DeWolf Hopper was a favorite on the Vaudeville stage and starred in more than thirty Broadway musicals. But his love for baseball, and this poem about the national pastime, would define his career.

You probably know the story behind Casey at the Bat: A rollercoaster of a final inning ends in despair as the usually-dependable Casey can’t deliver. Hopper performed Casey At the Bat for the first time in 1888. As a little reminder of a bygone era, both the Chicago White stockings and NY Giants baseball teams were in attendance. Like when the Yankees and Red Sox catch the Jersey Boys matinee before a night game. The performance was a resounding success, and Hopper would go on to perform the poem more than ten thousand times.

Want to hear the entire poem?

And, now, as read by James Earl Jones? Of course you do.