Although Lascheid is aware of his impact on the game, he concedes, "It's the team that sets the frame of mind, you know. If the team is winning, I could play 'Come to Jesus' with one finger using only whole notes and the fans would go wild. If the team is losing and the crowd is down I could play with 10 fingers and 10 toes and nothing would happen."
Lascheid has a tune for just about every player in the National League. A sampling: for Terry Leach—"Let's hang on to what we've got"; for Ed Lynch—Tom Dooley, for Pete Rose—Second Hand Rose ("There are a lot of rose songs," says Lascheid, "but I like this one 'cause they got him used from Cincinnati."); for Mike Schmidt—the Schmidt beer jingle; Joaquin Andujar—I'm Walking; Doug Bair—The Stripper, Tom Herr—Him; Juan Eichelberger—"Nobody does it like McDonald's can"; Broderick Perkins—the Maxwell House coffee jingle; Steve Bedrosian—I'm So Tired; Rick Camp—Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh!; Warren Cromartie—K mart's song; Geoff Combe—Hair; Charlie Leibrandt—Mona Lisa; Mike Scott—It's Gotta Be This or That; Jeff Stember—September Song; Rick Rhoden—the theme song from the movie Ben ("He was a rat, you know").
Only a few players have complained to Lascheid about his choice of songs. "I agree that Catch a Falling Star for Johnny Bench was a little mean; somebody told me he didn't like it. Now I play Here's Johnny, not necessarily because he didn't like it; I just thought better of it." When Steve Garvey grumbled about Miss America, Lascheid changed his tune to Isn't She Lovely. Ed Ott didn't appreciate having the theme song from Mr. Ed played for him. "I guess 'cause it was about a horse," says Lascheid.
"He's the best in the league," says Dale (Here Comes the Sun) Berra. "Oh, is that what my song is?" he asks. "I always hear the other guys', but I'm concentrating too much when I go up to bat to hear mine."
"When I started playing for the team, back in 1971," says Lascheid, "Clemente came up to bat and I thought this is the best guy I've ever seen, so I played Jesus Christ Superstar. Somebody thought that was a good idea so I kept doing it."
Lascheid isn't the only ball-park performer to make such musical statements. The late Gladys Goodding, the famed Ebbets Field and Madison Square Garden organist, played What Can I Say Dear, After I Say I'm Sorry? back in 1952 when Brooklyn lost the World Series to the Yankees. Organists in both leagues take such liberties.
Once Lascheid almost got thrown out of a game. "Frank Pulli was umpiring behind home plate," he recalls. "Candelaria was pitching. It was in the sixth inning and Pulli wasn't calling any strikes. Finally he called one and I played Ta-Dum! Pulli slowly turned around and looked up at me. Five minutes later the phone rang and he said he wanted to see me after the game. I went down. He was completely naked, still dripping from his shower, and he told me, 'If you ever play a cute chord again I'll get you kicked out of the game.' "
This threat hasn't left Lascheid bereft of songs for situations. When there's a change in pitchers for the opposing team he might play Fool on the Hill, Send in the Clowns, I Got Plenty o' Nuthin' or Another One Bites the Dust. For the umpires he plays "Do you see what I see," For Your Eyes Only, Somethin' Stupid, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Honesty, I Can See Clearly Now, Shaft. None of the organists plays Three Blind Mice for the umpires anymore. Gladys Goodding once did. "After the game I apologized to Bill Stewart, the head umpire." she said, "and he forgave me." During a rhubarb Lascheid favors Love Is a Many Splendored Thing, Keystone Blues, It Ain't Necessarily So, Try a Little Tenderness. For a base on balls he plays Walk Right In, "Let your fingers do the walking" or Walking Happy. When a Pirate steals a base he plays Mission: Impossible "because it's impossible for the other team to tag him out."
Lascheid's ball park playing habits have filtered into his other gigs. "At my church there's the pipe organ upstairs and the Baldwin downstairs that I play," he says. "Once they were consecrating the Hosts for a Communion and they ran out of them. They had to send upstairs for some extra Hosts and I played, 'If it takes forever I will wait for you.' "
Lascheid plays cocktail music at The Colony Restaurant in Pittsburgh, where, he says, "There are some booths in the back that are hard for the waiters to see. When customers sit down back there I'll sneak a 'charge!' into whatever I'm playing to signal the waiters; it's just subtle enough so that no one notices it but them.