If Yankee Stadium is baseball’s cathedral, Eddie Layton was its choirmaster. For more than three decades he manned the ballpark organ, and his playing—free form and chromatic—brought a special joy to the proceedings. Attention flagging in the stands? In he’d come with a slowly building Bum-Bum-Bum-Bum climaxed by three calls for CHARGE! A rally in the offing might bring Hava Nagila. A brush back? His patented trill—Brrrnnnnngggg!
Layton died on Sunday, a loss that will be felt deeply by all of us who care for tradition and cringe every time some blaring aural crime intrudes on our game from the pop charts. What more can we say? If we ever make it to that big ballpark in the sky, Eddie Layton will be there playing his uptempo rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the seventh-inning stretch. Farewell, old friend.