The single most important musical instrument in the history of baseball
December 31, 2015 10:38 AM   Subscribe

A few weeks ago the Chicago White Sox held a charity garage sale and auction, and among the items listed was "The single most important musical instrument in the history of baseball"

Yes, the Hammond Elegante 340100 that had been the domain of longtime White Sox ballpark organist Nancy Faust (Sweetheart of Comiskey Park, originator of "walk up music", first person to play "Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye" when an opposing player leaves a game, accompanist to Harey Carey singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" a zillion times ("OK Nancy!") before he moved the tradition to even greater renown on the north side in 1981) was auctioned off for charity and bought by perhaps the most singularly worthy person in the world, mentee and friend of Ms. Faust, Harvard librarian and the Boston Red Sox' Fenway Park organist, Josh Kantor.

And who's crazy enough to drive it from Chicago-Boston in January? Musicians Kelly Hogan,
Gerald Dowd, and Max Crawford, midwestern baseball fans and friends of Mr. Kantor.

Follow the hashtag #GreatAmericanOrganTransplant as the intrepid travellers shuttle the instrument from Comiskey through Cooperstown, to finally arrive in Boston in time for the Hot Stove Cool Music charity concert on January 9th.

Oh, and keep a tight handle on your dirty organ jokes until after the trip.
posted by dirtdirt (14 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
I have nothing to add to this post, but hoo boy did I flag it as fantastic.
posted by Mchelly at 12:24 PM on December 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

Great post. Here's a neat NYT piece on Nancy Faust and how she started improvising music at games.

The letter to her mentioning that “Little [musical] comic gimmicks that involve umpires, players, fans, etc., are always welcome" reminds of the a time when such was most unwelcome: 'Three Blind Mice' Gets Florida Music Intern Ejected From Baseball Game.
posted by exogenous at 12:30 PM on December 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

I am trying to resist the urge to buy a Nancy Faust bobblehead on fleabay.
posted by exogenous at 12:39 PM on December 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

Aw! Me too, now, Exogenous! I totally forgot to check eBay. This would have been the perfect link for "Sweetheart of Comiskey Park!"
posted by dirtdirt at 12:44 PM on December 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

Buying an organ is one thing, but moving it with all the pipes etc is a major task, the Scottish Theatre Organ Preservation Society (STOPS) have some descriptions of whats involved.
posted by Lanark at 2:32 PM on December 31, 2015

I guess we just can have nice things.
posted by box at 6:01 PM on December 31, 2015

I had one of those in the studio where I rehearsed with my band. I eventually gave it away, because it is useless in a rock band. Unlike "traditional" Hammonds (B3, C3, A-100) it does not have a mechanical tone generator, it's all solid state.

A B3 may not be particularly "portable," but I lugged one around for four decades in service as the roadie for the Sons of Champlin. (I got the job in 1968 because I was tough enough to get a B3 up a flight of stairs with one other roadie.) The Elegante can't be moved without considerably more effort, and a huge truck.

It didn't make any difference to me because I play guitar, but the real Hammond players hated the Elegante, because all they are interested in is the keyboard, not all the (literal) bells and whistles, and they found the difference in tone from solid state to analog disturbing.
posted by Repack Rider at 6:37 PM on December 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

As a Chicagoan, this makes me very happy. Thanks for posting this!
posted by persona au gratin at 3:09 AM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's great to see Max Crawford's name on the blue. He is a long time member of the band Poi Dog Pondering, has worked with Stereolab, Wilco, Archer Prewitt, Scott Lucas & the Married Men and Mono. He works the video board at Wrigley Field, and has tended bar at Chicago's Metro for over two decades.
posted by 1367 at 9:20 AM on January 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

This post is fantastic, but that Na Na Hey Hey video is the icing on the cake!
posted by TheCoug at 10:06 AM on January 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

I saw a guy wearing a White Sox shirt yesterday. After long years of searching, I had finally found the other White Sox fan in Indianapolis! Then it occurred to me that he was probably just visiting for the holidays, leaving me once again sad and alone as the only one in the city.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:03 PM on January 2, 2016

And they're off!
posted by dirtdirt at 2:01 PM on January 6, 2016

If you only read/view one tweet about this whole thing, let it be this one.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:18 PM on January 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Chicago Reader has the full recap: A crew of midwest musicians moves Nancy Faust's White Sox practice organ to Boston.
posted by zamboni at 9:33 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

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