Casey at the Bat by Ernest L. Thayer, Patricia Polacco |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic, Sung in the Year 1888

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

3.7 9
by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, Gerald Fitzgerald

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This is an edition that evokes those amazingly languid summers when you were ten or eleven, listening to baseball games on a distant radio in the heat of the day. LeRoy Neiman has created a Mudville team that's large, muscular, present, and very American—with the first Casey to actually breathe at the plate.

A gorgeous collectible volume first printed as a


This is an edition that evokes those amazingly languid summers when you were ten or eleven, listening to baseball games on a distant radio in the heat of the day. LeRoy Neiman has created a Mudville team that's large, muscular, present, and very American—with the first Casey to actually breathe at the plate.

A gorgeous collectible volume first printed as a signed limited edition, LeRoy Neiman's Casey at the Bat is illustrated with nearly 100 pages of lush, meticulously detailed charcoal drawings that are a rare departure from the vibrantly colored paintings that made him famous. Yankees manage Joe Torre, who some say is the greatest baseball manager of all time, has written an original introduction especially for this edition. Ernest Thayer's quintessential story, beloved throughout the ages, comes to life like never before alongside Neiman's incomparable artistry in an affordable, accessible volume that's sure to be treasured by all generations.

About the Authors:
LeRoy Neiman is best known for his brilliantly colored, stunningly energetic images of sporting events and leisure activities. A member of the New York City Advisory Commission for Cultural Affairs since 1995, Neiman has received four honorary degrees and, among other honors, an Award of Merit from the American Athletic Union (1976), a Gold Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement (1977), and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (1986). He lives in New York City.

Ernest Thayer (1862-1940) wrote newspaper humor pieces under the pseudonym "Phin." Casey at the Bat first appeared in 1888.

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.)
Publishers Weekly
"The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day"-but it certainly is for this robustly entertaining picture book, as Payne (Micawber) takes a swing at Thayer's beloved poem and knocks it out of the park. The tale of infield pomp and ignominy seems made-to-measure for Payne's statuesque characters, with their outsize noses and ears and florid faces. Standing head and broad shoulders above them all is the "mighty" (if overconfident) Casey; with his impressive porkchop sideburns and handlebar moustache, he looks every inch the Victorian gentleman-athlete. Payne injects a number of droll touches: a small inset of a gravestone enscribed "R.I.P. Cooney" accompanies the phrase "when Cooney died at first," for instance, while "defiance gleamed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip" occasions a batter's-eye view of a skinny and clearly terrified pitcher. For an ingenious take on Casey's approach to his at-bat ("Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;/ It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell"), Payne shows a spread of Mudville, and a farmer and his son listening to the uproar from where they are working on the mountainside. Entirely different in approach from Christopher Bing's starmaking turn with the same material, Payne's equally enjoyable outing is just the ticket for a front-row seat at literature's most famous ballgame. An afterword explains the poem's origin and history. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
"But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out." This ominous phrase has been part of America's favorite pastime, baseball, since its publication in 1888. It has come not only to symbolize the agony of defeat, but also the fall of any sport team's Goliath. The poem itself is a wonderfully suspenseful account of the bottom half of the final inning in an "all but over" game. Descriptions of this moment are so descriptive that actual jeers and cheers from the fans are heard by the reader. As players strike out and others gain position, one feels the passion of the moment and the belief in a miracle. This miracle is no other than mighty Casey. One cannot help holding his breath as poetic phrases detail the pitches to Casey. The conclusion is history. The illustrations accompanying this classic masterfully capture all the emotion and action of the words. The details are superb, from the cleats kicking up dirt to the smack of a baseball hitting a catcher's glove. The one close-up of Casey, steaming with determination, is magical enough for a reader's life-long understanding of shear will and grit. Whether a baseball fan or not, readers of any age will treasure this book. 2003, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers,
— Andrea Sears Andrews
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 5-A striking edition of the classic poem. Caricatures imbued with personality and detail revitalize the work for a new generation of children. Notes on the poet and the poem complete the package. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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.
Kirkus Reviews
Of the making of Caseys there seems no end, but here the illustrator of John Lithgow's Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000) delivers the chestnut with such broad, satirical panache that only the dourest of spoilsports will be able to resist going along for the ride. From the rows of bowler-topped gents in the stands to the well-groomed hairs in Casey's handlebar, every detail is both larger than life, and painted with crystal clarity. A mighty figure indeed, Casey strides to the plate with lordly assurance, casually takes two strikes, then gears up for the next pitch; Payne zeroes in on Casey's suddenly-choleric face-steam blasting from his ears-then pulls back to depict a whiff so prodigious that the batter's whole body disappears into a swirling blur. But a whiff it is, and a view of a deserted, muddy street captures the forlorn tone of the final verse. Finished off with a detailed account of the poem's history, this may not supercede Christopher Bing's Caldecott Honor-winning rendition (2000) for period flavor, but it does capture the episode's epic scale and perfectly tuned melodrama. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st U.S. ed
Product dimensions:
8.73(w) x 10.63(h) x 0.36(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Ernest L. Thayer was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1863. He grew up in nearby Worcester, attended Harvard College, and afterward, worked at the San Francisco Daily Examiner. While there, he wrote news stories, editorials, and ballads as well as a humorous column that he signed with the nickname "Phin."

Thayer returned to the East Coast in 1888. Shortly after his return he wrote Casey at the Bat and sent it to the Examiner where on June 3, 1888, it was printed on the editorial page and signed "Phin." After years of being performed on stage and radio, the ballad became immortalized, and is now known and loved by generations of baseball fans around the world.

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 in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife and children. Visit him at

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