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 > Little League Online > Learn More > World of Little League® > Pieces of Our Past > 2009 > Pieces of Our Past: December Week 3

Pieces of Our Past: December Week 3

Pieces of Our Past: December Week 3

The Greatest: Country Music Legend Kenny Rogers Performs Hit Song at 1999 Little League Baseball World Series

KennyRogersAlbum_152px

A hit single, “The Greatest,” is a song about life from a child’s point of view looked at through a baseball game.

Released by Kenny Rogers as part of his 1999 comeback album, “She Rides Wild Horses,” it holds a special place in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum in South Williamsport, Pa.

The acclaimed singer presented Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, with a framed print of the 1999 Little League World Series, the “She Rides Wild Horses” album cover and a gold cassette to commemorate the Recording Industry Association of America’s announcement that more than 500,000 copies of the cassette or compact disc were sold.

Mr. Rogers performed the song at the 1999 Little League Baseball World Series.

The song reached the Top 40 on Billboard’s Country Singles Chart and was a Country Music Television No. 1 video. The album was a Top 10 success the following year. The CMT video can be viewed, at: http://www.cmt.com/videos/kenny-rogers/96245/the-greatest.jhtml.

The song also has many references on YouTube where people have added their own video or still photographs to the song.

“The Greatest,” written by Don Schlitz, and “Buy Me a Rose,” another sentimental song featuring supporting vocals from Alison Kraus, both appeared on the album. The album returned Kenny Rogers to the top of the country charts after a long absence.

Mr. Schlitz is the same Nashville songwriter who wrote “The Gambler” which is referred to as Mr. Rogers’ signature song. Mr. Schlitz is a two-time Grammy-winning song writer, has won Country Songwriter of the Year award honors four times, and is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The Greatest
Little Boy, in a baseball hat
Stands in the field with his ball and bat
Says I am the greatest player of them all
Puts his bat on his shoulder and he tosses up his ball

And the ball goes up and the ball comes down
Swings his bat all the way around
The world's so still you can hear the sound
The baseball falls to the ground

Now the little boy doesn't say a word
Picks up his ball, he is undeterred
Says I am the greatest there has ever been
And he grits his teeth and he tries it again

And the ball goes up and the ball comes down
Swings his bat all the way around
The world's so still you can hear the sound
The baseball falls to the ground

He makes no excuses, He shows no fears
He just closes his eyes and listens to the cheers

Little boy, he adjusts his hat
Picks up his ball, stares at his bat
Says I am the greatest the game is on the line
And he gives his all one last time

And the ball goes up like the moon so bright
Swings his bat with all his might
And the world's so still as still can be
And the baseball falls, and that's strike three

Now it's supper time and his mama calls
Little boy starts home with his bat and ball
Says I am the greatest that is a fact
But even I didn't know I could pitch like that

"He makes no excuses, He shows no fears He just closes his eyes and listens to the cheers" - Don Schlitz & Kenny Rogers

This research was made possible through a General Operating Support Grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.


The Museum is located at 525 Route 15 Highway, just south of Williamsport, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and by group appointment from Labor Day through Memorial Day. Its hours are extended during the summer season. The facility is accessible to the disabled.

Rates are $5 for adults; $3 for those 62 and older; $1.50 for children between the ages of 5 and 13. There is no fee for children 4 or younger. Group rates and tours are available. The Museum also offers birthday parties and after-hours facility rentals.

The Museum is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s days.

For more information, call the museum at (570) 326-3607; or visit http://www.LittleLeague.org/Learn_More/museum.htm.