In a 1979 article, sportswriter Leonard Koppett stated that the published poem omits 18 words written by Thayer, which affect the entire concept of the poem. According to Koppett, the entire version of the poem raises Casey's pitch count to full. Meanwhile, his uncle Arnold stirs up betting action in the grandstand before they exchange a wink. When this happens, says Koppett, the poem should end here; instead it continues on for another 24 lines without a break in tone or style.
Thayer later said he regretted not including these lines and attempted to have them included in subsequent editions of his work, but they were never added back in.
The case at hand has attracted much interest from scholars because it shows how a single word can alter the meaning of a poem. In fact, some critics believe the missing word is the most important one in the poem. It is only when we add it back in that we realize what a profound effect it had on the poem itself.
The poem depicts the final half-inning of a baseball game. In the poem, Mighty Casey is hit by two pitches straight down the center of the plate, but he passes them up in order to catch an even better fastball. The Mighty Casey sneers at the pitcher, and the pitcher throws the third pitch. It hits Mighty Casey on the elbow, and he knocks it down like it was nothing. Then he walks over to first base while the crowd goes crazy.
Casey at the Bat is one of the most famous poems in American literature. Written by lawyer William D. Murphy, it was published in 1856.
Casey's stance as a hero during the Civil War made him popular among the people. Thus, this poem became very popular too. Today, it is said that anyone can become mighty using only their mind, so everyone can be "mighty" in some way or another.
Another interpretation is that Casey refused to be beaten by two foul balls. He had been struck by two pitches earlier in the game and was not going to be defeated by three more. So, he walked off into the sunset with a smile on his face.
Some critics claim that Murphy wrote this poem as a parody of other famous poems at the time.
The fans are ecstatic because one more strike means Casey is out and the game is done. However, when Casey reaches for the second pitch, the umpire calls him out. Furious, Casey goes back to the dugout while the crowd boo him. He refuses to talk to the press or anyone else about what happened.
Later that night, after telling his story to Batman, who believes him, Casey falls asleep on the batmobile. When he wakes up the next morning, he finds that everything has been arranged for him to go to Boston's Fenway Park for a game. Excited, Casey gets into the car to go home, only to find that Batman is also going to the game. When they arrive at Fenway, they find out that the player they are watching during halftime is Casey at the Bat. Knowing this will make him famous, Batman stays behind in case Casey needs help. During the game, Casey hits three balls hard enough for outfielders to tag them, but he keeps running until he reaches first base where Batman arrives just in time to save him again. At the end of the song, Casey waves goodbye to Batman and leaves with the crowd cheering him on.