Audio treasure: Dave Niehaus reads ‘Casey at the Bat’
By Shannon Drayer
Monday is the 125th anniversary of probably the most celebrated piece of baseball prose. On June 3, 1888, the San Francisco Examiner published “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Thayer.
The poem that immortalized the fictional town of Mudville was seen first in newsprint and heard for the first time via an 1898 cylinder recording read by Russell Hunting.
DeWolf Hopper’s rendition, released in 1906, is what has become the most famous recording of the piece. Disney also got its hands on the poem, turning it into an animated short. James Earl Jones more than did the piece justice in a recording with the Cincinnati Pops in 1996, but the recording that should no doubt be most treasured by Mariners fans is one that was never released but lives in the audio library archived by producer/engineer Kevin Cremin.
Seven years ago in the broadcast booth at Safeco Field, Cremin recorded Dave Niehaus reading the classic. Niehaus brought “Casey at the Bat” to life and did so in just one take.
As it was then, it still is like listening to your grandpa tell a story. Dave is gone but I am thrilled to share this treasure with you.
Sit back and listen to “Casey at the Bat” read by the great Hall of Fame broadcaster, Dave Niehaus.