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Longtime organist for Cardinals

FILE - In this June 29 2005 file phoorganist Ernie Hays' plays tune his booth beside press box overlooking baseball

FILE - In this June 29, 2005, file photo, organist Ernie Hays' plays a tune in his booth beside the press box overlooking the baseball field at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The Cardinals on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, announced the death of Ernie Hays, a St. Louis native who spent 40 seasons as the ballpark organist. Hays, who died Wednesday night, was 77 (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen) EDWARDSVILLE INTELLIGENCER OUT; THE ALTON TELEGRAPH OUT

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Updated: December 7, 2012 6:08AM

ST. LOUIS — Ernie Hays, an organist who was a fixture at St. Louis sporting events and provided the soundtrack of Cardinals baseball for four decades, has died, the team said Thursday.

The St. Louis native, who spent 40 seasons as the baseball team’s organist, died Wednesday night at age 77. A cause of death was not disclosed.

Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. called Mr. Hays “one of the premier sports organists in the country and a valued member of the Cardinals family.”

A classically trained pianist, Mr. Hays also worked as organist for the St. Louis Blues hockey team, college sports teams and for professional soccer in St. Louis.

But he was best known for his work at both the old Busch Stadium and the new one, which opened in 2006. His music was played at five World Series.

He began his sports music career when the Cardinals installed an organ in 1971. His version of “Here Comes The King,” a Budweiser beer advertising jingle, soon became a staple at every game. He also was among the first organists to play individualized “walk up” songs as players went to bat, and introduction music for relief pitchers.

He served in the Navy for four years before returning to St. Louis and earning an engineering degree from Washington University. He worked for many years as an engineering supervisor for the Bell Telephone System, much of that time while he was performing at sporting events.


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