"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_ 
(http://www.newspaperarchive.com/Viewer.aspx?img=wSCs6S0EhDCKID/6NLMW2rZSsZ+ilGYEeS/Ei/oSNbOd5XSGz6G6XQ==)  _Sunday, 
November 22, 1931_ (http://www.newspaperarchive.com/Search.aspx?Search=)  _Helena,_ 
12702+AND+stateid:59)   _Montana_ 
(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_ 
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Examiner)  1886-88. 
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_ 
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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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