Fans of every stripe have the city of Chicago to thank for deep-dish pizza, Italian beef sandwiches and the Smashing Pumpkins — and baseball walk-up music.
The walk-up song — the snippet of music that’s blasted as a batter approaches the plate — really got its start in the Windy City in the early 1970s. It was the brainchild of Chicago White Sox organist Nancy Faust, who is credited on MLB.com as the originator of the genre.
“Now you call it walk-up music,” Faust said in an MLB.com article. “I just played intro music for whoever was coming up to bat.”
The music did far more than merely identify the man heading out to bat. It fired up the batter and the crowd and psyched out the opposing team.
It was a game changing idea, given that up until then, ballpark music was primarily a mix of the national anthem, organ standards and, of course, the iconic “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” A half century after Faust had the bright idea, walk-up music is now as much a part of the fabric of baseball as Cracker Jack and the crack of the bat.
These are some of the all-time best walk-up music choices and the players associated with those tunes. (This list is focused solely on walk-up music for batters, not the equally entertaining music used to introduce relief pitchers. That’s why you won’t see Mariano Rivera and “Enter Sandman” listed.)
Harold Baines and “He’s So Shy”
This walk-up music list goes up to bat with a tip of the hat to the originator herself — Faust, who played this classic R&B-pop number from Oakland’s The Pointer Sisters to bring Harold Baines to the plate. It was a good fit for the shy White Sox slugger, whose career included stints with the Oakland A’s from 1990 to 1992, as well as with the Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles and the team now known as the Cleveland Guardians.
Manny Machado and “Gasolina”
This home run hitter for the San Diego Padres has a number of good walk-up songs, including Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble,” but it’s this Daddy Yankee offering that fires us up the most. (We just don’t want to hear it if Machado is playing against our favorite teams.)
Josh Reddick and “Careless Whisper”
The outfielder’s choice of this silky Wham! pop ballad – pretty much the antithesis of the stereotypical walk-up song – further endeared him to A’s fans and helped cement his folk hero status in Oakland.
David Ortiz and “Big Poppa”
Of course, the man nicknamed Big Papi would turn to this Notorious B.I.G. classic for his walk-up music. We’re hoping organizers will play “Big Poppa” in Cooperstown, when the Red Sox icon is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame later this year.
Mike Yastrzemski and “When the Levee Breaks”
Who doesn’t like to get the Led (Zeppelin) out? San Francisco Giants fans certainly enjoyed hearing this great track played during the team’s blockbuster 2021 season, signaling that Yaz was on his way to the box.
Chipper Jones and “Crazy Train”
Opposing pitchers knew they were in trouble when this Ozzy Osbourne favorite kicked into gear, signaling that this Atlanta Braves great was ready to swing the lumber.
Charlie Blackmon and “Your Love”
You can’t go wrong selecting the best-loved tune from a band named The Outfield as your walk-up song. Just ask Colorado Rockies fans.
Randal Grichuk and “Here Comes the Boom”
Is that a threat? Well, let’s just say opposing pitchers were definitely feeling the heat when they played the St. Louis Cardinals and heard this Nelly number blasting. Added points for Nelly being a St. Louis guy.
Mark Canha and “Like a Virgin”
This UC Berkeley alum raised plenty of eyebrows and a goodly number of giggles when he picked this particular dance-pop tune as his walk-up song with the Oakland A’s. Word is, Canha wasn’t playing it for laughs. He’s a big Madonna fan.
Ken Griffey, Jr. and “Hip Hop Hooray”
Seattle Mariners fans will likely never hear this Naughty by Nature song again without having “Junior” — aka, “The Kid” or “The Natural” — come immediately to mind.
Kris Bryant and “Warm It Up”
The former Chicago Cubs player, who spent last season with the San Francisco Giants, found a certain symmetry in his walk-up choice: Kris Bryant with a Kris Kross song. Added bonus that Kris Kross makes us jump, of course.
Ronald Acuna Jr. and “La Player (Bandolera)”
This power hitter, who won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2018 with the Atlanta Braves, turned to this groovy number from reggaeton music duo Zion & Lennox for his walk-up song.
Source: Culled From Paradise Post.