Great walk-up songs transcend the game
While music has long been a huge part of baseball, the evolution of the individual walk-up song over the last three decades has forever changed the ballpark experience for players and fans alike. The walk-up song not only serves as inspiration to pump up the crowd and the players as they walk out, it can provide fans with some valuable insight into the personalities and tastes of their favorite players. After all, there’s no better form of self-expression than through the art of music, and combined with America’s national pastime, it transcends into a pop culture sensation.
From funny to intimidating, and everything in between, players have made their way to the batter’s box or pitcher’s mound to literally thousands of amazing songs over the years, crossing every genre of music imaginable. Which begs the question – What are some of the best walk-up songs of all time?
That inspired us to rank the 25 greatest walk-up songs ever played over a stadium loudspeaker. It was no easy task to narrow it down to just 25. So, in addition to ranking the top-25, we threw in 50 more well-deserving walk-up songs for good measure (in no particular order of greatness). And yes, some have a few NSFW lyrics, so be careful before you crank these up.
Top 25 Greatest Baseball Walk-Up Songs (and 50 more):
25. Humble – Kendrick Lamar
This club banger quickly emerged as an instant classic, ranking among the most popular walk-up songs in ballparks across America. Multiple MLB stars have made it their own personal soundtrack over the last two seasons, including All-Stars Joey Votto, Manny Machado and Cody Bellinger.
24. Thunder – Imagine Dragons
You better yield a big stick if you plan on settling into the batter’s box to a song titled “Thunder.” This popular song about dreaming big is still relatively new compared to other tunes on the list. However, it makes for an ideal walk-up anthem. Clint Frazier, Joc Pederson, Steve Pearce, Jake McGee and Brandon Snyder are just a few of the players to utilize the mega-hit.
23. Your Love – The Outfield
This catchy '80s pop-rock hit is always a crowd pleaser and remains one the most popular walk-up songs in Major League Baseball to this day. Last season alone, multiple big leaguers made their approach to the batter’s box to “Your Love,” including Charlie Blackmon, Gordon Beckham, Josh Willingham, Jesus Flores, Nick Punto and Grant Green.
22. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
A longtime fan favorite and ever-popular stadium anthem, the driving back beat and iconic guitar riffs of “Seven Nation Army” are sure to pump up any player making their way to the plate or mound. Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg and Reds shortstop Jose Iglesias are two of the more notable MLB players to use it.
21. Careless Whisper – Wham/George Michael
In many ways, the sensual saxophone intro to “Careless Whisper” is the antithesis of a great walk-up song. But that’s exactly what makes it a great walk-up song. And the irony certainly isn’t lost on players like Josh Reddick, Zack Greinke and Austin Hedges, who have all swooned ball parks across the nation with this '80s slow jam. As demonstrated in the video below, A’s fans were particularly fond of Reddick’s plate appearances during his time in Oakland.
20. Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine
If you’re looking to get amped, while simultaneously bringing the crowd to a fevered pitch, just about any Rage song should do the trick. That said, “Killing in the Name” will probably get you there quicker than any other. Countless big leaguers have made their way to the plate and mound to the sonic combustion of Rage Against the Machine.
19. Turn Down for What – DJ Snake/Lil Jon
This energetic trap favorite has made the rounds in practically every stadium and arena on the globe. It makes for a pretty stellar walk-up song as well. Yasiel Puig, Justin Turner, Justin Upton, Shin-Soo Choo, Anibel Sanchez, Ben Revere and Matt Joyce are just a few of the players that have drawn inspiration from this hard-hitting banger.
18. Fly Me to the Moon – Frank Sinatra
If you want to make a grand entrance with a classy old-school vibe, look no further than Ol' Blue Eyes himself. Of course, you’ll need to swing a pretty mean bat if you’re going to walk up to the plate to the smooth swoon of Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon”. Mets’ slugger Todd Frazier certainly qualifies in that regard, and that’s just one of many reasons why it’s his walk-up song of choice.
17. Can’t Stop – Red Hot Chili Peppers
The list simply wouldn’t be complete without a Chili Peppers’ song. And this one has all the necessary components players look for in a great walk-up song. That might be why it would take all day to list the abundance of Major Leaguers that have made “Can’t Stop” their go-to over the years.
16. El Mariachi Loco – Mariachi Vargas
Few songs in the history of baseball have been able to whip a crowd into a frenzy like “El Mariachi Loco.” A party broke out every time former All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez settled into the batter’s box to the uplifting horns of this traditional Mexican wedding tune.
15. The Man – Aloe Blacc
It’s a bold choice to walk-up to the plate with “The Man” playing in the background. But as long as you can back it up like perennial All-Stars David Ortiz and Troy Tulowitzki often did when they strolled up to the R&B hit, you should be good.
14. Here Comes the Boom – Nelly
It’s the perfect walk-up song for a confident power hitter. That said, you do run the risk of looking foolish if you can’t deliver. Props to Blue Jays’ outfielder Randal Grichuk for being the only current Major League player bold enough to use it.
13. Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
Countless big leaguers have made their way to the plate or mound with the legendary sounds of Led Zeppelin blaring in the background. And more often than not, “Kashmir” has been the song of choice. It’s one of the greatest songs ever written, performed by one of the greatest rock bands on the planet. What’s not to like? Former All-Stars Chase Utley and Huston Street loved it. But for obvious reasons, no one rocked it better than 3-time All-Star pitcher Scott Kazmir.
12. Lose Yourself – Eminem
Slim Shady’s biggest hit is all about overcoming adversity and making the most of a big opportunity, which is just one of the many elements that make “Lose Yourself” the perfect walk-up song. It’s also one of the big reasons why Yankee great Derek Jeter chose to use the rap anthem during his final plate appearance at Yankee Stadium.
11. Iron Man – Black Sabbath
You’d be hard-pressed to find a walk-up song more badass than this one. Ozzy Osbourne’s spine tingling “I am Iron Man” intro on this Sabbath classic is enough to bring opposing teams to their knees. Many players have used it over the years, but it is most commonly associated with former All-Star closer Jonathan Broxton, whose fastball approached a blistering 103 MPH.
10. Big Poppa – The Notorious B.I.G.
One of the great rap songs of all time is typically reserved for the big boys. David Ortiz, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Kendrys Morales are some of the league’s more prominent players to use it over the years. It’s safe to say that all these players qualify for “big boy” status, both in terms of performance and stature. Biggie also graced us with “Hypnotize”, another surefire walk-up song.
9. Circle of Life Intro – The Lion King
Nothing grabs the attention of a stadium crowd quite like the music that set the backdrop for the most powerful moment in one of the most beloved childhood classics of all time. And no one knows that better than Mets’ slugger Yoenis Cespedes, who was clever enough to turn the epic intro of “Circle of Life” into his very own walk-up anthem. A move that quickly made him a fan favorite, garnering national headlines in the process.
8. Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
“All aboard!” the Prince of Darkness strikes again with another can’t-miss walk-up song. Several MLB players have elected to make an entrance to this deranged metal classic. But much like Mariano Rivera with “Enter Sandman” and Trevor Hoffman with “Hell’s Bells” - “Crazy Train” will forever belong to former Atlanta Brave and Hall of Fame third baseman Chipper Jones.
7. Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
Some of the biggest names in baseball have made spectacular entrances to the air raid screams of Axl Rose and the menacing cascade of Slash’s guitar. It’s one of the great rock songs of all time. It also exudes the perfect blend of energy and intimidation. Mark McGwire, Randy Johnson, Eric Gagne, Joakim Soria, Carlos Beltran and Kerry Wood are just some of the standout players that have made “Welcome to the Jungle” their own over the years.
6. Thunderstruck – AC/DC
There are plenty of AC/DC songs that make for great walk-up music, but “Thunderstruck” definitely ranks among the best. The guitar intro alone is worth its weight in gold. That’s probably why MLB players such as Noah “Thor” Syndergaard, John Smoltz, Eddie Guardado, Mark Melancon and JJ Putz have put it on their playlists.
5. Game of Thrones Theme – Ramin Djawadi
I can think of only one song that is more fitting for Noah Syndergaard than “Thunderstruck” - the theme to Game of Thrones. The Mets’ pitcher not only uses it as his walk-up song, he literally made an appearance on the hit HBO television program. Hunter Pence, R.A. Dickey and Jayson Werth are some of the other notable players that have opted for the epic instrumental.
4. Jump Around – House of Pain
If this Irish themed banger doesn't get you pumped, you probably don’t have a pulse. The often-used sports anthem has long been a favorite of players and fans alike. It has been the walk-up song of choice for star players such as Manny Parra and Brian Wilson.
3. God’s Gonna Cut You Down – Johnny Cash
I can’t think of a more intimidating walk-up song than this one. Lance Berkman, Andrew Miller, Drew Storen, Joe Beimel, Stephen Drew and Nathan Eovaldi are just a few players that have used the Johnny Cash cult classic.
2. Hell’s Bells – AC/DC
The ominous chime of Hell’s Bells sends chills down spines and strikes fear into the hearts of opposing batters. And while a few players have used this AC/DC juggernaut over the years, no one could do it justice like Hall of Fame Padres’ closer Trevor Hoffman.
1. Enter Sandman – Metallica
The quintessential walk-up/entrance song of all time is synonymous with one player – Yankees’ closer and MLB’s all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera. By the time the bullpen gates opened and the first notes of the sinister “Enter Sandman” began to play over the Yankee Stadium loudspeakers, the opposing team’s fate had already been sealed. Fun fact: “Enter Sandman” will forever be linked to Mariano Rivera, but it was actually Billy Wagner, another standout closer of the same era, who first adopted the Metallica classic to make a grand entrance.
50 more great walk-up songs that barely missed the cut (in no particular order):
- Sicko Mode – Travis Scott ft. Drake
- Remember the Name – Fort Minor
- Wild Thing – The Troggs
- All I Do is Win – DJ Khaled
- Take on Me – Aha
- Power – Kanye West
- Hall of Fame – The Script ft. will.i.am
- So Fresh, So Clean - Outkast
- The Stroke – Billy Squier
- Bad to the Bone – George Thorogood
- Cochise – Audioslave
- This is How We Do It – Montell Jordan
- We Will Rock You – Queen
- Keep Their Heads Ringin’ – Dr. Dre
- Lights Come On – Jason Aldean
- Trophies – Young Money ft. Drake
- All the Way Up – Fat Joe
- Enemy – Godsmack
- Sabotage – Beastie Boys
- Black Betty – Ram Jam
- Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits
- Let Me Clear My Throat – DJ Kool
- All of the Lights – Kanye West
- Eye of the Tiger – Survivior
- Public Service Announcement – Jay Z
- There Goes My Hero – Foo Fighters
- Bases Loaded – Whiskey Falls
- Stranglehold – Ted Nugent
- Whatta Man – Salt-N-Pepa
- Baba O’Riley – The Who
- Start Me Up – The Rolling Stones
- California Love – 2Pac ft. Dre
- Batter Up – Nelly
- In the Summertime – Mungo Jerry
- Blessings – Big Sean ft. Drake
- It’s Tricky – Run D.M.C.
- Big Shot - Kendrick Lamar
- Come Together – The Beatles
- Sweet Emotion – Aerosmith
- This is How We Roll – Florida Georgia Line
- Momma Said Knock You Out – LL Cool J
- The Imperial March – Star Wars
- Gasolina – Daddy Yankee
- Hail to the King – Avenged Sevenfold
- Shining Star – Earth, Wind and Fire
- Kickstart My Heart – Motley Crue
- God’s Plan – Drake
- Voodoo Child – Jimi Hendrix
- Joker and the Thief – Wolfmother
- B.Y.O.B. - System of a Down
-Written by Rob McVey, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @Rob_UTVOLS.