A new series on the Dutch Baseball Hangout. Baseball related songs. Next to THE baseball anthem “take me out to the ballgame” there are plenty of other songs with a link to baseball.
Today the first one: Centerfield by John Fogerty.
John Fogerty is mainly known for his role as lead singer, lead guitarist and principal songwriter of the band Creedence Clearwater Revival. After the band split up after 1972, Fogerty worked on a successful solo career.
The song outfield was the title track of the album with the same name. Originally the song was the B-side of the single “Rock and Roll Girls.”
Fogerty stated he got the inspiration for the song from center field at Yankee Stadium. Fogerty grew up on the West Coast in an era in which the area did not have an MLB team. The closest thing to MLB for Fogerty was Joe DiMaggio, who played on the Yankees’ squad. DiMaggio was born in San Francisco. According to Fogerty, the idea of a Major League team was really mythical to him. Through his own knowledge, the way he filtered this faraway dream, it seemed that the center field was the coolest place. The No. one guy seemed to be a center fielder, and he seemed to play in Yankee Stadium.” The song was also inspired by his frustration watching a struggling team on TV, where he would imagine himself to be a rookie sitting on a bench, “I would always yell at the TV, “Put me in coach, put me in”, Fogerty said.
The song centerfield mentions several baseball greats like Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays and Ty Cobb, who happened to be all center fielders.
In this song, Fogerty quoted three persons. The first quote comes from Chuck Berry’s “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” as he used the phrase “rounding third, he was heading for home.” The second quote comes from the famous poem “Casey at the bat” as Fogerty mentions the name Casey. The third quote comes from former San Francisco Giants play-by-play announcer Lon Simmons as Fogerty used his home run call “Tell it goodbye.”
The song Centerfield is played during baseball games as teams change fields or before the game starts as the players of the home team take their positions.
In 2010, Fogerty became the only musician to be celebrated at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony when “Centerfield” was honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame.