Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888

by Ernest Lawrence Thayer and Christopher Bing

Thayer’s poem about mighty Casey’s strike-out during the Mudville Nine’s... read more

Thayer’s poem about mighty Casey’s strike-out during the Mudville Nine’s legendary baseball game was first pseudonymously published in The San Francisco Examiner on June 8, 1888. Since then it has appeared in countless anthologies and a few picture book editions for children. No artists have attempted to do what Bing has accomplished so handily, which is a brilliant recreation of the “ballad” in what first appears to be a scrapbook from someone’s attic. Using scratchboard artwork, Bing fashioned illustrations of the poem, putting Casey into a uniform of the period and surrounding him with the people and trappings of 1888. Those illustrations are likewise surrounded with what one might find in a box of old keepsakes, such as faux tickets to the game and other mementoes of a sporting event in 1888. Using today’s graphic technology, Bing replicated an “antique” catalog card on one of the end pages; a front cover image of a baseball it seems that one could pick up and pitch; and fabricated old newspaper ads and stories. Older readers will find surprises in every inch of fine print and photograph of objects from Casey’s time. (Age 4 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2001

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