Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Oct 28th 2009 3:00PM by Dan Reilly
"As a little boy, there were no major league teams on the West Coast so I adopted the New York Yankees," he says. "I had decided that the center of the world, basically, was center field of Yankee stadium. Babe Ruth [a right fielder] and Joe DiMaggio had played there and Mickey Mantle was there at that time. They certainly got all the notoriety, and that's very easy for a little boy to pick up as a role model. Much, much later in my life, about 1984, I was essentially making a comeback. I had been away from the music business, out of the limelight for 10 years, maybe longer. I said, 'Why don't I just call [the album] 'Centerfield'?' because I'm going to be back in center field. That's the way I was perceiving it."
"I just had an album title, so I challenged myself to write a song about center field, about baseball," he continues. "It was one of the easier things I've ever done because once I triggered the concept, almost every cliché that I ever heard came rolling out of me. I've always told people the only ones I didn't use were 'game of inches' and 'up for a cup of coffee.'"
The album, released in 1985, hit No. 1 on the charts and became the biggest seller of his post-Creedence career. And just as the song is a ballpark staple today, it didn't take long for Fogerty to hear it being played at games. "It happened right away that year," he says. "I used to go hunting quite a bit at a place I had in Oregon, a little village where you were an hour away from civilization. I was sitting in a little cafeteria with a few hunter types, and somehow they rigged up a satellite dish [to watch the '85 World Series]. Lo and behold, between innings they were playing 'Centerfield.' Nobody up there was aware of my current career, so I'm sitting there rather incognito and that's the first I remember. That's when it started."
These days, Fogerty, who switched allegiances to the Oakland A's as he grew older, follows baseball fairly regularly, listening to games on the radio when he's out for a run. "I assumed it would end up in the World Series with the Yankees and St. Louis," he says. "It's my favorite time of the year as far as being able to watch a lot of baseball on television. I'm rooting for the Yankees."
With the Bronx Bombers being the inspiration for one of his biggest songs, Fogerty had a dream come true when the team asked him to perform 'Centerfield' before the first game at the new Yankee Stadium. "That was the absolute total honor of my life," he recalls, a tinge of boyhood wonder in his voice. "It was just really fantastic, a wonderful memory."