Pride Of The Yankees

The New York Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves, 6-5 Tuesday night in 10 innings to move within one victory of another World Series sweep. But one of the most extraordinary players in the game was not on the field.

CBS This Morning's Jose Diaz-Balart caught up with this amazing player late last year.



What Eddie Layton plays is the Hammond organ. He has provided the soundtrack for the Yankees at every single home game for the past 31 years. In all that time he's never called in sick. With a record like that, you would think he grew up as a baseball fanatic.

"I never saw a baseball game in my life." Layton says. "I come from Philadelphia, that's my hometown. I didn't know where first base was. Mickey Mantle hit a home run and started running around the bases. I yelled, 'He's running around the bases the wrong way.'"

When he started playing, the job was just to play a few tunes between innings. It was Eddie who first improvised on the organ to punctuate the action. And in the process he invented some of the musical phrases that have become as much a part of baseball as the crack of the bat.

The reason he thought to put a score to the baseball drama probably had to do with his previous job. All through the 1960s he provided the live musical score for three CBS soap operas.

At that time, CBS owned the Yankees.

The musical skills Eddie learned punctuating the plot of the soap operas just naturally led him to improvise along with the action at his new job. More than 30 years later, he hasn't lost his dramatic touch.

Stroll around Yankee Stadium with Eddie before a game and the tenth man on the team attracts fans just like a Yankee legend.

"He just knows how to get the fans going. He knows what tunes to play at the right time. He's a definite motivational factor," says one Yankees fan.

In three decades, Eddie's outlasted great sluggers like Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson, and legendary managers like Yogi Berra and Billy Martin. No small feat when you consider that boss George Steinbrenner is legendary for firing employees.

"George came out one day while I was testing the sound system and said, 'Eddie, move over,'" says Layton.

Turns out the boss is an organ man himself. Eddie let him try his hand, but not without a dicey turn of the tables.

"When I came back to the booth, he says, 'Eddie, what do you think of my playing?' I said, 'George, you're fired.'"

Eddie still has not missed a day of work. He's nursing a cold right now, but that's not keeping him away from Yankee Stadium and another World Series.