Casey at the Bat
by Ernest Lawrence Thayer
Published: The Examiner 6-3-1888
The Outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville
nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And so when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep
despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at bat -
We'd pit up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.
But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also
And the former was a no-good and the latter was a fake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey's getting to the bat.
But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment
And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had risen, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Blake a-safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.
Then from 5,000 throats went up a lusty
It rumbled in the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain top and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.
There was pride in Casey's bearing
as he stepped into his place;
There was ease in Casey's manner and a smile on Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed
his hands with dirt;
Ten thousand hands applauded as he wiped them on his shirt.
And when the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came
hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in lofty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one," the umpire
Then from the benches, black with people,
went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" cried someone on the stand;
And its likely they'd a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity great
Casey's visage shown;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two."
"Fraud!" cried the maddened
thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the multitude was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.
The smile is gone from Casey's face, his
teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
Somewhere bands are playing, somewhere hearts are light,
Somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.