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St. Louis Cardinals organ player Ernie Hays dies at 77

The St. Louis Cardinals' longtime organ player, Ernie Hays, died Wednesday at the age of 77.

Dilip Vishwanat

The St. Louis Cardinals longtime organ player and general local icon Ernie Hays died Wednesday at the age of 77, according to a report from KSDK. Two generation of St. Louis sports fans grew up with Hays, who began at Busch Memorial Stadium when organs were ubiquitous and retired, in 2010, when they were all but extinct.

Cardinals baseball wouldn't be the same without "Here Comes the King"; here it is for posterity's sake, on one of my all-time favorite YouTube videos:

This year I wasn't able to get to a single Cardinals game, for the first time since—well, probably since 1995, the first year I went to a Cardinals game. It's been weird; the season never felt quite real to me, not even when they were a win away from the World Series.

Hearing that song once, though, brings me all the way back to Busch Stadium. Not even the current one—the old one, with full peanut-shell ground cover and the crackling sound system.

(I'd be remiss if I didn't link out to this crazy Riverfront Times piece from 2005, in which he rages against prerecorded music and just about everything else.)