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Meet the Yankee Stadium organ player who's fulfilling his childhood dream

Meet Ed Alstrom, the organist for the New York Yankees
Meet Ed Alstrom, the organist for the New York Yankees 03:40

NEW YORK -- Did you know less than half of Major League ballparks have a live organist? What was once a staple of baseball has been phased out, but not in the Bronx.

At Yankee Stadium, echoes of legends past linger in the air. There's a maestro whose music honors the history of the game.

"I love baseball. And I love being in this seat to do this part of it," Ed Alstrom said.

For the past 60 years, the organ has been a constant presence at Yankee Stadium. Ed Alstrom now sits in the seat once occupied by the legendary Eddie Layton.

"This here is a childhood dream for me. From the time my dad first took me to Yankee and Mets games when I was about 7 years old ... I was like organ, baseball. I wanna do that," Alstrom said.

Before the roar of the crowd, his Sunday prelude is in the tranquil halls of a Monclair, New Jersey church.

There Alstrom is not the Yankees' organist, but a humble servant of music.

"I love diversity. I love doing all kinds of different things, and it doesn't get too much different than going from that one to this one," he said.

"You play in the morning at a church, and then you play in the afternoon at the cathedral of baseball," CBS New York's Steve Overmyer said.

"Two cathedrals in one day. Nothing wrong with that," Alstrom said.

He plays to the divine, but his destiny was shaped at a young age.

"My dad had an organ and an accordion. He said, 'Which do you wanna play?' I went for the organ," Alstrom said.

"You could've been the polka king," Overmyer asked.

"Maybe someday I'll rue the day," Alstrom said, laughing.

Alstrom explains the radical difference between a piano and an organ, despite both having keyboards.

"Organs have multiple manuals -- two, sometimes three or four, and there's pedals. So you're playing bass notes with your feet and you're playing different sounds with both hands," he said.

Which is why Alstrom plays with no shoes -- just Yankees socks.

"I'm trying to play notes, and the shoes just get in the way," he said. "I got a workout. Definitely got a workout. Playing organ is a workout 'cause you got all four limbs going. It's demanding."

Alstrom has a way of enhancing the experience in either location. He's more than just a keeper of tradition; he's a storyteller with the keys.

"Then when a Yankees pitcher gets a strikeout, I'm on," he said.

While the drama is on the field, his music serves as the backdrop. The crack of the bat is his amen, and the cheering crowd, a hallelujah.

"Eddie Layton used to say, 'I cheer with my music,' and I like to think I'm doing the same thing here. I'm leading cheers through the music, and the more opportunities I get to do that, the better shape we're all in here as Yankees fans," Alstrom said.

In both places, his music serves a common purpose -- to unite, inspire -- whether he's playing to the heavens or the home fans.

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