Cookie Monster

6 of Wrigley Field's worst 7th-inning stretch renditions in recent memory

6 of Wrigley Field's worst 7th-inning stretch renditions in recent memory

The seventh-inning stretch is a sacred tradition at Wrigley Field. Harry Caray passionately performed “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” every home game during his tenure as Cubs radio play-by-play man, previously doing so late in his tenure with the White Sox.

Caray died in 1998 and the Cubs have continued the tradition in his honor ever since, using a rotating cast of celebrities and former players as guest conductors. Last season, Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster performed at the Friendly Confines.

Some renditions are more memorable than others, though not in an endearing way like Cookie Monster’s. NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon sang 15 years ago Sunday, and not only did he refer to the ballpark as “Wrigley Stadium,” but also was off pace and didn’t really know the lyrics altogether.

Cubs fans showered Gordon with a chorus of boos, to which all he could do was chuckle and finish as fast as possible. 

Singing in front of 40,000 people isn’t easy, so it’s hard to be too tough on those whose appearances go awry. Nevertheless, guest singers know what they’re signing up for. On the anniversary of Gordon’s performance, here are five more of Wrigley’s worst in recent memory.

Mike Ditka — June 5, 1998

Well, Ditka certainly provided some energy. “Da Coach” didn’t take a breath in his 26-second blaring performance; perhaps he was winded from rushing up to the booth, to which he arrived a few moments late.

Ozzy Osbourne — Aug. 17, 2003

This isn’t a ranking of bad performances, but Osbourne sits atop the leaderboard anyhow. The Black Sabbath vocalist started off singing “Let’s go out to the ball game” before breaking into a mumble streak of made-up words. The look on Kerry Wood’s face summarizes things well.

Mr. T — May 25, 2009

It didn’t sound too good, but it sure was enthusiastic. Way to do your thing, Mr. T.

David Cross — Sept. 21, 2013

Hard to say what Cross, a stand-up comedian and actor, was going for here. He starred in three “Alvin and the Chipmunks” films and, fittingly, screeched into the mic a couple of times. Maybe it was all in jest? He ended his rendition by saying, “That was awful. I’m so sorry.” 

Scottie Pippen — Oct. 22, 2016

Pippen performed the stretch in the biggest game in Cubs history (at that point) — the pennant-clincher in 2016. The Bulls Hall-of-Famer was on tune to start before mixing up lyrics, then passing the mic to the animated Wrigley crowd. 

We’ll give Pippen a slight pass here, considering he brought six championships to Chicago during his playing days.  

With that, I'll leave you with this:

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2019 top Cubs memories: Cookie Monster sings the 7th-inning stretch

2019 top Cubs memories: Cookie Monster sings the 7th-inning stretch

With the year coming to a close, NBC Sports Chicago is looking back on the top moments from the 2019 Cubs season.

There have been many memorable renditions of the 7th-inning stretch at Wrigley Field over the years.

Memorable, meaning unique (Chicago Bears legend Mike Ditka, actor Mr. T); faulty (NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, who referred to the ballpark as “Wrigley Stadium”); and brutal (Ozzy Osbourne, who mumbled his way through the song because he didn’t know the lyrics).

The group of memorable Wrigley renditions gained a new tier last season: downright fantastic — from a 'monster,' nonetheless.

Cookie Monster paid Wrigley a special visit on June 27. The loveable, fuzzy, blue guy took time out of his busy cookie-eating schedule on Sesame Street to sing his heart out, much to the delight of the near 40,000 patrons in attendance.

It was evident we were in for a treat from the start, as Cookie Monster dropped the greatest opening line in Wrigley’s 7th-inning stretch history.

“Hello, Cub fans. Today, ‘C’ is for Cubbies,” he said.

There’s no topping that. Not a chance.

Cookie Monster nailed his performance (obviously) even sticking to the line, “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks,” rather than requesting cookies. Which, let’s be honest, are the better snack option of the three.

That’s not to say he didn’t get his cookie request in, though…

“Let’s. Get. Some. Cookies,” he said at the end of his rendition.

Legendary.

To top it all off, the Cubs hung on for a 9-7 win and closer Craig Kimbrel notched the save in his team debut.

What a performance. What a day. Cookie Monster’s place is Wrigley Field history is secured, which we knew was going to happen one day, right?

Watch the video above for a full look at Cookie Monster’s performance.

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