Ernie Hays, the longtime organist for the St. Louis Cardinals, has died, the franchise announced Thursday.
Hays was a resident of Maryland Heights and lived in University City as a child. He was 77 years old.
From the St. Louis Cardinals' Facebook page:
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Ernie Hays. 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. We extend our sincere condolences to his wife Loreta and his entire family.
According to KSDK, Hays collapsed at a Halloween gathering at his daughter's house, also in Maryland Heights, and died at a nearby hospital.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Hays signed on as the organist at Busch Stadium in 1971 and played his last notes there in 2010. He also played for other sports clubs, including the football Cardinals, the Blues, the St. Louis Stars, the Spirits of St. Louis and St. Louis University.