Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic, Sung in the Year 1888


The outlook wasn't brilliant
for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two
with but one inning more to play....
Since 1888 Casey at the Bat has been read and loved by baseball fans around the world. Now Mighty Casey has been brought to life by celebrated illustrator C. F. Payne, who captures the old-fashioned fun of an ...

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The outlook wasn't brilliant
for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two
with but one inning more to play....
Since 1888 Casey at the Bat has been read and loved by baseball fans around the world. Now Mighty Casey has been brought to life by celebrated illustrator C. F. Payne, who captures the old-fashioned fun of an afternoon at the ballpark for a brand-new generation.

The popular narrative poem about a celebrated baseball player who strikes out at the crucial moment of a game, illustrated with a cast of animal characters.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Penned in 1888, Thayer's classic ballad is still as fresh as a rookie pitcher; it has earned its place in the Read-Aloud Hall of Fame. Though the style is slightly formal and young audiences may not catch every word ("upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat"), no one will miss the gist of the tale. With a few brief strokes of his brush, Fitzgerald captures an era-a hat of a certain style, a pair of glasses, the cut of a suit-and his light-dappled acrylics seem aged by a fine patina. He manipulates perspective to wonderful advantage, bringing a sense of movement to the pages: readers are now in the stands, now at third base, now behind the catcher as the mighty Casey prepares to swing at the ball. A home-run effort. Ages 6-10. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The familiar poem is given a fresh look with Polacco's amusing artwork. It opens with a little girl reminding her brother that the big game will soon start and that he better get moving. Casey is filled with confidence and even though he arrives late and the ensuing game appears in jeopardy, he believes he can save the day. Polacco adds a real twist to the ending that will surely delight Little League and big league fans. 1997 (orig.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Thayer's famous poem, presented here in picture-book format, is still fresh and still filled with excitement and suspense. Fitzgerald's colorful, double-spread acrylic illustrations pit the greens and yellows of the field against the bright blue sky. The scenes are softened and blurred by the brushwork, which, along with the players' loose-fitting striped uniforms, infuses the book with the atmosphere of an old-fashioned, hometown game. Casey swaggers through the verses, a Babe Ruth-like figure in command of the crowd until the last terrible moment when he swings and misses. In his illustrations for Jack Norworth's multilayered Take Me Out to the Ballgame (Four Winds, 1992), Alex Gillman uses interesting facts from the history of the sport to add meaning to the poem. This new offering simply illustrates an old bit of popular culture, but it captures the thrill of the game, and baseball fans will enjoy it. It's pure entertainment.-Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Ilene Cooper
Libraries may own several versions of this perennial favorite but try to make room for one more--this one's a hit. Interestingly, it was first published in Great Britain, and though the illustrator hails from Manchester, England, he seems to have a handle on "Casey at the Bat." His sunlit art spreads expansively across two pages and contains both the physicality of the game and the magic of the crowd experience. Whether it's Casey coming up to bat, or the fans yelling, "Kill the umpire!" or that final, deadly swing, Fitzgerald's art transcends the text to express the emotion of the moment. An entertaining reminder of the national pastime in a baseball spring sans heroes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689854941
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 515,138
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

C.F. Payne has illustrated more than a dozen picture books, including the Texas Bluebonnet winner Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy and Turkey Bowl, both written by Phil Bildner. He also illustrated the New York Times bestsellers The Remarkable Farkle McBride and Micawber, both by John Lithgow. He teaches at the Columbus College of Design, where he is the chair of the Illustration Department. C.F. Payne lives with his wife and children in Cincinnati, Ohio. Visit him at

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2007

    Great Book!

    The genre of this book is under the catogory of poetry. One day in 1888 in Mudville stadium, it was the ninth inning with their team down four to two. After two outs were made the fans wanted Casey to bat, but two batters went before him. The two batters get on base, and Casey steps to the plate with a chance to win the game for the home team. Did Casey get the winning for his team? Read to find out, this book is a must have for any sports lover. The reading level for this book is ages 4-8. Thayer, Ernest Lawrence copied by Bing, Christopher. Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888. New York: Handprint Books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2006

    Casey at the Bat Review

    Poetry: The book, Casey at the Bat (A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888), was an interesting rhyming book for children. It kept my attention as I read from page to page. It actually had me wondering what would happen on the next page. I liked the book very much and would read it again. I think children will find interest in the topic, especially those who play sports. I liked the fact that the pages had newspaper clippings for it¿s background with information on them from that time period. The book will be able to teach kids more about this time period Ernest Thayer was born in Lawrence, Massacusetts and raised in Worcester. He graduated magna cum laude in philosophy from Harvard in 1885, where he was editor of the Harvard Lampoon. Its business manager,William Randolph Hearst hired Thayer as humour columnist for the San Francisco Examiner 1886-88.Thayer¿s last piece, dated June 3, 1888, was a ballad entitled 'Casey' ('Casey at the Bat').It took two decades for the poem to make Thayer famous, as he was hardly the boastful type and had signed the June 3 poem with the nickname 'Phin'. Two mysteries remain about the poem: who, if anyone, was the model for the title character and whether Thayer had a real-life 'Mudville' in mind when he included Mudville as the poem's mythical town. On March 31, 2004, Katie Zezima of The New York Times penned an article called 'In 'Casey' Rhubarb, 2 Cities Cry 'Foul!'' on the competing claims of two towns to such renown: Stockton, California, and Holliston, Massachusetts. He moved to Santa Barbara in 1912, where he married Rosalind Buel Hammett and retired. Thayer died in 1940, at age 77. Casey at the Bat (A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888), book is about a baseball game that a player named Casey was at bat. The Casey team was known as the ¿Mudville Nine¿. The game was not looking good for them at all. Players were striking out and they were behind with only one more inning to play. Everyone thought if Casey got up to bat they could win. But, their hope faded away when they realized two more batters were before Casey that did not have a chance. To everyone¿s surprise the two batters got on base, one on second the other on third. Casey got up to bat with everyone in the stands ecstatic. Casey let the first two pitches go by without a swing. Then when the third ball came Casey swung. The crowd became in shock and disappointed. The impossible had happened that they thought never could. ¿And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred, There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third¿. This is the part of the book where the crowd was amazed the two batters before Casey had gotten on base. They had actually hit the ball. ¿And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout But there is no joy in Mudville---Mighty Casey has struck out¿. This is the end of story where Casey strikes out and the crowd is in shock he did so. Thayer, Ernest Lawrence. Casey at the Bat (A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888). New York: Handprint Books, 2000. Grade Level: 3rd

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2003

    The Force of Casey's Blow

    This is the first book my 2-year old son could name by title. He asks for it multiple times daily. I've noticed the publishers' recommended ages, and no, my boy doesn't get exactly why this is such a great story, but he loves the wonderful illustrations, the expressions on the fans' faces, Casey's 'defiance,' the umpire's 'Strike two!', etc. It's a book we'll love together for years.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2001

    From Children's Literature

    Casey at the Bat, written by Ernest Lawerence Thayer and illustrated by Chistopher Bing, is presented as a scrapbook of newspaper articles, baseball tickets and other memorabilia from over one hundred years ago. Bing's wonderful illustrations do a great job of bringing the past alive and showing kids who love the game of baseball, how it all started. Although, children may not appreciate the illustrations as much as an adult would. Bing turns thayer's poem into a picture book full of drawings that take you back to the time of 1888. The realistic pen and pencil drawings captures the readers eyes and may cause them to look at the pictures rather than read the story. Throughout the story Thayer makes Casey a big man that everyone has confidence that he will be able to win the game for the Mudville nine. Things were not looking so well for them but the crowd knew that Casey would be to bat and they would put money on it that he would win the game for them. The story goes to show that there are heros and everyone may have their dreams but along with dreams many dissappointments may come, Mighty Casey had struck out! Casey at the Bat was a Caldecott Award winning book, and was also Bing's first children's book to illustrate. His illustrations made you as a reader come to see baseball in 1888. The book is for anyone age six or older.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2001

    Imaginative Illustrations Turn the Poem into a News Event

    This book was a Caldecott Honoree in 2001 for its outstanding illustrations. That award is richly deserved by this remarkable work whose images will remind you of a Hartnett album. Mr. Christopher Bing has reconceptualized 'Casey at the Bat' from being a poem that appeared in the June 3, 1888 edition of the San Francisco Examiner into an imaginary news story with drawings and artifacts in 'The Mudville Sunday Monitor' of the same date. In that reframing, the classic poem takes on a greater life and significance for fans of the poem. Each page in this brief book resembles the yellowed file copies of that old newspaper, with historic artifacts strewn across its pages. You will see tickets to the game, money, confetti, articles of that time, advertisements, a baseball, a baseball card, and the Library of Congress catalog card for 'Casey at the Bat.' Even the acknowledgments are put into this format. But this would all be but window-dressing if it were not such a powerful poem that has captured the imaginations of baseball fans for generations. 'The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine . . . .' 'The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.' Everyone hopes that Casey will get to bat, but that's unlikely. But a miracle happens. 'For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.' Then comes the most famous and exciting at-bat in fictional baseball history. Alas, like the Red Sox since Babe Ruth left for New York, the end is disappointment for the fans. This book will make a wonderful gift for the baseball fan who has everything. After you finish oohing and aahing over the great illustrations and reliving your pleasure in the poem, I suggest that you reflect over the famous at-bats that have occurred in real baseball games. Which one is your favorite? For me, none can match Kirk Gibson's hobbling home run to help the Dodgers top the Mets in Shea Stadium in the final game of the National League Championship Series and go onto the World Series. I still get chills thinking about that. Reggie Jackson's third home run in the same World Series game comes close as a thrill. Wait for a good pitch, and hit it out of the park! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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