Wilbur Snapp, a minor league baseball park organist who was once ousted by an umpire, died on Sept. 6 of natural causes. He was 83.
Snapp couldn’t read music, but he taught himself to play the organ while running an Ohio music store. When he retired and moved to Florida in 1982, Snapp took a job as the official ballpark organist at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater.
In 1985, Snapp became annoyed by a young umpire who ruled against his team, the Clearwater Phillies. In response, he began playing “Three Blind Mice,” on his instrument. The umpire was not amused and had the musician ejected.
Snapp spent the rest of the game blowing up balloons and twisting them into mice for fans. The ouster became a news event, and was mentioned on NBC’s “Today” show, and by syndicated radio talk show host, Paul Harvey. Snapp continued to serve as the official ballpark organist until 1997 when the stadium switched to recorded music.