Remember When -- 1949
CASEY AT THE BAT MURAL ON VIEW OCTOBER
From Edmonds Field To Center For Sacramento
by Editor Rick
Spring 1949 was
a rebuilding year for the Sacramento Solons.
In July the previous
summer, most of the old ballpark named Edmonds Field had burned to the ground. A smoldering
cigarette is presumed to have ignited hot dog wrappers or peanut shells below the home
grandstands, thus starting the fire (and if you ever heard former Sacramento Bee columnist
Stan Gilliam tell it, he was the unwitting perpetrator, not wishing to waste
more than a few ounces of beer on the glowing embers below his shoes).
The Solons owners rebuilt
their ballpark on a concrete foundation, forever eliminating the wooden bleachers of days gone
by. They decided to add a bit of color to spruce up the drab gray concrete ballyard by
commissioning a mural that depicted the final stanza from the poem, “Casey At the
George Mugartegui painting the mural
"Casey At the Bat" March, 1949
Courtesy of Frank Mugartegui Collection
hired George Bowman to design the attraction and George
Mugartegui to paint it. While we know little about
Bowman’s background, Mugartegui was a Spaniard who studied art in Barcelona and apprenticed for
nine years before immigrating to the U.S. around 1920. Eventually he landed in Sacramento in
the mid-1920s, according to his son, Frank.
Depression, Mugartegui had no trouble finding work, where his specialty of gold gilding was
employed on the cross atop the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and parts of the Alhambra
Theatre, among other projects. He also painted murals at the old State
The mural of Casey
at the Bat was painted on three vertical pieces of plywood measuring 118 inches tall by 136 inches
wide (nearly 10’ x 11’4”) when assembled. The mural was mounted on the interior wall of Edmonds
Field to the right of the main entrance (as you were leaving the building).
The Solons left Sacramento
after the 1960 season, but the ballpark remained until 1964, when the owners sold the property
to Lucky Stores, which razed it for a GEMCO superstore. Owner Fred David
dissembled the mural and stored it in the basement of his business, David Candy.
David bequeathed the Casey
mural to local historian and collector Alan O’Connor, who in turn donated it to
Center for Sacramento History.
The mural, along with many
other historical artifacts, photographs, documents, and other ephemera will be on display
Saturday October 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as part of the 4th Annual Sacramento Archive
Crawl. On that day, four of Sacramento’s historical museums will open its doors to visitors
for the free event.
The four locations include:
Archives, California State
Library, Center for Sacramento History and Sacramento Room, Central Library
(Tsakopoulos Library Galleria).
Ernest Thayer wrote the poem and released it in 1888, around the time he covered baseball for
the San Francisco
Examiner. This included a stint
covering the California League team in Stockton, which had earned the appellation “Mudville” in
the mid-19th Century.
A portion of Thayer's poem was printed on the mural of Casey At the Bat
Easton Cats Youth Summer Team to Hold Tryouts
2015 Easton Cats, in conjunction with The Sacramento Sports
Center, are holding tryouts on Sunday, October 5th, 2014 at Sacramento City
The tryouts are for the 2015 Easton/SSC Cats Summer Baseball Teams, the U17/Class of 2016,
U16/Class of 2017 and U15/Class of 2018.
Derek Sullivan, head coach of the SCC Panthers, will coach the 18U club and
supervise the younger travel teams.
Go to sacramentosportscenter.com for more information.