The Library of Congress Blog yesterday celebrated the 125th anniversary of Ernest L. Thayer’s iconic baseball poem “Casey at the Bat” by featuring a recording of the poem made for the occasion, by Washington Nationals radio broadcaster Dave Jageler. Fans of the poem definitely will want to compare Jageler’s interpretation to the classic 1909 recording by De Wolf Hopper available through the Library’s National Jukebox.
Both recordings, of course, owe their existence to the text of the poem, which originally appeared on page 4 of the June 3, 1888, issue of San Francisco’s The Daily Examiner.* Since my quick search of the Web failed to turn up a digitized image of the page, I present here a scan of the page from the Library’s microfilm copy of the paper:
As you can see, the poem appears rather unobtrusively in the fourth column of the page; clearly the editors had no inkling that “Casey” would become the most popular baseball poem ever written! To this day, the story of the hometown slugger who dashes the crowd’s hopes by striking out remains a joy for readers, even if it strikes too close to home for millions of baseball fans everywhere–and as a Philadelphia Phillies fan, I am certainly no exception. Happy Birthday, Casey!
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*Many publications cite The San Francisco Examiner as the original source of the poem. The San Francisco Examiner was published under the title The Daily Examiner from 1865-1889. Its name changed to The Examiner in 1889, and finally to the more familiar The San Francisco Examiner in 1902.