“Casey at the Bat” 

U.S. #3083 from the 1996 Folk Heroes set.

On June 3, 1888, the now-famous poem “Casey at the Bat” was first published in the San Francisco Daily Examiner.

Ernest Lawrence Thayer wrote “Casey at the Bat.” Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1863, Thayer earned a degree in philosophy from Harvard University before accepting a job offer from his friend, William Randolph Hearst, to work as the humor columnist for the Daily Examiner in 1886.

Over the next two years Thayer wrote for a variety of the paper’s sections, including advertisements and editorials. But it would be his last piece for the paper that would make him famous. He published “Casey at the Bat” on June 3, 1888, under the pseudonym “Phin” as he had all his other works for the paper.

The poem went relatively unnoticed for a couple months until actor De Wolf Hopper staged the first public performance that August. It soon became the most famous baseball poem ever and Hopper would go on to recite the poem 10,000 (some sources say up to 40,000) times during his lifetime.

U.S. #3083 FDC – 1996 Mighty Casey First Day Cover.

Over the years, there’s been lots of speculation over who and where may have served as inspiration for the poem. Two towns have claimed to be the models for Mudville – Stockton, California, and Holliston, Massachusetts.

U.S. #2824 – Zasu Pitts played Camille in the silent film version of the poem.

And while Thayer insisted Casey wasn’t based on a single player, many believe he was at least in part inspired by Mike “King” Kelly. Thayer had worked as a baseball reporter for Kelly’s team’s exhibition games between the 1887 to 1888 off-season. Some of his language referring to Kelly’s at-bats was even similar to how he wrote about Casey.

“Casey at the Bat” was eventually made into a silent film in 1927 and a Disney animated short in 1946.

Click here to read the full text of the poem.

Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.

Do you like this shorter format?  Let us know in the comments below.
Other related stamps:

Item #MDS282

Item #MDS282A

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  1. I like the longer article instead a shorter because it gets more information about the stamps.

  2. I like the new format. I will stop reading if an article or even an email if it is too long. Accuracy of the issue and correct English is important to me.

    1. If you want a punctuation perfect researched story, buy a book. If you want to read something FREE from a Company that sells postage stamps and just happens to throw in U.S. History, you should appreciate what Mystic is giving us everyday (for FREE).

  3. I think the format should be based on the subject. Subjects like today based on poems don’t need or deserve as much information as a civil war battle or other historical event.

  4. I prefer the longer more detailed descriptions. These are always interesting and informative. I often forward them to non-collector friends who also find them fascinating.

  5. No, I do not like the shorter format. The longer the better, the more information the more I learn about U.S. History and postage stamps. Now then, with that said…I would like to thank whoever is writing these because someone spends a lot of time putting these together. This is a free service and you certainly don’t get much for free these days; so beggars can’t be choosy. Thank you for asking though. Also, thank you for what you have provided thus far…I read them everyday and print out the ones that deal with postage stamps for future reference. More free stuff please; thank you very much!

  6. The shorter format is great. The longer format more so. Learning, or enjoying again, any stamps information is great, especially on days other aspects of life leave little time to appreciate why a stamp was produced. The day in history always renews appreciation for history, postal history’s special meaning. Also, how an everyday little thing, in this case a stamp, can represent such valuable historical information matters. Seeing each stamp, regardless of how often, brings meaning to life. Thank all of you at Mystic Stamp Company for all that is required to provide This Day in History. Nearly everyday I enjoy learning what the valuable information provided.

  7. I like both the short & longer formats, depending on the subject matter. Some of the historical events & president info require longer formats, but the shorter ones are also interesting. Either way, I find all of the info interesting & fact finding. Thank you for providing a little bit of history each day.

  8. No. Is this all that happened on June 3rd in history. This is not like all the rest of this day in history that we have had before. Go back to the origianl way. Thank you

  9. I believe the topic is what determines the length of the article. Some should be short, but many should be longer based on the info. Short is not always good.

  10. Big difference in length between last year’s TDIH entry, and today’s entry — and rightly so due to the subject matter of each entry. Both are interesting entries. Short or long should depend on subject matter, and content necessary to cover the subject.

  11. I love this shorter format and also the referral to another website for more detail, as an added touch. If one wants more information, I’m sure there are other web sites to search, if needed, but this seems to fully describe the subject, still covers a lot of pertinent details and makes for a very interesting article to read. Like someone else remarked, I tend to skip over or just skim articles that are very long. Every day, I look forward to your “This Day in History” articles. I save them and add the stamps to them which makes for a nice collection. Such a nice service. Thank you!

  12. I agree that the subject material drives the length of the article. However, having said that I confess to googling on numerous occasions to get a deeper knowledge of stories you have provided. If it is too long to retain the reader’s attention then I suggest “/speed reading” as an answer. Just because it is there does not mean the reader has to dwell on every word. We choices only if the information is there. Keep up the good work!

  13. I prefer the longer format, when the subject justifies it. I agree with many of the other contributor’s views that some topics, such as today’s, don’t require a great deal of coverage, while others on historical events and biographies deserve more in-depth details. Who knows? It might inspire some of us to read more on the subject elsewhere.
    Thank you, as always, for your great articles, and the amazing variety of subjects. You never repeat the same topic.

  14. Everyone is familiar with the story of the mighty Casey and his Mudville 9 as well as the outcome. I have never read the poem until now and had no idea who had written it. Thank you for today’s offering. As long as you keep writing them, I’ll keep reading them.

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