“Casey’s Comeback,” by Steve Humphrey

Every now and  then I come across a spin-off of Ernest Thayer’s “Casey At the Bat.”  It’s fun to read the different perspectives on what might have happened next for poor Casey after that infamous outing.  This piece was written in 2013 by Steve Humphrey of Pacifica, California.


Many years had come and gone since Mudville lost that game

To get that far and fall just short, twas Casey some would blame

But most the fans were faithful for years they endured the pain

Their cursed up strugglin’ franchise was an insult to the game

But thru this redwood valley and along the ocean shore

Could it be that Casey this mountain of a man

Would come on out of hiding and deal another hand

But would these fans accept him could he get another cheer

Or would they not forget the fear of yesteryear

But light is shinning on him now the scars they did heal

As Casey started working out to catch that former zeal

He had but months to ready himself as spring was getting near

The workouts were so intensified his mission would not veer

He said no no to candy and certainly no to fries

And munched down all his salad and pushed away the pies

Is Casey really coming back screamed a patron of many years

As 20 heads tuned around they couldn’t believe their ears

This word it traveled fast from the market to the pews

From Robby Joe the Blacksmith to Mike who sells the shoes

Opening day’s upon us now as Casey made the team

It’s been years since they’d seen him, he still looks lean and mean

The season starts out slow again it looks like dejavoo

The fans are all tensed up inside yet no one hears a boo

They find themselves in last again as a few fans they do frown

And some guys to find comfort read the standings upside down

But through this dirt and dust and palms of grimy spit

The Mudville fans were taking favor to their team that just won’t quit

Then one game they were down by 12 and defeat was right upon ’em

This team they said in unison we got’em where we want ’em

They rise up in the standings now this team keeps showing promise

As the crowds keep growing larger there is no doubting Thomas

And now the season’s winding down and one thing is for certain

If they keep up with this winning first place they’ll be a flirtin’

Oh now the final week is here they still are in the thicket

The hardcore fans are camping out to try and get a ticket

The team is oh so unified and have each other’s back

With Casey in the middle the leader of the pack

And now their rivals come to them it is the final game

To see who gets the glory to see who gets the fame

They gather on the hilltops and nearby houses too

Some will even climb the trees for a desperate kind of view

Others find a knothole or spy a vacant crack

Some are a top the train cars some stand on a back

Every Royal rooter is gathered here today

No matter what the cost they’ll find a way to pay

The fans are growing restless now they go from pale to white

Adrenaline keeps a rising no fingernail left in sight

And now they sing the Anthem as tension starts to build

And now they introduce the players as home team takes the field

At last the game is underway at last the game is here

Does Mudville have the fortitude can they persevere

The game it starts out slowly now as Mudville gets behind

Their pitcher is a reeling for the plate he cannot find

A flair to the left an error to the right and even a whimpy dinker

Says a fan up in the stands “this game might be a stinker”

The baseball Gods that are out today have really pulled the rug out

As the Mudville players keep praying “just get us in the dugout”

Now the Mudville team is batting and are looking for a hero

And when the inning ends it’s just another zero

The game it Soldiers on, have the fans lost their glee

It’s the bottom of the ninth and Mudville’s down by three

But a spark deep down ignites them and soon the bags are loaded

The fan are going crazy, the older ones have coded

But when Taylor pops it up and Daniels does the same

Another at bat like that could end this chilling game

The Mudville fans are reeling now, could this be their fate

As Casey leaves the deck and taps his bat upon the plate

The pitchers name is Johnny, his face does show the look

As catcher signals him to throw that 12/6 hook

Now the ball comes spinning in it’s bending like a bow

As Casey looks upon it and decides to let it go

The ump he calls strike 1 the fans don’t think it’s true

’til Casey takes that same ol’ pitch and now it’s 0 and 2

But Casey keeps his faith, the fat lady she ain’t sing’n

Just one mistake from Johnny and Casey he’ll be swing’n

In eager anticipation no desire to be the bum

Casey waits in ready, in hopes of what’s to come

His hands are clenched around the bat his knuckles are snowy white

If this pitcher serves it up he’ll swing with all his might

“Come on” said Haley who was Casey’s longtime girl

“The heater may be coming, focus on the pearl”

And now the pitch is coming it’s looking like a beam

It’s smoking like a comet it’s followed by some steam

And just like that this pitch puts Johnny’s team in peril

As Casey hits the ball right upon the barrel

The sound it makes is different in fact it’s kind of eerie

How can a human being unleash this kind of fury

10,000 jaws were dropping they couldn’t believe their eyes

For when that ball had left the park it still was on the rise

The fans they jumped they hugged they cried then fell into a scream

Then poured onto the field to greet their Mudville team

They carried Casey on their shoulders for at least an hour or two

So never give up fight the fight and your dreams may come true

This day in baseball: “Casey At the Bat” is published

I’ve done a handful of posts about the poem “Casey At the Bat” by Ernest L. Thayer.  The poem first appeared in the San Francisco Examiner  on June 3, 1888, originally published under the pen name “Phin” because Thayer felt embarrassed to have written what he considered “bad verse.”  When others came forward to claim the work as their own, however, Thayer revealed himself as the true author.

To celebrate the anniversary of this classic poem, here’s a recording of James Earl Jones reciting the piece.  (And, yes, it’s pretty awesome.)

Casey at the Bat

Presenting the classic baseball poem, “Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888.” It was originally published in The San Francisco Examiner on 3 June 1888.


The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that –
We’d put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they’d a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.


~Ernest Lawrence Thayer