CHICAGO (CBS) — Gary Pressy certainly hasn’t lost count over the years.
“I’ve done, as we speak, on this Wednesday, 2,268 consecutive games,” he said.
In fact, 2015 makes 29 years behind the giant Lowrey organ high atop his beloved Wrigley Field.
“Walking up the stairs, you hear the organ going, is like a cathedral,” he said.
But landing the job of Cubs organist was a path he says he paved long ago.
“Lifetime Cub fan,” Pressy said. “When I was five-years-old, I was living the dream, in the backyard, playing baseball. I’d be doing the announcing, doing the organ music so it’s really come full circle for me.”
Pressy was the organist at the old Chicago Sting games, and he played for Loyola and DePaul basketball games. Then the Cubs finally came calling in 1987. For Pressy, the job is a labor of love. He usually arrives three or four hours before game time to prepare. Everything from Sinatra to Lady Gaga to Pharrell, he does his homework for his audience.
“I try to aim to please everyone,” he said.
But tickling the ivories also requires good baseball instincts as well. He has to adapt to what’s happening on the field and play music accordingly.
“You gotta have that baseball judgement of what to play and make sure you do it at appropriate times,” Pressy said.
He’s played hundreds of renditions of the seventh-inning stretch, and now with different singers each game, he works with them individually on their tune and their pace.
“When the singer comes, they’ll talk to me, basically I just say, enjoy yourself, have fun, try and keep up with the organ,” he said. “We have a lot of fun with it. Harry (Carey) was a great singer, but Harry wasn’t Sinatra either. We just try to have fun with it.”
Pressy also took on an additional role a while back — scoreboard trivia researcher. Pressy spends the offseason researching baseball history to come up with the questions displayed on Wrigley’s new video board.
Sadly, the job of organist has become a dying breed, with many ballparks opting for canned music.
“I would say about half of the ballparks, maybe more, still have organs but Wrigley Field has the most extensive sound of the organ at the ballpark,” Pressy said. “We were the first team to have an organ at a ballgame in 1941.”
But Pressy says he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, he says they’ll probably have to drag him out of his booth.
“I hope to continue for a long time and have some post season action in October, that’d be great,” he said.
And that’s music to any Cub fans ears.