espnW: Baseball

Diamond gems from this weekend in baseball

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21

At 105 years old, Agnes McKee of Oceanside, Calif., became the oldest person to throw out a ceremonial first pitch. McKee took the mound at Petco Park on Sunday before the San Diego Padres took on the New York Mets. McKee’s months of practice at her retirement community produced a mean windup pitch that sailed across home plate.

Jealous, 50 Cent?

And, in case you missed it: Across the country, an overzealous Boston Red Sox ball girl fielded a fair ball Friday and instantly tried to disappear. Watch her make real-life emoji faces after the error.

Tipping our cap to Mighty Casey

June, 3, 2014
Jun 3
Casey at the BatJim McIsaac/Getty Images"Mighty Casey" often is brought to life for appearances at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

On this day in 1888, the iconic poem "Casey at the Bat" was first published in the San Francisco Daily Examiner. Written by Ernest Lawrence Thayer under the pen name "Phin" about a baseball team in the fictional town of Mudville, the prose is a comedic ode to the sport. It initially received little fanfare, but it won national acclaim after actor and comedian DeWolf Hopper read the poem aloud to an audience comprised of members of the New York Giants and the Chicago White Stockings in August of 1888. It quickly rose to mainstream popularity and is still beloved today. Thayer's classic has been adapted, referenced and recreated in a variety of mediums, including movies, books, comics and orchestras. The poem's protagonist, Mighty Casey, was even featured on a U.S. postage stamp in 1996.

To celebrate its anniversary, you can read the original poem in its entirety here or listen to James Earl Jones' famed rendition here.