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June 3, 2015

June 3, 1888: Mighty Casey takes the bat

On this day in 1888, Ernest Thayer anonymously published the poem “Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888” in The San Francisco Examiner.

Thayer was a Harvard alum who had written for the Lampoon. He had been pulled in to the Examiner by college classmate William Randolph Hearst, whose father, George, had purchased the paper in 1885, hoping for a leg up in California politics.

The Examiner published the poem with the byline “Phin”, the same moniker Thayer used for his Lampoon articles (short for “Phineas”, his college nickname).

Here is James Earl Jones reciting “Casey at the Bat” – a tragedy to rival those of ancient Greece.

For more on Casey at the Bat, visit Baseball Almanac.

Image: Edward Wilson, 1888, illustration for The San Francisco Examiner

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