"Casey at the Bat" by George Whitefield D'Vys? Phineas Thayer?
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Mon Nov 21 00:55:39 UTC 2005
I decided to look into the Boston Globe and other sources for "Casey at the
Bat." Any opinion on the following article about George Whitefield D'Vys?
And what about Phineas Thayer (not Ernest?).
_The Helena Independent_
November 22, 1931_ (http://www.newspaperarchive.com/Search.aspx?Search=) _Helena,_
(http://www.newspaperarchive.com/Search.aspx?Search="phineas+thayer"+AND+stateid:59) ...paper printed It under tho
name of 'PHINEAS THAYER.' That made me mad and I..
George Whitefield D'Vys
Ernest Lawrence Thayer (_August 14_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_14)
, _1863_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1863) - _August 21_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_21) , _1940_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1940) ) was an
_American_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States) writer and poet who
wrote "_Casey at the Bat_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casey_at_the_Bat) ".
Thayer was born in _Lawrence, Massachusetts_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence,_Massachusetts) and raised in _Worcester_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worcester,_Massachusetts) . He graduated _magna cum laude_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magna_cum_laude) from _Harvard_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_University) in _philosophy_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy) in _1885_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1885) after editing the _Harvard
Lampoon_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_Lampoon) . Its business
manager, _William Randolph Hearst_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Randolph_Hearst) , hired Thayer as humour columnist for the _San Francisco Examiner_
Thayer’s last piece, dated _June 3_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_3) ,
_1888_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1888) , was a ballad entitled "Casey"
("Casey at the Bat").
It took two decades for the poem to make Thayer famous, as he was hardly the
boastful type and had signed the June 3 poem with the nickname "Phin". Two
mysteries remain about the poem: who, if anyone, was the model for the title
character and whether Thayer had a real-life "Mudville" in mind when he
included Mudville as the poem's mythical town. On _March 31_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_31) , _2004_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004) , Katie Zezima
of _The New York Times_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_York_Times)
penned an article called "In 'Casey' Rhubarb, 2 Cities Cry 'Foul!'" on the
competing claims of two towns to such renown: _Stockton, California_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockton,_California) , and _Holliston, Massachusetts_
As far as whether there was any model for the title character, Thayer later
dispelled the notion that any single living baseball player was an influence.
However, late _1880s_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1880s) _Boston_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston,_Massachusetts) star _Mike "King" Kelly_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Kelly) is odds-on the most likely model for
Casey's baseball situations. Besides being a native of a town close to Boston,
Thayer, as a San Francisco Examiner baseball reporter in the offseason of
1887-88, covered exhibition games featuring Kelly. In November _1887_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1887) , some of his reportage about a Kelly at-bat has the
same ring as Casey's famous at-bat in the poem. A 2004 book by Howard W.
Rosenberg, Cap Anson 2: The Theatrical and Kingly Mike Kelly: U.S. Team Sport's
First Media Sensation and Baseball's Original Casey at the Bat, reprints a
_1905_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1905) Thayer letter to a Baltimore scribe
who was inquiring about the poem's roots. In the letter, Thayer singled out
Kelly, who had died in _1894_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1894) , as having
shown "impudence" in claiming to have written it. Rosenberg argues that if
Thayer still felt offended, Thayer may have steered later comments away from
connecting Kelly to it. Kelly had also performed in vaudeville, and recited the
poem dozens of times, possibly butchering it to Thayer's dismay.
Incidentally, the first public performance of the poem was on August 14, 1888, by actor
De Wolf Hopper, on Thayer's 25th birthday.
Thayer's recitation of it at a Harvard class reunion in _1895_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1895) may seem trivial except that it helps solve the
mystery, which lingered into the _20th century_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20th_century) , of who had written it. In the mid-_1890s_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1890s) , Thayer contributed several other comic poems for Hearst's New
York Journal and then turned to make his livelihood by overseeing his family's
mills in Worcester.
He moved to _Santa Barbara_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Barbara,_California) in _1912_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1912) , where he married
Rosalind Buel Hammett and retired. Thayer died in 1940, at age 77.
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