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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"Aw, you know sportswriters. They only write what makes a good story," Casey said.

Young George especially liked the part about Casey pointing to centerfield, daring to foretell a home run. "Imagine a player doin' a thing like that," George said.

Over the years Casey played a lot of golf. He was long off the tee but dicey around the greens. He and Flossie traveled a lot—to Europe, to Lake Louise and to the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. They had an even dozen grandchildren, but, of course, the name Casey had run out.

Then, in the spring of 1941, Casey's health began to fail, and he took to his bed in June. He knew by then that the jig was up. He got weaker and weaker. It was the 75th summer of his life.

Three of his daughters still lived around Stockton, but Mary Louise had moved to San Francisco, so Flossie called her on July 17 and said she had better come. She brought her youngest son, Casey's favorite grandchild, John Lawrence Sullivan Gambardella. They just made it to Stockton, to the old family house, in time and went directly to the master bedroom, where the old man lay.

"Well, Johnny, how's tricks?" Casey said, just barely getting the words out. He was going fast. Peacefully, but fast, the sands of his time, 1867-1941.

"Oh, I'm O.K., Grandpop," the boy said, "but I heard on the radio the Indians got DiMaggio out tonight. So it ends at 56 in a row."

Casey shook his head a bit, and he said, "Well, if he's any good, he'll get over it."

"Yes, sir."

Mary Louise kissed her father, and then she stepped back next to her sisters so her mother could stand closest to the old man. Flossie leaned down and kissed Casey gently on the forehead and squeezed his hand. He sighed, and his eyes began to close. He could all but see the angels now. But then, somehow, Casey forced one more breath of life into his body, and he opened his eyes, even smiled a tiny little bit. Looking up at his beloved Flossie, he said, "Oh, somewhere in this favored land, the sun is shining bright."

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