Ernest L.Thayer was born August 14, 1863 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The son of a well to do mill owner, he was raised in Worcester and attended Harvard where he edited the HARVARD LAMPOON. Thayer graduated magna cum lauda in 1865.

After living in Paris he started writing a humor column for the San Francisco Examiner under the name Phin, edited by his college friend, William Randolph Hearst.

CASEY AT THE BAT was published June 3, 1888, his last piece for the paper. He returned to Worcester to run the family mill later moving to Santa Barbara, California in 1912. He died in 1940 in Santa Barbara.

Other editors and writers had taken credit for writing CASEY and Thayer himself didn't think much of taking credit for the poem. In the original version, Jimmy Blake became Johnny, probably either through Thayer's carelessness or a printer's mistake. I suppose one could speculate that the Mudville manager replaced Jimmy Blake with a pinch runner named Johnny. Revised versions generally corrected the mistake.

Singer and comedian William DeWolf Hopper recited the poem in the 1800's and made several recordings of it. He also starred in a silent film version in 1916.

CASEY'S REVENGE was written and published in a Nashville newspaper in 1906 with the writer being credited as James Wilson. Wilson was better known as famed sports writer Grantland Rice. Rice was born in 1880 and died in 1954.

Though Thayer had claimed that Casey was fictional, Mighty Casey became famous as a legend throughout the years in the same vein as Paul Bunyan and Davy Crockett did in their own right. There was no Paul Bunyan. Davy Crockett did exist. Mighty Casey did not. Or did he? Stockton, California which is located near San Fransisco was once known as Mudville according to some historians. And they did have a league within the area which included a player by the name of Casey. In recent years in Stockon, a team in the Cincinnati Reds Minor League system has played known as the Mudville Nine. So were Casey and Mudville real? Probably not as in the characters Thayer created. But in reading CASEY AT THE BAT, don't be surprised if you come away thinking the world of Casey and Mudville and it's people were very real indeed.

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