Baseball players like money. A lot. So much so that even when they are being paid millions, they still can’t resist a good get rich quick scheme and one of the best is the recording of the novelty record. The 80’s were a golden age for sports novelty records, thanks to the Chicago Bears “Super Bowl Shuffle” in ‘85, but they've been around since the ‘40s. All you had to do was get a couple of players on a team into a recording studio to talk over a syncopated beat and then you watch the money come in like Scrooge McDuck. Didn't always work that way though.
We've collected the eight cheesiest “songs” recorded by Major League baseball players. Note: we said “song” which is why the 1977 California Angel’s concept album, produced by the rock prog band Yes, “Baseball-Oplia” about a post-apocalyptic world where war has been abolished and all disputes are settled on the diamond is ineligible. Although Sid Monge’s and Nolan Ryan’s duet on the twenty two minute “9th Inning Suite” is deeply moving. Here’s the list:
8 8."Get Metsmerized" (1986, George Foster, Darryl Strawberry, Howard Johnson, etc.)
Mets fans mostly hate George Foster for his lousy performance on the field. This is a whole other reason. Clocking in at 4:42, “Get Metsmerized” is one of the bigger pieces of crap in recorded history which is shocking because you’re talking about the vocal talents of George Foster, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Lenny Dykstra, Rafael Santana and others. Sample lyrics include, “I’m George Foster / I love this team / The Mets are better then the Big Red Machine.”
7 7."Talking Blue Jays Baseball" (1986, Terry Cashman)
In 1981, Terry Cashman recorded a song called “Talking Baseball” which paid glory to all the great ball players from the 30’s to the present. In the baseball strike of the same year, this song really hit the nostalgia bulls eye and it become a big hit. If there’s no sport more American then baseball, then there’s no creative urge more American then taking something people like and running it into the ground. See the second and third “Hangover” movies as a fine example.
6 6.“(Do the) Charlie Hustle” (1979, Pamela Neal)
5 5.“I Love Mickey” (1956, Teresa Brewer)
The best thing that can be said about this tune is that it clocks in at only a minute and forty five seconds. The song is a dialogue between Teresa and the object of her affection, Mickey Mantle. She sings “I love Mickey” to which the Mick replies “Mickey who?” “Mickey You.”
4 4.“No Means No” (2003, Anisha Nicole feat. Tony Gwynn)
Not technically a song about baseball but Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn does contribute backing vocals, probably because his daughter is lead singer, Anisha Nicole. Your author became acquainted with the tune when he was handed the CD single in 2006 on his way into a Padres game. Hey, The Beatles can’t say that, can they?
3 3.“Phillies Fever / Ting A Ling Double Play” (1975, Dave Cash, Larry Bowa, Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski)
It didn’t seem fair to only pick one song off of this wonderful 45 so we included both. “Phillies Fever” combines the C.B. radio craze with the musical gifts of the greatest third baseman of all-time and supporting cast. In the tune, we learn that Veteran’s Stadium is “the hippest place in town” and that Greg Luzinski will get to batting practice right after he finishes his third cheeseburger.
2 “I’m A Ball Player” (1982, Lenny Randle)
Lenny Randle played twelve years in the majors and was a good slap hitter who could play pretty much any infield position. He was also one of the late Billy Martin’s favorite players, so the guy, obviously, knows how to get along with people. What Lenny Randle wasn't, was a singer.
1 “Heart” (1969, New York Mets)
You win the World Series, you get some perks. You get invited to a seemingly never ending series of banquets. You get endorsements and you get to cut a disc. So, fresh after defeating the Baltimore Orioles in the 1969 World Series, the underdog Mets rushed into a studio to cut “Heart,“ from the musical “Damn Yankees.” Most people know it as “You Gotta Have Heart.“
Anything the Mets touched that winter turned to gold. They even performed, and that’s a generous representation of what occurred, the song on The Ed Sullivan Show. Yes, Bud Harrelson was a tough little short stop but he also sings like an angel. It is, however, probably the only song ever recorded with over six hundred wins represented on it thanks to the musical talents of Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver. Not even Styx can say that.
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