For 40 seasons, beginning in 1971 and ending in 2010, fans of the team would listen to the marvelous organ playing of Hays. Hays, who left the team after a change to recorded and non-traditional music, was 77.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Ernie Hays," club chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said. "Ernie’s music shaped the soundtrack of Cardinals baseball for nearly four decades. He was one of the premier sports organists in the country, and a valued member of the Cardinals family. The entire Cardinals organization extends its sincere condolences to his wife, Loreta, and his entire family."
Hays was probably the only sports organist with a degree in electrical engineering. He was certainly the only one to help calibrate test components for the Gemini space missions.
The longtime organist also played for St. Louis University, the St. Louis Spirits (ABA), the St. Louis Blues (NHL), and the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals (now in Phoenix). He is best known for his rendition of the Budweiser jingle, “Here Comes the King,” which he would play during the seventh inning stretch at Cardinals games.
For decades the Cardinals were owned by the Busch family, who also brewed Budweiser beer. However Hays first played the song at an indoor soccer game.