“Three Blind Mice” Over The Ballpark P.A. – Because Not Everyone Has A Copy Of X Blank X’s “You’re Full Of Shit”
Earlier this summer, the Fort Myers Miracle’s “music intern” (yeah, I know!) found himself 86′d from a game against Daytona after playing “Three Blind Mice” over the stadium tannoy following a disputed call (“Fort Myers’ Smart Aleck Intern – At Least He Didn’t Play Third Eye Blind”). Though at least one prior famous public performance of “Three Blind Mice” at a ballgame was noted in the CSTB piece, it seems the rich history of using said tune to enrage arbiters goes back much, much further. From Slate’s Adam K. Raymond (link swiped from Baseball Think Factory)
According to an Associated Press report from July of 1936, umpire and Norman Rockwell subject Beans Reardon “chased [pitcher] Jim Weaver off the Pittsburgh bench” for singing the song, proving that if catchers wear the tools of ignorance, umpires don the tools of sensitivity.
In 1941, the Cubs expanded the possibility of song-based heckling by introducing the first ballpark organ. Though Wrigley Field ivory tickler Roy Nelson stuck to friendlier fare, the musicians weren’t as kind in Brooklyn. In May 1942, Ebbets Field’s Gladys Goodding welcomed Bill Stewart, Ziggy Sears, and Tom Dunn to the field with umps’ least-favorite nursery rhyme. “It was a request number from a fan,” UPI reported.
The fan may have been a part of the Dodgers Sym-Phony, a ragtag band that kept up a running commentary on the on-field action with a rotating cast of horns and drums. “Three Blind Mice” was long part of the Sym-Phony’s repertoire, along with “The Hearse Song” (“The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out/ The worms play pinochle in your snout/ They eat your eyes, they eat your nose/ They eat the jelly between your toes”).
“The Brooklyn Sym-Phony used to be the worst for us—they would always play ‘The Three Blind Mice’ when we’d walk out on the field,” Beans Reardon said in a 1949 interview. “And that would eat up a feller like [umpire] Babe Pinelli. I said to the Babe, just ignore ’em, and he did and they stopped after awhile. Fans like you to growl back at ’ em.”