For my June article on the Fire Star Press, I’ve continued with the poetry theme that I began in May with My Papa’s Waltz (HERE) with another poem – Casey at the Bat. This is the article in its entirety (original post on Fire Star Press HERE.)
Casey at the Bat was written by Ernest Lawrence Thayer and was published in the San Francisco Examiner on June 3, 1988.
According to the website Poets.org¹, Ernest Lawrence Thayer was born on August 14, 1863 (d. August 21, 1940) in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard University. While there, he met William Randolph Hearst, who would later have the San Francisco Examiner. Hearst eventually hired Thayer to write a humorous column for his newspaper, which turned out to be Thayers’s most famous work, Casey at the Bat. Thayer wrote under the pen name “Phin”.
Wikipedia² tells us:
- DeWolf Hopper “gave the poem’s first stage recitation on August 14, 1888 at New York’s Wallack Theater as part of the comic opera Prinze Methusalem in the presence of the Chicago and New York baseball teams, the white Stockings and the Giants, respectively.
- Hopper reportedly recited the poem an estimated 10,000 times on the low side and up to 40,000 times on the high side.
- The first recorded version of this poem was by Russell Hunting, who spoke in a broad Irish accent.
- Among others who have recorded this poem, James Earl Jones recorded a version with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra in 1996.
- The poem has been referenced in many movies, television shows, books, comics, and parodies as well as being set to music as a song and adapted into an opera.
- On July 11, 1996, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp depicting “Mighty Casey” as part of a commemorative American folk heroes set that included Paul Bunyan, John Henry, and Pecos Bill.
My first recollection of Casey at the Bat is from watching this 1946 Disney cartoon.
Once I discovered Casey at the Bat via Disney, my grandpa, whom I talked about in my May article, read it to me many times thereafter. He was a big fan of baseball, so he didn’t mind at all. 🙂
Read the poem HERE.
Until next time,
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1.Poets.org, Academy of American Poets, poets.org/poet/ernest-lawrence-thayer.
2. “Casey at the Bat.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 May 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casey_at_the_Bat.
3. Sine, Iqzero.net and Dick. “US Stamp Gallery >> Mighty Casey.” US Stamp Gallery >> Browse Stamps through the History of the United States, usstampgallery.com/view.php?id=279473ac9b832af457fc5d895faed6782083c783