I was out of town for yesterday’s home opener at White Sox park, so I listened to the game on the radio. The fans were loud, the Sox scored right away, Edwin Jackson struck out 13 batters and we won. All great stuff, but I couldn’t help but notice. Something was missing. For the first time in 42 years, legendary White Sox organist Nancy Faust was not playing on opening day. Loyal blog readers might remember the piece I wrote for the Chicago Tribune about Nancy Faust when she retired last year:
During one game, I had my Seeing Eye dog Hanni lead me to Nancy’s booth so I could thank her for helping me track
what was happening on the field. Nancy was absolutely lovely in person, and Hanni and I waltzed back to our seats to a pipe organ chorus of “How Much is that Doggie in the Window?”
A reporter interviewed Nancy for an article in yesterday’s Daily Herald about what she’d be doing on her first day off work. Probably watching the game on TV, she said. The story credited Nancy for reinventing the role of a ballpark organist by incorporating rock and pop songs into her repertoire, and gave a shout out to Rollie Hudson (another organist I’ve blogged about here). It also listed some of the clever songs she’d come up with over the years:
- A Whiter Shade of Pale for Henry Blanco
- In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida for player Pete Incaviglia
- I Could Have Danced All Night for Chone Figgins
Don’t get that last one? It’s a reference to Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady, of course. Rhymes with Figgins! My favorite literary reference from the Daily Herald article was this one:
Acquiescing to tastes beyond the literary library of most baseball fans, Faust once followed a fan’s suggestion to welcome Detroit Tiger Brandon Inge with The Hollies’ song “Bus Stop” in reference to the classic work “Bus Stop” by playwright William Inge. The next day, two fans excitedly rushed up to Faust to tell her that connection was brilliant.
“I guess I made three people happy,” Faust says. “The fan who suggested it and those two.”
Make that four happy people, Nancy. You may be retired, but these stories about you continue to make me smile.