By LeRoy Neiman (Illustrator), Ernest Thayer
There are many wonderful things we can suggest as Father's Day presents (MLB.com Total Ticket for one) but we would like to suggest to you a new edition of "Casey At The Bat" with illustrations by LeRoy Neiman and an introduction by Yankee Manager Joe Torre.
While most of you are familiar with Neiman's vibrant colors this book exudes motion, power and emotion through his charcoal drawings. What makes these drawings particularly approachable for young fans is the modern context in which they are drawn. Instead of seeing scenes from the 1880's, readers will see drawings that evoke the rippling muscles of Mickey Mantle, or Mark McGwire and at times it seems as if Bob Gibson or Randy Johnson are on the mound. The drawings are strong and powerful and you cannot help but feel the visceral impact of Casey's final swing.
The introduction by New York Yankees manager Joe Torre is a message to children to draw strength from what appears to be failure. Torre shares, "It's important for players to understand, "Hey I didn't lose, he beat me this time." You've got to tip your hat to the guy once in a while." Torre continues in this brief introduction to talk about how good pitching stops good hitting and in the process throws around names like Pedro Martinez, Babe Ruth and Mark McGwire. Torre's words add modern context to the book but it is the prose of Ernest Thayer that is the finest writing in this book.
But, the best reason that this edition of "Casey at the Bat" is a great Father's Day present is for the future. This wonderful poem will be around for many years to come and someday some daughter or son will talk about when they first heard "Casey" and think back to sharing with their father and see in their minds LeRoy Neiman's drawings.
And on that day, there will be joy in Mudville.
Review by Bill Chuck.