ many baseball-themed episodes, such as when Homer’s work softball team is stacked with Major League ringers like Roger Clemens and Ken Griffey, Jr., and when Homer tries to prevent the local Springfield Isotopes from moving to Albuquerque.
“Who’s on First”
Abbott and Costello debuted their incredibly famous baseball/wordplay routine “Who’s on First” in 1938. The Hall of Fame recognized the importance of the sketch in baseball history by officially giving it an exhibit in 1956. It now plays on a constant loop at the Hall of Fame museum. (And just so you remember: Who is playing first, What is at second, and I Don’t Know is on third.)
The Baseball Hall of Fame hasn’t left out anybody involved, it would seem. Since 1953, ten umps have been enshrined in Cooperstown. The most recent inductee, in 2013: late 19th-century and early 20th-century referee Hank O’Day.