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Friday, November 12, 2010

Casey at the Bat

William DeWolf Hopper was a superstar in Vaudeville and later, motion pictures, during the late 1800s and early 1900s. His main source of fame was his recital of the famous poem “Casey at the Bat” (“But there is no joy in Mudville-mighty Casey has struck out”). He recited the poem to live audiences over 10,000 times.

The poem was written by a gentleman named Ernest Lawrence Thayer in 1888. He and Hopper did have occasion to meet once. It was a year after Thayer wrote the poem. A club had invited them both to join them one evening.  The members convinced Thayer to recite the poem for them.  Hopper later wrote that Thayer’s version “… was the worst delivery of the poem I have ever heard.”*

I find it fascinating that Thayer, the very author of the poem, would do such a poor job reciting his own work. Yet, each of us has our own gifts. For Thayer, it was writing. For Hopper, it was performing.

What’s yours? Do you use it?

4There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. 5There are different ways to serve the same Lord, 6and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do.
11But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us (I Cor. 12:4-6, 11). CEV

*This story is found in the book BASEBALL ANECDOTES by Daniel Okrent and Steve Wulf.

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