Baseball Shorts: The Mudville Nine and “Casey at the Bat”

Most baseball fans will know the poem by Wallack Thayer “Casey at the Bat” in which the local hero Casey strikes out in the final at-bat of the Mudville Nine. Now it appears that the town that is called Stockton nowadays, was called Mudville before its incorporation.

Ernest Thayer moved west after he graduated from Harvard. Thayer, a Massachusetts-born, headed to San Francisco where he found a job as a columnist at the San Francisco Examiner. Since San Francisco is rather close to Stockton, which is located on the Eastern part of the Bay Area, East of Oakland and South of Sacramento, it could very well be that the baseball team in the poem, the Mudville Nine, came from Mudville/Stockton. In general, it is assumed that the name Mudville is/was fictional.

The famous poem was published in Northern California on June 3rd, 1888. It appeared to be Thayers’ final contribution to the newspaper. Only two months later, the poem was recited in New York’s Wallack Theatre. It was an instant hit.

Mudville Nine Anniversary Logo - California League (CAL) - Chris ...Stockton has been a charter member of the California League and the city has been with the league every season since the inaugural year 1941. The team named itself Mudville Nine for two seasons (2000-2001). Nowadays, The Visalia Rawhide dons Mudville Nine uniforms in a special themed night that remembers the famous poem, once a year.

But since Ernest Thayer lived in the area, it may be very well possible that the poem is about the former Mudville in California where the fans were plunged into mourning when their hero, the Mighty Casey struck out to lose the game.

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