Where Did The Rhythmic Clapping Cheer At Baseball Games Come From?

Youtube, W.P.Harry Schouten
Youtube, W.P.Harry Schouten / Youtube, W.P.Harry Schouten

If you're a regular reader, you may have deduced that I go to a lot of baseball games. But even if it's your first trip out to the ballgame—or almost any other sporting event—it probably won't take you the full nine innings to pick up on one of the most prevalent parts of fan participation: clapping in a 2-3-4-2 pattern where the last two claps are sometimes replaced with "Let's go!"

The almost-intuitive cheer had to come from somewhere. A quick search might lead you to believe it's from John Fogerty's 1985 anthem to America's pastime, Centerfield—the "put me in, Coach," song.

This might explain the particularly strong association with baseball games, but the peppy clapping at the start of the song is actually sampled from an earlier tune that had been adopted by cheerleaders decades before.

"The Routers" was the name given to a hodgepodge group of studio musicians, led by Michael Z. Gordon (concurrently of the Marketts). Their first LP, released in 1962, was called "Let's Go! With the Routers," and the title track was essentially just two full minutes of clapping and cheering backed by guitar.

Local musician Lanny Duncan and his brother Robert were awarded the songwriting credits for the hit that became an instant cheerleading classic. Since then, the infectious rhythm has wormed its way from high school pep rallys all the way up to the big leagues.