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Friday, March 25, 2011

Eddie Layton

One of my childhood heroes, Eddie Layton, was the master of the Hammond Organ, with his principal gig being at the "House That Ruth Built" - Yankee Stadium. Eddie regaled us with his captivating ditties like "Hava Negila"(a fan favorite when Ron Blomberg or Kenny Holtzman were introduced), "La Cucaracha" for Zoilo Versalles and Celerino Sanchez and a somber "Ave Maria" after the 9/11 attack in New York.

"I thought that a sacrifice fly had something to do with killing an insect", he recalled in an interview with National Public Radio, shortly after his retirement at the end of the 2003 baseball season. "I didn't know where first base was or third base. But I quickly learned within a week, and I started doing the famous chants, the hand-clapping things, and the dun-dun-dun-dun-da-dun."

And I was the first guy to do that, he said of the "charge."

''I've had my day,'' he told The New York Times in October 2003 as he closed his career. ''Playing with 50,000 watts of power, what rock star has an amplifier like that? I play for up to 56,000 people a night. Not even Madonna has done those kind of numbers.''

Eddie passed in December of 2004 as ball clubs and corporate conglomerates had moved onto pre-recorded pablum for musical game interludes and entertainment. I don't know but I yearn for the mighty Hammond every time I go to a game................

Here's Eddie showing his chops on "Tico, Tico"