After more than a decade of using only canned music at games, the Houston Astros brought back a live organist this season.
The Houston Astros may be mediocre on the field, but the front office did one thing right: bring back a game organist. Jim Connors, who was an organist for the team when the Astrodome was home in 1985-1987, is back behind the Hammond organ at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros have not had a live organist at the ballpark since 1995.
We associate organs with ballparks, but baseball was a relative latecomer when it comes to the organ and sports. Huge organs were once centerpieces of arenas: when Chicago Stadium opened in 1929 a huge pipe organ from Wisconsin's Barton Organ Company was prominently featured and in 1935 a Hammond electronic organ was installed in Madison Square Garden. The first organ used in an MLB ballpark came in 1941 when the Chicago Cubs installed an organ as a one-day promotional gimmick. Today there are still a handful of organists in MLB ballparks, including Chicago's Nancy Faust and Minnesota's Sue Nelson, who replaced the legendary Ronnie Newman.
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