Narrated by Lionel Barrymore.
With vocal and sound effects sung by the Big League Quartet.
Dramatized and Directed by Dailey Paskman.
“Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888” is a baseball poem written in 1888 by Ernest Thayer. First published in The San Francisco Examiner on June 3, 1888, it was later popularized by DeWolf Hopper in many vaudeville performances.
The poem was originally published anonymously (under the pen name “Phin”, based on Thayer’s college nickname, “Phineas”). The author’s identity was not widely known at first. A number falsely claimed to have authored the poem, and Thayer’s efforts to set the record straight were often ignored.
A baseball team from the fictional town of Mudville (implied to be the home team) is losing by two runs with two outs in their last inning. Both the team and its fans (in the poem, about 5,000 attended the game) believe they can win “if only” they could somehow get “Mighty Casey” (Mudville’s star player) up to bat. However, Casey was scheduled to be the fifth batter of the inning, and the first two batters (Cooney and Barrows) did not reach base. The next two batters (Flynn and Jimmy Blake) were perceived to be weak hitters with little chance of reaching base to allow Casey an at bat.
Surprisingly, Flynn hits a single, and Blake follows with a double (Flynn reaching third on the play). Both runners were now in scoring position and Casey represented the potential winning run. Casey is so sure of his abilities that he does not swing at the first two pitches, both strikes. On the last pitch, the overconfident Casey strikes out, ending the game and sending the crowd home unhappy.