The second, Easterbrook, said she took free up and stayed with higher notes to finish the song at Anaheim Stadium for several years and heard no complaints. But one day, she said, she received a warning "about a minute and a half before I was to sing, but I decided to do it my way. And I haven't been back."
And Sevano said the Angels won't ask her back.
Problems Outside Park
Problems sometimes arise outside the ballpark.
Susan Richardson, 33, of ABC's "Eight Is Enough" phoned Sevano one day last year from her limousine, which was stuck in San Diego Freeway traffic in Long Beach just before game time. "I got a limo to pick up the members of my rock band and me, and (I had) told a hundred people I'd be singing the national anthem," she said.
The game had been under way for about 20 minutes when Richardson arrived at the stadium.
"When we got to Anaheim, the people in the stands whom I had asked to come were mad, the band was mad and I was sweating in 100-degree heat in this $700 designer, white tux, and I was mad. . . . But the band and I sang the national anthem on the way home with the windows rolled down," she recalled.
When Richardson failed to show up on time, organist Torrent, who lives in Santa Barbara, came to the rescue, playing as the fans sang along. But sometimes one singer's misfortune is another's opportunity.
"I had sung the national anthem for the Buena Park American Legion, so people knew that I did it," said Ed Hoffman, 74, of Anaheim. "But one day about 10 years ago while I worked as an usher out at the stadium, one management fellow came along and asked me if I would like to sing it. I said, 'Sure. I'd love to. When?' And he said, 'In about five minutes.' "
Anthem singing isn't limited to celebrities. Organizations may nominate someone when they buy big blocks of tickets; other individuals inquire on their own.
All one needs is a good voice, a demo tape and the courage to belt out the song in front of thousands of baseball fans. For their efforts, singers receive a parking pass and four seats behind home plate; munchies are not included. Encores are limited to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at the seventh-inning stretch.
Some 'Pretty Comical'
Some who ask about singing are actors or new recording artists looking for a break or television exposure, Sevano said. "Others sound marvelous in the shower and think they are going to sound marvelous out here. Some, I'll admit, are pretty comical, and you just very politely say, 'We don't have an opening at the moment.' "
There are 81 home dates this season, and 15 to 20 of them are open, Sevano said. "A lot of ours is return business. When you get a good singer, you keep asking them back."
The Indian River Boys, a country-Western quartet, tentatively has 19 dates scheduled, according to Richard Yancey, the group's manager. "We also have first crack at a playoff game," he said. "First, that is, after Glen Campbell, The Cowboy's (Autry's) favorite."
Many of the Angels' anthem singers have opened games for other teams in the Southland and elsewhere.
Torrent, now beginning his 21st season at the keyboard for the Angels, previously played at Chicago White Sox games, where he backed up such heavy hitters as Nat King Cole ("He had the words on a piece of paper in his hat, but sang the wrong ones somewhere around 'the rockets' red glare.' ") and Danny Thomas ("He got lost with the echo and shouted into the mike, 'Stay with me!' ").
'Furnished in Early Red Wing'
Joey English, who has appeared in Las Vegas shows "and a lot of nightclubs in the Midwest that are now parking lots," was revered by the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. She said she sang at every home game for four years "and got a lot of Red Wing gifts. My house was furnished in early Red Wing."
When Jeffreys, of Glendale, sang the anthem at the Cleveland Air Show, she had to begin as a sky diver, leap from a plane and finish when she hit the ground. Less precise timing was required when she sang before the 1980 Reagan-Carter debate at the Cleveland Convention Center.
Easterbrook's husband volunteered her for her anthem debut, hoping to get tickets for a Los Angeles Lakers' basketball playoff game a few years ago, but the series didn't last that long. Her singing at Super Bowl XVII at the Rose Bowl helped console him.
And Hoffman, a post office employee and retired professional singer, was given the red-carpet treatment in Boston a few years ago on opening day. His son Glenn, a shortstop for the Red Sox, had it written into his contract that his father would sing that day. "I was thrilled. And after I had finished, Glenn walked over and put his arm around me. I can't tell you how wonderful that felt."