Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Striking Out Might Casey

Twas' Me What Struck Mighty Casey Out
by Charlie Leck

I received the above photograph from my brother yesterday and it brought back to mind the awesome poem about MIGHTY CASEY AT THE BAT, which we enacted on a sunny Day in May, nearly 60 years ago, at Chester Public School in New Jersey. Zeb Robbins played the part of Mighty Casey and Teddy Gilliam was my catcher. Bobby Thompson was the daring umpire. The girls, of course, were not allowed in the little play; however, if truth be told, Liz Metzger could out-throw and out-hit us all.

Please understand that this is a quickly written draft and my very sincere and heart-felt apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer!

There was no joy in Mudville on that cloudy, cheerless day
When a big buffoon, named Casey, showed his feet were made of clay
Whilst the cloudy-cover thickened and thunder shook the stands
I stood so proud upon the hill and doffed my cap to all the fans

T'were nearly 60 years ago when I were called into that game
To face the Mighty Casey who tried to smear my name.
As I threw some warm up pitches to my frightened catcher, Teddy,
The fans threw back abuse at me and all their boos were steady.

Our nine had come to Mudville to play 'em for the crown
And we had 'em where we wanted – one out to get and them two down
When Nasty Flynn had got to third and Blake stood down on second
And Hub, our crazy manager, did at me wildly beckon

Zeb played that much feared batter on that day in May back then
And thousands roared and hollered, as I strode in from the pen,
Mocking me and all my playing mates, who cowered in the field.
Old Casey spat a wad at me from which I quickly reeled.

The sweat drizzled down from me and caused my eyes to sting
Whilst Casey looked so much at ease and gave his bat a swing,
Banging the massive hunk of oak atop the tiny plate,
And I writhed a bit in fear at his fearsome look of hate.

The crowd begun to holler for me to throw that purdy rock
So Mighty Casey could swat it up, right at the Mudville clock.
And so I did with all my might and closed my eyes as well
And felt the breeze stir in my face from Casey's potent yell.

"Weren't my style," said Casey as he let it pass him by
And all the town heard the umpire's clear, resounding cry.
"Steerike," screamed Bobby Thompson, calling pitches on that day
And the rowdy crowd rose up as if the ump they'd slay

I took some speed off a second pitch that Casey let pass too,
Whilst Bobby called out loud and clear that it was now strike two
And the crowd cried out to kill the ump and throw him in the ditch
But Casey waved 'em off and signaled me to pitch.

Casey's eyes grew cold and stern and looked out at me with spite,
That caused me to tremble there and say a prayer in fright
But gods ne'er hear or care what low-rank players ask
Yet, on that heroic day, in the angels' sight I'd bask

Whilst muses sang so sweetly, I fired a bullet to a giant standing there
And he n'er saw the blur a-comin' 'til in Teddy's glove it did tear
Whilst Casey swung, far too late ,and behind the clouds the sun did hide
And gasps and groans is all'st I heard from Mudville's sullen tide

Mighty Casey had stuck out on that well-known day in May
And all the fame came down on him alone that strangely funny day
Whilst I was the feller that slung the ball with my fearsome, mighty arm
And should be known to all around as old Charlie who caused the harm

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