Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/485

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453
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

Among the mountain of clippings in the collection of the late Henry Chadwick I find the following, without newspaper credit or date. I am therefore compelled to print it in this form, or not at all:

"Casey is dead!

"There are many Caseys, dead and alive, but this particular Hibernian won fame because he was 'Casey at the Bat.'

"Not only fame for himself, but a reputation for DeWolf Hopper, who was a sort of foster father to him, did he win, and with his demise is learned for the first time the identity of his author.

"Wherever Hopper is known, Casey of bat fame is an acquaintance also. For seventeen years Hopper has recited the poem relating to Casey's wild blows at the ball in nearly every city in this country, and in London as well. At benefit performances, at Lambs' gambols, at regular performances—in fact, at nearly every gathering which Hopper has attended since he became known upon the stage—he has been called upon to recite 'Casey at the Bat,' and he always has responded.

"And until yesterday the original of the poem which has found such favor was not known.

"The Casey who just died was John Patrick Parnell Cahill, a former Base Ball player. On the Pacific Coast he was very popular as a player, and after his retirement from the diamond still held his head high, for he had been perpetuated in verse under the name of Casey. His demise occurred in Pleasanton, California, last Friday, of consumption.

"Exactly seventeen years ago, when Hopper appeared in 'Prince Methusaleh ' at Wallack's, he first used the poem. No less known a person than Archibald Clavering Gunter, novelist and dramatist, called his attention to it. By so doing, Hopper believes Gunter did as much to earn him a reputation as any role he ever played.

"Gunter approached him one evening and asked him if he would like to have a novel poem. Hopper replied in the affirmative, and Gunter handed him the 'Casey at the Bat' verses. Hopper was highly pleased with them and used them at Wallack's Theater. They made an instantaneous success.

"Gunter did not know the authorship of the verses, and Hopper spent three years in an effort to find out. He had about despaired of ever learning the name of the man who penned the lines, when by chance the information was borne to him. The comedian was billed to appear at Worcester, Mass. From an old friend of his family residing in that city he received a note asking