By ANDREW TAVANI
Talk about two worlds colliding in a once-in-a lifetime burst of pure sensational delight that bridges the gap between the generations and the music and sports worlds. During the 7th inning stretch of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday, June 20, Cubs legend Ernie Banks and guitar legend Tom Morello teamed up to sing 'Take Me Out To The Ballgame.'
Ernie Banks, known as 'Mr. Cub,' is a Hall of Famer and one of baseball's all-time great players. His 512 round-trippers put him in a tie with Eddie Matthews for 21st on MLB's all-time home run list. Over the course of his illustrious 19-year career, Banks won two National League MVP awards (in 1958 and 1959) and was an 11-time all-star. He became a fan favorite in Chicago for his sunny disposition and his trademark phrase, 'Let's play two!' In November of 2013, The Huffington Post notes, President Obama awarded Banks the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Tom Morello rocketed to prominence as the innovative guitarist of the 1990s rap/metal band Rage Against the Machine. In 2012, he was ranked 57th on a Guitar World list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All-Time. Morello's unique style of playing is difficult to put into words, but a music writer described it as the 'euphonious and cacophonous, rendered with a whiplash poetic flair, a fullness of feeling that amounts to its own kind of bounty.' If you're not familiar with his music, it's probably best to just listen to some of his work. If you are familiar with his music, well then, you know why he's so awesome.
Morello is no stranger to collaborating with superstars. After the breakup of Rage Against the Machine around the turn of the millennium, he and the musicians from Rage teamed up with Soundgarden front man Chris Cornell to form the super group Audioslave. Morello has sold millions of records some of which have been certified double and triple platinum over the years -- both with Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave.
More recently, Morello has been touring with Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band. In September of 2012, he and Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder 'played two' shows at Wrigley Field with The Boss. And earlier this year Morello and Vedder joined Bruce and company onstage in Australia for a ripping cover version of AC/DC's anthem 'Highway to Hell.'
Morello was born in the Harlem section of Manhattan in 1964, but was raised in a Chicago suburb and, in a Rolling Stone essay on how he would fix the notoriously hapless franchise, describes himself as a lifelong Cubs fan. He posted a photo of himself and Banks singing on Twitter with the message, 'Singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" with Ernie Banks! #MrCub #SimonAndGarfunkelHarmonies #CubsWin'. Watch Banks, now 83, and Morello, 50, come together and perform a memorable rendition of the iconic baseball tune above. It's an instant classic.
Morello also threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game, and then posted on Instagram that he threw 45 mph heat on the outside corner for a strike. The Cubs, who infamously haven't won a World Series in more than a hundred years, defeated the Pirates, 6-3.
According to ESPN.com, celebs singing 'Take Me Out To The Ballgame' is a Wrigley Field tradition that continues the legacy of fabled Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray, who used to sing the song during the 7th inning stretch. Caray died in 1998 at age 78. Click here for videos of some of the most memorable performances over the years, including Bill Murray, Mike Ditka and John Cusack.
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