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Casey's Revenge

There were saddened hearts in Mudville for a week or even more;

There were muttered oaths and curses --every fan in town was sore.

"Just think," said one, "how soft it looked with Casey at the bat!

And then to think he'd go and spring a bush-league trick like that."

All his past fame was forgotten; he was now a hopeless "shine."

They called him "Strike-out Casey" from the mayor down the line,

And as he came to bat each day his bosom heaved a sigh,

While a look of hopeless fury shone in mighty Casey's eye.

The lane is long, someone has said, that never turns again,

And fate, though fickle, often gives another chance to men.

And Casey smiled -- his rugged face no longer wore a frown;

The pitcher who had started all the trouble came to town.

All Mudville had assembled; ten thousand fans had come

To see the twirler who had put big Casey on the bum;

And when he stepped into the box, the multitude went wild.

He doffed his cap in proud disdain -- but Casey only smiled.

"Play ball!," the umpire's voice rang out, and then the game began;

But in that throng of thousands there was not a single fan

Who thought that Mudville had a chance; and with the setting sun

Their hopes sank low -- the rival team was leading "four to one."

The last half of the ninth came round, with no change in the score;

But when the first man up hit safe the crowd began to roar.

The din increased, the echo of ten thousand shouts was heard

When the pitcher hit the second and gave "four balls" to the third.

Three men on base -- nobody out -- three runs to tie the game!

A triple meant the highest niche in Mudville's hall of fame;

But here the rally ended and the gloom was deep as night

When the fourth one "fouled to catcher" and the fifth "flew out to right."

A dismal groan in chorus came -- a scowl was on each face --

When Casey walked up, bat in hand, and slowly took his place;

His bloodshot eyes in fury gleamed; his teeth were clinched in hate;

He gave his cap a vicious hook and pounded on the plate.

But fame is fleeting as the wind, and glory fades away;

There were no wild and wooly cheers, no glad acclaim this day.

They hissed and groaned and hooted as they clamored, "Strike him out!"

But Casey gave no outward sign that he had heard this shout.

The pitcher smiled and cut one loose; across the plate it spread;

Another hiss, another groan. "Strike one!" the umpire said.

Zip! Like a shot, the second curve broke just below his knee--

"Strike two!" the umpire roared aloud; but Casey made no plea.

No roasting for the umpire now -- his was an easy lot;

But here the pitcher whirled again -- was that a rifle shot?

A whack! a crack! and out through space the leather pellet flew,

A blot against the distant sky, a speck against the blue.

Above the fence in center field, in rapid whirling flight,

The sphere sailed on; the blot grew dim and then was lost to sight.

Ten thousand hats were thrown in air, ten thousand threw a fit,

But no one ever found the ball that mighty Casey hit!

Oh, somewhere in this favored land dark clouds may hide the sun.

And somewhere bands no longer play and children have no fun;

And somewhere over blighted lives there hangs a heavy pall;

But Mudville hearts are happy now -- for Casey hit the ball!

About Grantland Rice 1880 - 1954

Grantland Rice was to newspaper sports writing in the 20th Century what Babe Ruth was to baseball.

Among his many contributions to sports legend, he named the 1924 Notre Dame backfield "The Four Horsemen"

"Outlined against a blue-gray October sky the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as famine, pestilence, destruction and death. These are only aliases. Their real names are: Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds this afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the green plain below."

He also wrote:

"For when the One Great Scorer comes
To write against your name,
He marks - not that you won or lost -
But how you played the Game."

(from the poem "Alumnus Football")

In 1906 Grantland Rice wrote Casey's Revenge under the pseudonym of James Wilson.

About Babe Ruth 1895 - 1948

George Herman Ruth, Jr. was one of eight children, only two of which survived infancy.

His parents' work left no time to raise children, so at age seven he was given over to St. Mary's Industrial School for boys, a reformatory and orphanage.

Labeled "Incorrigible", Ruth was befriended by Brother Matthias, Prefect of Discipline, at the school. The Brother taught him sports and provided a good example for the rest of Ruth's life.

At age 19, Ruth signed with the Boston Red Sox's minor league team. He was known as "Jack's (the owner) newest babe."

Ruth pitched and played outfield for the Sox for six years before being (infamously!) sold to the Yankees.

In Game 4 of the 1916 World Series Ruth pitched 14 innings (13 of them scoreless) to win the longest complete game in World Series history.

In 1927 Ruth hit 60 home runs in 154 games, a record that stands today.

In Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, Ruth responded to heckling Cubs fans by first pointing to the center field bleachers and then hitting what is still believed to be the longest home run ever hit out of Wrigley Field, right where he pointed.

After retiring from baseball, Ruth gave talks in orphanages, hospitals, and on radio. He was one of the first five inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame. When he died, over 100,000 came to pay their respects.