New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Category Archives: Organist

Jane Jarvis

Jane Jarvis (Organist.  Born, Vincennes, IN, Oct. 31, 1915; died, Englewood, NJ, Jan. 25, 2010.)  On Apr. 17, 1964, Shea Stadium opened and Mets fans were treated to a new experience.  Jane Jarvis entertained the crowd at the organ.  A noted jazz artist and respected teacher, Jarvis was only the second organist to play regularly at a New York ballpark.  Neither Yankee Stadium nor the Polo Grounds (where the Mets played their first two seasons) had organists.  Only Gladys Goodding, the legendary organist at Madison Square Garden and Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, had preceded Jarvis in New York baseball.  She held forth at Shea for the first 17 seasons (1964-80) the Mets played there.  Jarvis (nee Luella Jane Nossett) had played for the old Milwaukee Braves at County Stadium before hooking on with the Mets.

Eddie Layton

Eddie Layton (Organist. Born, Philadelphia, PA, Oct. 19, 1925; died, Forest Hills, NY, Dec. 26, 2004.) In one of the strange twists of fate, Eddie Layton began his college studies as a potential meteorologist minoring in music and wound up as the organist at both Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden. He was playing for the CBS Television Network, doing three live shows each weekday (including the famous soap operas “Love of Life” and “Secret Storm”). CBS executive Michael Burke became president of the Yankees in 1966 and the following spring hired Layton to play at the Stadium. He began after the season started, performing for the first time in a game against the Cleveland Indians. Not thoroughly versed in the nuances of baseball, he once played “Happy Birthday” for Mickey Mantle while the slugger was at bat and caused the game to be stopped. But he then developed a style that played with the intricacies of the game and brought not only the full range of his performing skills but also his sharp sense of humor into play. When the fourth Madison Square Garden opened in February 1968, Virginia Cunningham played there only briefly and then was replaced by Layton who continued for 18 years through the 1985 season when he retired. This feat makes him the answer to the famous trivia question about who played for the Yankees, the Knicks and the Rangers in the same season. Layton did 24 L.P. recordings that sold over three million copies and he toured during the winter for the Hammond Organ Company. He retired following the 2003 World Series after 37 seasons at Yankee Stadium.

Gladys Goodding

Gladys Goodding (Organist.  Born, Macon, MO, June 18, 1893; died, New York, NY, Nov. 18, 1963.)  Gladys Goodding became the most famous organist in sports.  She was the first to play in major league baseball on a regular basis, but her career was actually launched at Madison Square Garden.  She began playing in the Garden in 1937.  In 1941, when Larry MacPhail was running the Brooklyn Dodgers, he heard Goodding perform at the Garden and decided that having an organist at Ebbets Field was a good idea.  It so happened the Dodgers won Brooklyn’s first pennant in 21 years in 1941 and Goodding became a fixture in Flatbush.  She brought to her work many twists of her own wry sense of humor, including playing “Three Blind Mice” when the umpires came onto the field (although the league put a stop to that one).  “The Mexican Hat Dance” in the bottom of the seventh inning was a regular feature.  Goodding played at Ebbets Field through the 1957 season, after which the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. She remained at the Garden, playing for the Rangers, Knicks, boxing, and many other events until the end of the 1962-63 season, her 26th year there.

Paul Cartier

Paul Cartier (Organist.  Born, Yonkers, NY, Jan. 4, 1959.)  Latest in the distinguished line of New York sports organists, Paul G. Cartier succeeded Eddie Layton at Yankee Stadium in 2004.  Cartier began playing for Islanders games at Nassau Coliseum as Layton’s protégé in 1979 while still an undergraduate at Hofstra.  He continues to work Islanders games as he has for  three decades, although he has not held the job steadily during that entire span.  Cartier also was the organist for the New York Arrows soccer games at the Coliseum (1978-79), where he got his first game experience.

About This Dictionary

The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

Share Our Blog!

Sort by Last Name


Support n-yhs

Help us support our sports database and other collections.

About Bill Shannon

A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

Submission Form

* (denotes required field)

Disclaimer & Privacy Policy