"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
The Dodgers were in town this past weekend, which brought to mind Hugh Casey, one of two tragic figures I've been said to resemble (the other being James Michael Connolly).
Casey threw the famous Dropped Third Strike in the 1941 World Series, and was a boozy sparring partner of Hemingway's, the Baseball Library notes:
Hugh Casey was on the mound in the ninth inning of Game Four of the 1941 Yankee-Dodger World Series. Brooklyn led, 4-3, with two out, nobody on, and Tommy Henrich at bat. Henrich swung and missed Casey's 3-2 pitch, but the third strike eluded catcher Mickey Owen, and Henrich reached base, beginning a game-winning rally. Owen became a famous goat, and baseball historians since have differed as to whether the elusive pitch was a spitball.
Casey, who relieved in 287 of his 343 games, led the NL in saves twice and relief wins three times. A loner, a tough competitor, and a heavy drinker, Casey became friends with Ernest Hemingway. At Hemingway's house during spring training in Cuba, the drunken pair once put on boxing gloves. Teammate Kirby Higbe later recalled, "Ernest would belt Case one, and down he would go. Case would belt old Ernest, and down he would go...The furniture [really took] a beating." At age 37, allegedly despondent over the breakup of his marriage, Casey committed suicide.
Casey took his own life with a shotgun on July 3, 1951, 10 years – almost to the day – before Hemingway did likewise.
John Huston's splendid adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Night of the Iguana was on last night, and required watching to the accompaniment of several cold ones. (Which explained the woozy head this morning: Once upon a time a direct recourse to a Bloody Mary would have been prescribed.)
We agreed that if the film were to be remade today, Bill Murray would be a natural for Richard Burton's defrocked Rev. Shannon and Susan Sarandon, for Ava Gardner's innkeeper. (Was Sarandon's Annie Savoy in Bull Durham at all influenced by Ava Gardner here?) For Deborah Kerr's itinerant portrait-sketcher, I'm thinking Emma Thompson.