Bud Beasley

casey

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville Nine that day; The score stood 4-to-2 with but one inning more to play…

A cub sportswriter penned a ballad during his lunch hour one spring day, dropped it on his editor’s desk – “Use it if you want it” – and forgot about it. Two weeks later, on June 3rd, 1888, the saga ran full-page in the San Francisco Examiner and twenty-four-year-old Ernest L. Thayer’s Casey at the Bat entered the great pantheon of our national pastime, winning him an inclusion in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

But it would be a half-century later that a true ballplayer would bring Thayer’s work to life, from memory and at the drop of a hat, in ballparks, team buses, Little League award barbecues, school classrooms and wherever else the Boys of Summer gathered (that not politically incorrect, but a collective for the girls and boys gathering for T-ball at Swope School through to AT&T Park because they love the game) – when Bud Beasley paused at Thayer’s words, But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said:, a delighted crowd of kids of all age and gender boomed out, Strike two!, for fifty years.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place; there was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.

RG-J columnist Guy Clifton penned a superb bio of Bud and I won’t even attempt to embellish it, but Bud was our kind of guy – our teacher, mentor and coach for 38 years of us strong at Reno High School, and in later life deeply involved in many youth organizations, a stalwart of the RHS Alumni Association, a bastion of influence for the Good Old Days club, and a fireball to the very end.

We’ve got to include at least one Beas anecdote: On the ropes while pitching at Sacramento’s Solons Park in a Pacific Coast League game in the 1930s, Bud returned a dinged-up ball to the catcher for another. He got it, but a couple batters later the new ball left the park on a pop foul. The catcher sent out the ball Bud had previously squawked about, so he returned it yet again to the catcher for a better one.

That ball eventually left the field of play, and the catcher threw out a replacement, guess what, the same bum ball Bud had refused twice before. Bud pointed to a fan high in the bleachers above first base and threw the offending ball to the lucky guy for a souvenir. The ump sternly summoned Bud to home plate to render an admonishment, and Bud recalled that he, the umpire, the catcher, and the batter all struggled to keep a straight face for the benefit of the crowd and the dignity of baseball. Such became our sport whenever he was in the vicinity.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt; Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.

On Bud’s ninetieth birthday he visited Bud Beasley Elementary School – a gathering crammed with tykes agog over seeing the real Bud Beasley, right here in their multipurpose room. I think he spoke to every one of them individually. Inevitably a teacher toward the back said, “Mr. Beasley, how ‘bout Casey?” and Bud, sensing that it was coming, as it had been in a thousand gatherings before, grinned and answered the call: The outlook wasn’t brilliant…

If not ten thousand eyes, then at least four hundred, grew wide as the smallish man, already in his later innings, wove the tale of Casey in the animated, vibrant way that Thayer could have only dreamt that anyone would deliver it 112 years after he so casually wrote it. And I noted not just a few adult eyes growing a little misty and that wasn’t from the chill December air.

And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; But there is no joy in Mudville – Mighty Casey has struck out.

There should be great joy in all the Mudvilles of baseball this World Series week, for we had the pleasure of Bud’s knowledge, wisdom and humor, on and off the diamond, for 93 years. We all know that Mighty Casey fanned in the ninth stranding Flynn and Blake in 1888, but last Saturday morning Bud Beasley was ruled Safe, at Home.

Have a good week; tag up on the infield flies and God bless America.

[Bud died July 17th, 2004]

© RGJ 2004

Spencer_1

I’ve been saving some responses to Karl’s columns about the old days……here are a few, mainly referring to his piece on the Squaw Olympics and the Vagabond Bus.
Ty Cobb
 
THANKS TY FOR THE FOLLOWING ACCUMULATION OF ANECDOTES WHICH WILL PROBABLY GET US ALL ON THE NSA’S WATCH LIST.   MORE WILL FOLLOW; I GET SOME COOL LETTERS AND AM GOING TO START RUNNING THEM MORE LIBERALLY IN THE FUTURE. I’M NOT EDITING THEM PARTICULARLY; MOST OF US GOT OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA SOMEHOW SO WE SHOULD KNOW ENGLISH SPELING AND GRAMMER.   WATCH THIS SPACE AND PAY HEED TO THE “COMMENTS” THAT FOLLOW AS MORE MAY SOUND OFF ABOUT THESE MATTERS – KARL
 


Bill Rose:

I was thinking of our Squaw escapades last week.  In the context of “what are these jerks thinking of bringing Winter games back to Squaw/surrounds.”  There were so few attendees (I think at least 10% of the entire fan base stayed at Madsen’s Brockway house)  that it was hardly worth mentioning.  As you allude to — can you imagine what kind of a nightmare that would be in today’s setting? 

A couple of things I remember, other than getting into the USSR/USA hockey match — I know you remember the Russian hockey player walking by us as we piled out of the bus looking at us and saying,  “Nyet. nyet”!!   The other one is watching Carol Heiss doing compulsory figures in the open at Blythe.  I stood 10 feet from her.  Badges, badges?  We don’t got to show you no stinking badges.

Thanks.

////////////////

 

Larry Heward

 

Thanks. I remember some of it. Do you remember the official hostesses for the Olympics? Michele and Michon Cardinal.

Lovely girls.

Larry

 

Sharon Quinn

Oh yes, I did have a pair of black Bogner ski pants. They were stretch and cost $50, my mom had a fit. My friend Joanna Quinn Darrow from Newport, also had a pair. Fun memories.

Dave and I drove to Squaw, parked in someone’s driveway, snuck through a backyard, crossed a creek and entered the Olympics and enjoyed the day with no tickets.

s

 

From Bob “Bubbles” Brown in Washington, DC

 

    Many thanks for forwarding Karl’s RGJ col on “Little known Facts About the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley.” Fondly remember many locals–most Sigma Nus–such as Dorworth, Bosta, Ericksen, Wetzel, ad infinitum!

 

    However, my congratulatory e-mail to Karl did take issue with one fact, re: “Mouthwash Toni Sailor” taking more gold than anybody. My question to Karl was had he ever heard of a crazy young Frenchman named Jean Claude Killey (see ’68 and ’72 Winter Olympics). I believe Jean Claude is the guilty party!  [NOTE TO BUBBLES FROM KARL: KILLY AND SAILOR TIED FOR MEDALS, I DISCOVERED; SAILOR ACTUALLY IN THE LEAD WITH ONE MORE SILVER TO ONE OF KILLY’S BRONZES. AND NOTE THE SPELLING! PS YOU EVER GET THAT BOOK I SENT???]

 

    The Vagabond Bus at Blythe Arena was new to me. Of course, during the ’60 Games I had a job of much lesser importance, as the chauffeur and gofer for the 4 top UPI correspondents covering said Olympics. But the job had its perks–a parking place 3 spaces from the front door of press headquarters at Squaw; the run of the International Olympics Press Club at both Squaw and the Mapes Hotel (which is Olympiceese for the comp bar and food station). I also had a ski pass for all of the hills, allowing me to go up on the downhill, giant slalom and slalom course to watch–up close and personal. I recall meek and sweet Joan Hannah, a USA alpine skier, on a tough flush in the slalom, hitting the ice, taking a nasty spill, and declaring–not for attribution, of course–declaring loudly “f—in’ bumps” prior to finishing her run.

 

    Your Vagabond Bus at Blythe did stir memories of my association with the Vagabond Bus: For instance, sneaking the Bus into old Kezar Stadium at the East/West football game, and using my press card to get back in, after parking the Bus outside. Also, a Vagabond Bus visit to the Mark Hopkins on New Years Eve. Also, the Vagabond Bus as an entry in the Portland Rose Parade. And, for a local angle, giving the Security Guard at the Gold & Silver a spin around Reno on a Fourth of July weekend, enough said.

 

    Some ought to write a book about these treasured moments in “The Days in the Life of the Vagabond Bus.”

 

    How did the “Three Tys” gig go. I would liked to have been present, because I have many fond memories of “Georgia Peach” stories that your dad shared with me.

 

    I enjoy your col in the RGJ; gives me better insight–from a real expert–on foreign affairs. Keep in touch. Happy New Year!!!

 

        Bob Brown (in Washington)

 

From Allan Myer in Connecticut:

Yea while you were f~~ing around at the Olympics I was protecting your ass at Ft. Bragg.  

Allan

From Len Baldyga in Chicago:

Ty. Tsk, tsk. We used to use the same method to get into movie theaters in Chicago in the old, old days where the concession stands were outside the theater. I also had a press pass for the Chicago Bears and then Chicago Cardinals football teams representing the suburban Berwyn Beacon newspaper except the paper had been closed for more than a year. In preparation for this year’s U.S./Russia game my wife and I watched the “Miracle” about the Lake Placid game. Good flick. Cheers.Len

Triggers a lot of dusty memories! Thanks for sending it, Ty.

 

 

And this from Jackson Stephens:

 

I’ll bore you with only one personal incident that this piece brought up:

Fifty-one years ago next month my only child drew his first breath at

St Mary’s.  At that time fathers were not allowed to be present at the

birth, so I spent the night like George Gobel pacing the hallways (without

his copy of War and Peace, however) until Kris’ triumphant emergence.

By the time our new little family of three was united, and mother and

child were sleeping, it was close to noon and I was starving.  How

could a proud new father celebrate the birth of his first child in style?!

I chose the $2.95 “La Favorita” (taco, enchilada, chile relleno, rice

and beans) at Miguels on South Virginia.  I can’t remember whether

he showed me all his “flying saucer” pictures again or not.

I recollect two key guys opening the gates to free entrance: a very alert security guard named Ed Aimone and a high ranking ROTC cadet named Whitney Brown.

Ted Schroeder

My mom was the interpreter for the Finnish ski team for the Squaw Olympics, so we did get in with passes. The one fellow I met (Kalevi Hamalainen) won the gold medal in the cross-country. It was pretty cool to walk around with him, even if I didn’t speak Finnish.

Joanne Pollastro Walen