SI Vault
Frank Deford
July 18, 1988
AMAZING FINISH! Mighty Casey Fans Slugger Didn't Arrive Till Seventh Inning Beautiful, Evil Woman Seen In His Company WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT Sun Still Shining Bright At Undisclosed U.S. Site
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July 18, 1988

Huge Commotion In Mudville

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But the elation on the Mudville bench was short-lived because Cooney grounded out and Barrows topped a ball to first. "I've never seen such a sickly silence," Thayer said to the fellow next to him.

"Still," the other gentleman said, "I'd put up even money if Casey could get at the bat."

The pitcher for the Lynns was a wiry little guy named Kenny Landis, who was a law student pitching under the nom de baseball of Wall Mueller. In his heavy flannel, he was sweating copiously as he peered in for the final out against Johnny Flynn. Landis tried to dry his pitching hand on his trousers, but they were almost soaked through with sweat. With his wet fingers, and his being tired, too, he hung an in-shoot, and Flynn knocked it cleanly up the middle. That brought Blake to the plate, and the Mudville Grounds exploded, but even Blake knew it wasn't for him. No, the roar was for who would come after Blake: Casey, the Mighty Casey, was moving up on deck.

Casey detoured on the way, going over to speak to Drinkwater. Flossie had found her way into the Grounds by now and had worked her way to the first row in the centerfield overflow. When she saw Casey consorting with Drinkwater again—and right out in the open!—she slammed her arms folded across her chest and cursed the best way she knew how.

Blake was an old-timer, cagey when he was sober, and he decided to rip into the kid pitcher's first pitch. He rifled it down the leftfield line, and when the dust was settled, he was standing on second base and Flynn on third.

Here came Casey. Poor Landis could hardly see through his sweat. But, he thought, Casey probably wants to see what kind of stuff I have, so he'll be taking. Good thinking: Casey let a waist-high fastball go by. "Strike one," said the umpire. Flossie wrung her hands and prayed that Casey would find his conscience and hit the ball.

Landis came back with an out-drop, but Casey thought it was off the plate. The umpire, standing behind the pitcher, saw it nick the corner. "Strike two," he said.

But the Mudvilles weren't worried. Casey had seen the kid's repertoire, and he was a celebrated two-strike hitter. The cranks were all on their feet, hollering, and Thayer, even on tiptoes, had to hop this way and that to follow the action. In fact, he missed it when Casey, staring out at the pitcher, spotted Flossie directly behind him, watching from straightaway center, standing out against the crowd in her maid's uniform. For just a moment Casey smiled at her, and then something came over him. Before he knew it, he had raised his bat, pointing it toward center, calling a home run right over his dear Flossie's head. The crowd roared.

"What was that? What was that?" Thayer cried.

"I couldn't see, either," the guy next to him said.

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