Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Poem: Casey at the Bat


Fall is upon us, which means baseball and their "boys of summer" are into conference league series ultimately leading to the World Series. Being an ex-Chicagoan (a Southsider, for the record), I have been watching the Chicago Cubs beining annihilated by the New York Mets, it reminded me of the classic poem " Casey at the Bat" by Ernst Lawerance Thayer. This poem was first published June 3, 1888, issue of San Francisco's The Daily Examiner.
Thayer said he chose the name Casey after an Irishman he once knew, but it has been speculated that he modeled "Casey"  after National League star Mike "King" Kelly who became famous when Boston paid
Chicago ten dollars for him. Kelly had  a charismatic personality which the fans cheered/jeered. After the 1887 season, Kelly went on to play for San Franciso and Thayer wrote, "Casey in 1888 as a columnist for the San Francisco Examiner.

As for the "Mudville," both Stockton, California and Holliston Massachusetts claim to be the original city that Thayer modeled for his poem.

And after 125 years, the mystery still lingers and the poem is still read. The "boys of summer" play in lush baseball stadiums, fans cheer, and jeer, and Casey still strikes out.

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