ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- The St. Louis Cardinals and their fans are deeply saddened tonight by the loss of Busch Stadium organist Ernie Hays. He was 77. Hays was good at getting Cardinal fans excited about what was happening on the field. Cardinal fan Brent Epplin said, “The game could be moving slowly from time to time you get to hear that and get amped up and dance around.”
Hays first played in the old Busch Stadium in 1971. He quickly became fixture. Stadium announcer John Ulett worked with Hays for many years. Ulett said, “He took his job seriously but he was funny and crazy and goofy and silly. You didn’t catch him in too long a period of time when he was really serious about anything he was a fun loving guy.” And he shared that fun with thousands of fans like Jeanie Hoester, “Ernie was always so uplifting and he always got the crowd going with his music.”
Hays also played at Blues hockey games. He popularized playing a special song for each Cardinal batter. St. Louis Cardinals’ spokesman Dan Farrell said, “He’d try to get feedback from the player and ask them if there was anything they wanted to hear and I know he always did with Ozzie Smith the Wizard of Oz.”
Hays retired in 2010, here’s what he had to say then, “My philosophy of life is basically I want to share God’s talents with as many people as I can as often as I can to help make their day better.” He did that for many people.
He is survived by his wife, three children and five grandchildren. Hays had a history of heart problems. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Video of Ernie playing the organ from 2010: