5 most infamous seventh-inning stretch performances in Cubs history

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Mike Ditka / Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Never had fans heard ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame” sung so fast.

July 5, 1998. NFL Hall of Famer and Chicago Bears legend Mike Ditka was slated to do the stretch at Wrigley Field. When the top of the seventh ended…Ditka was not in the booth. Broadcasters Chip Caray and Steve Stone had to improvise. Stone grabbed the mic and announced to the crowd that he and his partner were going to have to sing if Ditka did not show up within the next moment. Fans booed the fact that it looked like they were not going to hear Ditka sing the stretch.

Stone and organist Gary Pressey geared up for the first notes of the song when there was a pause. Ditka was storming in as fast as he could into the press box. “Here he comes, hold on,” said Stone. The crowd cheered. Finally, the guest of honor emerged and went straight towards Stone who announced his arrival. Without a word, he grabbed the mic right from Stone’s hand and immediately yelled, “A one! And a two! And a three!”

It only took roughly 27 seconds for Ditka to belt out the entire song in a high-pitch yell. Pressey could barely keep up the organ tune with him. The footage from the WGN broadcast shows Caray and other media members inside laughing during the performance. He put the mic down, raised his arm as the packed house at Wrigley Field roared.