by Grantland Rice
(From Base-Ball Ballads, 1910)
I wandered back to Mudville, Tom, where you and I were boys,
And where we drew in days gone by our fill of childish joys;
Alas! The town’s deserted now, and only rank weeds grow
Where mighty Casey fanned the air just twenty years ago.
Remember Billy Woodson’s place, where in the evening’s shade,
The bunch would gather and discuss the home runs Casey made?
Dog fennel now grows thick around that “joint” we used to know,
Before old Casey whiffed the breeze some twenty years ago.
The grandstand, too, has been torn down; no bleachers met my gaze
Where you and I were wont to sit in happy bygone days;
The peanuts which we fumbled there have sprouted in a row
Where mighty Casey swung in vain just twenty years ago.
O how we used to cheer him, Tom, each time he came to bat!
And how we held our breath in awe when on the plate he spat;
And when he landed on the ball, how loud we yelped! But O
How loud we cursed when he struck out some twenty years ago!
The diamond is a corn patch now; the outfield’s overgrown
With pumpkin vines and weedy plots; the rooters all have flown –
They couldn’t bear to live on there, for nothing was the same
Where they had been so happy once before that fatal game.
The village band disbanded soon; the mayor, too resigned.
The council even jumped its graft, and in seclusion pined;
The marshal caught the next train out, and those we used to know
Began to leave in flocks and droves some twenty years ago.
For after Casey fanned that day the citizens all left,
And one by one they sought new lands, heartbroken and bereft;
The joyous shout no more rang out of children at their play;
The village blacksmith closed his shop; the druggist moved away.
Alas for Mudville’s vanished pomp when mighty Casey reigned!
Her grandeur has departed now; her glory’s long since waned.
Her place upon the map is lost, and no one seems to care
A whit about the old town now since Casey biffed the air.
Grantland Rice (1880-1954), syndicated columnist known as “The Dean of American Sports Writers”, was given the Spink Award by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.