But this season, the Yankees have ditched the song after discovering lyrics perceived to be racist in some of Smith’s other songs.
“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a spokesperson told the New York Daily News. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”
The Yankees have replaced Smith's rendition with another one, Sports Illustrated reported.
Smith, who was a popular singer before and after World War II, has a history of songs with potentially offensive and racist lyrics, according to New York Daily News.
One such song titled “Pickaninny Heaven” is directed at “colored children” and tells them about a place they can look forward to where “great big watermelons” grow.
Another song, “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” contains lyrics like “someone had to pick the cotton … that’s why darkies were born," according to the Daily News.
According to New York Daily News, the Yankees are investigating claims that the songs are racist, including the narrative surrounding the song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” which was considered a satire at the time it was recorded.
Though the intention behind the songs is unclear, the Yankees have chosen to not play Smith’s song for now.
The Yankees began playing Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” following the attacks on 9/11, according to SB Nation.