Song Lyric Sunday — Put Me In, Coach

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, Jim Adams has challenged us to come up with songs that mention, reference, or talk about sports. My choice, as a fan of baseball, is John Fogerty’s song, “Centerfield.”

“Centerfield” was the title track from John Fogerty’s album Centerfield, Fogerty’s first solo album after a nine-year hiatus. Fogerty left Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1972 and released solo albums in 1973 and 1975, both of which sold poorly. For the next 10 years, Fogerty refused to record because of legal battles with his record company, but when Centerfield, the album, was released in 1985, it hit the mark thanks to this title track.

The song combines two of Fogerty’s passions: baseball and rock & roll. He was nervous about its reception, saying “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.”

“Centerfield” was inspired by Fogerty’s childhood memories of baseball, and although he didn’t play the game, he loved watching it and hearing the stories his father would tell about the legendary New York Yankees centerfielder Joe DiMaggio, who like Fogerty was from San Francisco. Fogerty said, “I’d hear about Ruth and DiMaggio, and as my dad and older brothers talked about the Babe’s exploits, their eyes would get so big. When I was a little kid, there were no teams on the West Coast, so the idea of a Major League team was really mythical to me. The players were heroes to me as long as I can remember.”

Fogerty added: “It is about baseball, but it is also a metaphor about getting yourself motivated, about facing the challenge of one thing or another at least at the beginning of an endeavor. About getting yourself all ready, whatever is necessary for the job.”

The song was also inspired by Fogerty’s frustration watching a struggling team on TV, where he would imagine himself to be a rookie sitting on a bench. “I would always yell at the TV, ‘Put me in coach, put me in!’”

“Centerfield” is now commonly played at baseball games across the United States. Along with “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” it is one of the best-known baseball songs. In 2010, Fogerty became the only musician to be celebrated at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony when “Centerfield” was honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Here are the lyrics to “Centerfield.”

Well, I beat the drum and hold the phone
The sun came out today
We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field
A-roundin’ third and headed for home
It’s a brown-eyed handsome man
Anyone can understand the way I feel

Oh, put me in, coach, I’m ready to play today
Put me in, coach, I’m ready to play today
Look at me, I can be centerfield

Well, I spent some time in the Mudville Nine
Watching it from the bench
You know I took some lumps, when the Mighty Casey struck out
So say hey, Willie, tell Ty Cobb
And Joe DiMaggio
Don’t say it ain’t so, you know the time is now

Oh, put me in, coach, I’m ready to play today
Put me in, coach, I’m ready to play today
Look at me, I can be centerfield

Yeah, got it, I got it

Got a beat-up glove, a home-made bat
And a brand new pair of shoes
You know I think it’s time to give this game a ride
Just to hit the ball and touch ’em all
A moment in the sun
It’s a-gone and you can tell that one good-bye

Oh, put me in, coach, I’m ready to play today
Put me in, coach, I’m ready to play today
Look at me (yeah), I can be centerfield

Oh, put me in, coach, I’m ready to play today
Put me in, coach, I’m ready to play today
Look at me, gotta be, centerfield

15 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Put Me In, Coach

  1. aisasami August 22, 2021 / 3:49 am

    Such a classic song. Makes me miss watching baseball in the US and hearing this song)and others while doing the Seven Inning Strech) It is a different experience here in Japan.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nope, Not Pam August 22, 2021 / 4:42 am

    Nothing beats a sports song written by a fan 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  3. bushboy August 22, 2021 / 6:01 am

    It’s such a great song 🙂 I love the sound of the ball hitting the bat at around 2:54
    I used to play baseball for the high school team. I was pitcher for most of the time. Now I have rotor cuff issues in my right shoulder and can’t throw for peanuts

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Maggie August 22, 2021 / 6:35 am

    The chorus of this sounds familiar, but I think it was released at a time I was living under a rock because I don’t remember it well. Great song and the lyrics are so well written. It makes me think of my dad.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marleen August 22, 2021 / 7:05 am

    I thought I was going to be reading about why someone would want a ticket in coach, rather than the business or first-class section. But then I saw the placement of the comma. What do we have here? I wondered. Interesting song… I’ve never heard it before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen August 22, 2021 / 7:47 am

      Technically, I think I have heard it. And I wondered, When did that happen? With very few exceptions, I was tuned out of popular music in the eighties.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. newepicauthor August 22, 2021 / 8:21 am

    Great choice Fandanco and this may be the greatest sports song ever written.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Melanie B Cee August 22, 2021 / 9:03 am

    Oh what a great pick! I’d totally forgotten about this one! Fabulous choice Fandango! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango August 22, 2021 / 9:26 am

      Thanks, Melanie!


  8. leigha66 September 6, 2021 / 7:03 pm

    Loved CCR, love Fogerty,,, great music!

    Liked by 1 person

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