Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 22:39:25 -0500 From: Alan Baragona Subject: Re: 'Mudville" As far as I can tell, Thayer had no connection to Kansas. He went from Massachusetts directly to San Francisco, then traveled around Europe reporting for Hearst, then settled in San Francisco and wrote "Casey at the Bat." Though Gardner's annotation is to the poem, the reference to "Centerville," which isn't mentioned in "Casey," makes me think he might be locating Mudville in Kansas to fit William Schuman's opera _The Mighty Casey_ rather than Thayer's original. Thayer denied that there was any real-life model for Casey, so there needn't be a real-life model for Mudville. Of course, he might have seen the name on a map of Kansas in the 1880's and thought it was funny and suitable. But I would agree that in all likelihood he made up the name as a generic description of a 19th-century American hick town that could be in the mid-West, New England, or California. It is, after all, "A Ballad of the Republic." Gregory {Greg} Downing wrote: > > At 09:24 PM 12/15/97 -0500, you (Alan Baragona ) wrote: > >However, Martin Gardner's _Annotated Casey at the Bat_ has the > >following: > > > >"In 1887, the year of the immortal game, Mudville was a farming village > >near the east border of Anderson County, Kansas, about sixty miles > >southeast of Topeka. It was on the south bank of Polecat Creek, seven > >miles west of where Centerville, in Linn County, is still located. > >Neither Mudville nor the creek exist today." > > > >I must admit, though, that the rest of Gardner's note makes me wonder if > >this account is serious. He continues "The poignant story of why and > >how Mudville faded from the map is told by Grantland Rice in his poem, > >'Mudville's Fate.'" And then Gardner recounts the story of the poem as > >if it were historically accurate, even though it mentions Casey and his > >wife and 8 children. > > I too would be somewhat skeptical, since this is the type of situation in > which I have often seen the drive to identify a "real" place when it is > deliberately generic and fictional. Is there anything about the poem in > question that seems to demand a particular historical location? It's the > story of a guy who thinks he's a big shot, and (acting cavalierly) strikes > out at the big moment in the game. When did Thayer have information about or > an association with Kansas? >