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How Beer Helped Baseball Become America's Pastime

This article is more than 7 years old.
A beer vendor during an exhibition spring training baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians Monday, March 4, 2013, in Mesa, Ariz. (Morry Gash/AP)
A beer vendor during an exhibition spring training baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians Monday, March 4, 2013, in Mesa, Ariz. (Morry Gash/AP)

Vaudeville performer Jack Norworth wrote the song "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in 1908 while riding on a subway train. Albert Von Tilzer set the words to music, and that same year, Edward Meeker recorded it.

Even though "Take Me out to the Ball Game" has become one of baseball's most famous anthems, both Norworth and Von Tilzer knew little about America's pastime, and had never even seen a game.

Which is why we thought it an appropriate way to introduce this next conversation. Because about 30 years before Norworth and Von Tilzer wrote their song, another man, similarly lacking in baseball savvy, had an even bigger impact on the sport.

His name was Chris von der Ahe.

In the 1880s, with a lot of gumption and gusto, Von der Ahe helped truly transformed baseball into America's game.

Guest

Edward Achorn, author, The Summer of Beer and Whiskey: How Brewers, Barkeeps, Rowdies, Immigrants, and a Wild Pennant Fight Made Baseball America's Game

This segment aired on May 27, 2013. The audio for this segment is not available.

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