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Edward M. "Eddie" Layton (October 10, 1925 – December 26, 2004) played the organ at old Yankee Stadium for 31 seasons, earning him membership in the New York Sports Hall of Fame.

Layton was a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; he graduated from the West Chester Teachers College majoring in meteorology with a minor in music. He began playing the organ when he was twelve years old. While serving in the United States Navy during World War II, he learned to play the Hammond organ. After the war, he began a career as a professional organist writing scores for soap operas on CBS.

He joined the New York Yankees franchise in 1967 when team president Mike Burke inaugurated organ music at the stadium. When he was hired, he had never been to the stadium and knew nothing about baseball, but quickly learned the ropes. He went on to play for the Yankees for over 3 decades, with a break from 1971-1977 while he pursued other musical commitments. When he retired on September 28, 2003, his last performance was to play "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", with fans chanting "Eddie! Eddie!".

In addition to playing for the Yankees, he was the organist for the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers for 18 years. This made him the answer to a popular trivia question among New York sports fans: "Q: Who was the only person to play for the Yankees, Knicks, and Rangers? A: Eddie Layton." He also performed concerts in more than 200 cities for the Hammond Organ company and released 26 albums, selling over 3 million copies. In addition, Layton played the organ at Radio City Music Hall for Pace University commencements held there. The student union at Pace University's New York City campus was named in his honor.

He died at age 79 at his home in Queens, New York, following a brief illness.

Controversy

One item that Layton took credit for was being the first to come up with the idea of playing charge calls at a baseball game in 1971.[1] However, Michael Silverbush claims to have made the innovation eight years prior. Silverbush brought his trumpet to Shea Stadium, Yankee Stadium and Polo Grounds stadium games from 1963-1972.

Ken Burn's 1994 Baseball, a documentary, contained some video-graphic evidence buttressing Silverbush's claim. During the sequence on the new New York Mets fans in the film's 8th installment, Silverbush can briefly be seen playing a trumpet at the Shea Stadium in 1969.

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