October 18, 2017
By William Glanz, Senior Editor, SoundExchange
Music has been part of baseball’s soundtrack for more than a century.
It began with “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in 1908. That song remains the unofficial anthem of the sport. But today, baseball’s soundtrack also includes “walk-up” songs – a segment of a song played when a hitter walks to the batter box. The songs help players get motivated and let fans know what genres and artists players prefer.
The History of the Walk-Up Song
Most people believe walk-up songs began in the 1970s with Chicago White Sox organist Nancy Faust, who played live music during games. Now stadiums play recorded walk-up songs (but several also have organists, including the Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals). In 1994, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra told the team which songs to play before his at-bats.
Now players find the music nearly indispensable, and picking the right music is crucial.
Just before the Major League Baseball playoffs began October 3, we asked teams headed for the playoffs to provide us with the walk-up songs their players identified this season. We compiled a list of songs that the most recognizable players in the postseason want to hear when they walk up to the plate.
Play ball (and rock out)!
Los Angeles Dodgers
- Clayton Kershaw, Pitcher
The Chainsmokers, “Let You Go”
- Yasiel Puig, Right Field
Isabelle Valdez, “Apoyate En Mi”
Jencarlos, “Dure Dure”
- Francisco Lindor, Shortstop
Digital Underground, “The Humpty Dance”
69 boyz, “Tootsee Roll”
Boston Red Sox
- Dustin Pedroia, Second Base
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, “The Wash”
New York Yankees
- Aaron Judge, Right Field
Travis Scott, “Butterfly Effect”
- Jacoby Ellsbury, Center Field
Drake, “Can’t Have Everything”
- Ben Zobrist, Second Base
Julianna Zobrist, “The Dawn”
- Jake Arrieta, Pitcher
Ronald Jenkees, “Disorganized Fun”
- Bryce Harper, Right Field
Don Oman (feat. Tego Calderon), “Bandolero”
Sam Hunt, “Body Like a Back Road”
Kendrick Lamar, “Fearless”
Taylor Swift, “Look What You Made Me Do”
- Jayson Werth, Left Field
Ramin Djawadi, “Game of Thrones Theme Song”
Flux Pavilion, “I Can’t Stop”
John Williams, “The Jedi Steps and Finale”
Warren Zevon, “Werewolves of London”
- Paul Goldschmidt, First Base
Randy Houser, “We Went”