‘Casey at the Bat’: How a ‘folkloric icon’ lives on at Yale, and in the popular imagination

August 21, 2015

Mighty Casey gets his happy ending

Not 20 years after Casey’s infamous strikeout at home plate, sportswriter Grantland Rice attempted to redeem the humbled batter. In 1906 he penned a sequel, “Casey’s Revenge.” Back in Mudville, Casey once again faces down “the pitcher who had started all the trouble.” The scenario is familiar: It’s the ninth inning, the bases are loaded, and Mudville has two outs. Casey’s at bat with two strikes, and then … “was that a rifle shot? A whack! a crack! and out through space the leather pellet flew.”

Though it never reached the heights of Thayer’s work, Rice’s poem gave readers the ending they always wanted: “Mudville hearts are happy now — for Casey hit the ball!”

YaleNews spoke with Lawrence Manley, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English, about Thayer, popular poetry, “Casey’s” lasting legacy, and his favorite baseball team. The following is an edited version of that conversation.

Yale News story by Amy Athey McDonald

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