Hall of Fame to honor 'Talkin' Baseball' composer
Friday, March 18, 2011; 12:06 PM
-- As a minor league pitcher, Dennis Minogue hardly had Hall of Fame talent. Once he changed his tune - and name - and forever linked Willie, Mickey and the Duke, he earned his spot in Cooperstown.
The Hall will honor "Talkin' Baseball" composer and singer Terry Cashman this summer as part of induction weekend, 30 years after his song became a ballpark favorite.
Funny thing, the popular refrain almost included another player.
"I kept trying to fit Joe DiMaggio into the song and it wasn't working," Cashman told The Associated Press this week.
Once he dropped Joe D, the most familiar verse flowed rather easily.
"It just came into my head that way," Cashman said. "I sat down and wrote the whole thing in 20 minutes."
Cashman said he was inspired to write the song by a picture of all four great center fielders walking across the field at Shea Stadium during an Old-Timers' Day. He liked the photo so much, in fact, he bought the rights to use it.
The 69-year-old Cashman also was stirred by the memory of debates he had on the street corners of New York in the 1950s over which of the three future Hall of Famers was best. Being a Giants fan, Mays was his guy. Cashman said, however, that's not why Willie's name came first in the song - it simply sounded better that way.
Mays is the only one still alive from that famed trio. Mantle died more than 15 years ago and Snider passed away last month, with "Talkin' Baseball" often playing in memory for the Duke of Flatbush.
"And Willie will soon be 80," Cashman said.
Cashman will perform his song once again during ceremonies on July 23 that hail a writer and broadcaster, as well as executive Roland Hemond for lifetime achievement. The next day, Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven and Pat Gillick will be inducted.
"Just the idea I'm in the baseball Hall of Fame is like heaven for me," he said by phone from his home in the Bronx.