Did John Fogerty Write “Centerfield” After Watching the MLB All-Star Game From the Centerfield Bleachers?
Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about baseball and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the baseball urban legends featured so far.
BASEBALL/MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: John Fogerty wrote “Centerfield” after watching the 1984 All Star Game from the centerfield bleachers at Candlestick Park.
One of the particularly interesting about baseball and songs about baseball is that while yes, there are a goodly amount of songs about baseball, there are not a whole lot of them that you would want to listen to when you’re not actually at a baseball game. John Fogerty spoke about this in a good interview with Tom Singer of MLB.com:
“Having grown up as a rock-and-roller, I was more into what kids my age were doing. Rock-and-roll has a certain set of formal dogmas, and the rule book says, ‘Anything that is perceived as lame, we don’t want it around here.’ Over the years it seemed like sports songs just didn’t qualify into the rock-and-roll lexicon. There was that unwritten distinction. It was never considered rock-and-roll.” Fogerty, naturally, challenged that notion with his classic 1985 tune, “Centerfield” (the title track to his comeback album of that year, an album that reached #1 on the Billboard charts) which both became an acclaimed rock ‘n’ roll song as well as a an instant baseball classic.
Nowadays, it is among the most famous songs ever written about baseball and it is even enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame (here is a picture of Fogerty at the event – note his baseball bat guitar)!!
There is a good deal of folklore about the song, which is about a baseball player who just wants a chance to play “Put me in, coach – I’m ready to play today; Look at me, I can be centerfield” – a sentiment that Fogerty explains also works as “a metaphor about getting yourself motivated, about facing the challenge of one thing or another at least at the beginning of an endeavor.” Probably the most common legend about the song is that Fogerty was inspired to write the song after watching the 1984 Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game in the center field bleachers in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, just a hop, skip and a jump from Berkeley, California, which is where Fogerty was born.
It is a good story – but is it true?
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