Category Archives: June
When publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst acquired the San Francisco Examiner from his father George, he recruited the help of some old college buddies with whom he had worked on the Harvard Lampoon. One of those men was Ernest L. Thayer, an author who signed his humorous articles with the penname “Phin,” a fond college nickname. In a June 3, 1888 issue of the Examiner, Phin published a poem called “Casey at the Bat.” Echoing America’s fever pitch for a new sport called baseball, Thayer wrote about a fictional team called the Mudville Nine, who are down two runs in the last inning of a game. With two outs, they call on their strongest player “Mighty Casey,” on whom they depend to take the team to victory. Instead, Casey is so confident that he ends up striking out, upsetting thousands of fans. The poem became popular when comedian De Wolf Hopper recited it at Wallack’s Theater in New York City to a crowd of New York Giant and Chicago White Stocking players, and subsequently at many other vaudeville productions. In time, “Casey at the Bat” became the anthem of America’s favorite pastime, and as the poem was published anonymously, many fraudulent authors came forward claiming they wrote it. We all know for sure now that it was most definitely Thayer, who actually penned three different versions. As the White Stockings’ manager Albert Spalding said: “Love has its sonnets galore. War has its epics in heroic verse. Tragedy its sombre story in measured lines. Baseball has Casey at the Bat.”
What is an “anthem?” Read “Casey at the Bat.” How does it make you feel?
The US entered World War II immediately following the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Imperial Army. With the goal of controlling the entire Pacific realm, the Japanese had tried to wipe out the American naval fleet, or group of ships, stationed at Pearl Harbor. Though they inflicting serious damage, they did not completely meet this aim. Therefore, Japan planned on taking out the rest of America’s Pacific arsenal at an island called Midway, an American atoll (or lagoon surrounded by a reef) slightly west of Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Admiral Chester Nimitz, however, commanded the Pacific fleet and had top radio agents intercept all of the Japanese communications, which detailed the specific plan of attack at Midway. Hence, when Japanese fighter planes and carrier ships arrived to surprise the Yanks on June 4th, 1942, an alert enemy met them. The Americans managed to take down 344 Japanese planes and four fleet carriers in the next three days, as the Battle of Midway seriously changed the course of World War II in the Pacific.
Why do you think the Japanese wanted to wipe out the American fleet? What is the importance of a navy during a war? What is the meaning of strategy?