Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 16:33:08 -0500
From: Gerald Cohen gcohen[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UMR.EDU
Subject: "Mudville" article #2
Here is the second article on "Mudville," from the Peter Tamony
Collection. At the top of the page Tamony stamped S.F. Examiner, S.F.
Chronicle, June 3, 1979 and wrote Scene p.8/2-4. The article is by Art
Rosenbaum, Chronicle Sports Editor.
"Two punches ago we undertook an update of the great American baseball
ballad 'Casey at the
Bat,' as it relates to the city of Stockton. Our treatment was an amused
skepticism. The conclusion, if any, was that the Mudville of the poem was
not Stockton despite all claims to the contrary.
This piece becomes Part II and will probably leave the issue as clouded
as ever. But first a backgrounder.
University of Pacific is planning a new Events Center for basketball,
graduations, concerts and allied performances. Out in the foyer, or in a
separate room, there will be a Stockton-area 'Hall of Fame' to include
memorable moments of the school and that port city.
The history of 'Casey' will be included because, it has been argued,
author Ernest L. Thayer was inspired by the Mudville that was Stockton when
he wrote the poem in 1888.
...Thayer wrote for the San Francisco Examiner in 1888, but this
particular piece was mailed from his home in Worcester, Mass. Boston
claimed all territorial rights. The late Jack O'Keefe, then Chief of
Police, brought Stockton's claim to the fore again in the 1950s when he
staged 'Casey at the Bat' days to open each Stockton Ports season, with
former heavyweight champion Max Baer playing the strikeout role that had
been done in three movies by DeWitt Hopper (who recited the poem for the
first time on stage), Wallace Beery and William Haines.
Stocktonites do not like the nickname 'Slough City' but are willing to
accept 'Mudville' only in reference to the old dock area of the mid-80s,
the takeoff point to the gold country as well as the site of early baseball
John DePangher of Palo Alto, a physicist at Stanford University,
satisfied his curiosity by conducting a search for the feats of his uncle
Michael DePangher with the A&G Stockton team of 1887. He found something
else--box scores to support the theory (fact) that there was a Casey,
except his real name was Cahill; that two players mentioned in the
original poem, Flynn and Cooney, were actually on the team. He is
convinced that Thayer got the idea for his poem from two games in
Sacramento and his observations of the Stockton team.
'The old files show,' he writes, that in one of these games Cahill was
put out three times by a very blind umpire...[dots present in article; G.
Cohen] in another game, Flynn, on loan to Sacramento from Stockton, made
three great rents in the air when he struck out.
De Pangher has also gone to the archives for newspaper game stories
titled 'Mobbing the Umpire' and 'A Pitcher Slugged' in which anonymous
writers show a style similar to Thayer's. Best of all, DePangher says, he
learned that his uncle Mike was probably the catcher of this most famous
'ballad of the republic.'
Chief O'Keefe was league president and a Stockton Ports director. He
played up 'Casey' to the hilt. Jimmie Longe, Stockton's best-known
sportscaster, was recruited by the Chief to do the research on the poem,
write a script for the dramatization and rehearse a very willing Max Baer,
already something of an actor, for his role. Baer was a tremendous
man--shoulders like airplane wings and a barrel chest, to mix a description.
They gave him an oversized bat with Longe reciting, Max looked
fiercely comical striking out, then reverting to his boxing pose of being
[G.Cohen: I omit the final five paragraphs of the article, which
contain nothing substantial. BTW, could there possibly have been two
Mudvilles, one in California (Stockton) and one in Massachusetts, that
inspired Thayer? I'll check the book _Casey at the Bat_ by Jim Moore and
Natalie Vermilyea to see if any mention is made of a Mudville in
gcohen[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]umr.edu