Today in History, June 3, 1888:

“Casey at the Bat”, by Ernest Thayer, is first published in the San Francisco Examiner.

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 –

They’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 pudding and the latter was a fake;

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 despised, 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 it’s 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.

Not All They Appeared to Be


Today in History, June 3: 1937 – British Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII marries American double divorcee Wallis Simpson Warfield in France. In what is usually described as the ultimate romantic tale, the King had abdicated the throne in 1936 so that he could marry the American woman. However…the rest of the story. She had already married and divorced an American Naval pilot, and carried on her affair with Edward during her second marriage. Once she obtained her divorce and married the now former king (his family wanted nothing to do with her), they settled in France. The only Parliament member that had supported Edward, Winston Churchill, soon became Prime Minister. Now he had to “handle” the problem of the Duke and his spouse, who had, in the interim, become Nazi sympathizers. In the mixed up politics of Europe in thirties, this was not necessarily as odd as it seems. Nonetheless, the Duke and his wife were now a dangerous embarrassment to the crown. A saddened Churchill convinced Edward to sneak out of Spain and accept a post as Governor of the Bahamas…what amounted to banishment. He accepted and spent the war years talking badly about his own country from a distance. Not quite the romantic figure portayed.