Wanted: "The Mighty Casey" -- Height 7 feet; weight 600 pounds; bronze complexion, appears about 30 years old, but is considered "immortal." Once believed to be in hiding since an inglorious strikeout in 1888, "The Mighty Casey" as he has become known, has since become rehabilitated as an American Folk Hero. He has been missing since 1989, where he was last seen posing outside a Scottsdale, Arizona art gallery. An unconfirmed sighting of the former Mudville slugger in Las Vegas is the last known clue before his disappearance into the mysterious underworld of art thefts, forgeries, and off-the-books transactions
"The Mighty Casey," bronze, by American sculptor Mark Lundeen
Caseyatthe.blog believes it's time to focus the formidable resources of #SABR, the Society of American Baseball Researchers, historians, amateur sleuths, and of baseball fans everywhere--particularly those fond of the early glories of the game in the 1870's and 1880's--to find The Mighty Casey and to restore him to a place of honor and esteem.
Let's credit Anne Ryman and the crack team of investigators at ABC15 Arizona for tracking down the FBI's list of art objects stolen from Arizona (see her report here)
Ryman and her team, as well as the FBI, are on the track of a Marc Chagall painting, now valued at $$ millions, stolen in a 1985 smash-and-grab heist from a gallery window in Scottsdale. In 2003, a landscape by local Western artist Jack Van Ryder went missing from the Tucson Museum of Art. And a 24-inch-high sculpture by Cowboy Artist Gordon Snidow was stolen from another Scottsdale gallery, which has since closed.
But the biggest mystery, both in terms of scale and audacity, is that of The Mighty Casey. Here's Anne Ryman's account, dated May 19-20, 2023:
7-foot sculpture swiped from gallery
The giant bronze sculpture vanished from O’Brien’s Art Emporium in downtown Scottsdale in 1989.
Mark Lundeen, a sculptor from Loveland, Colorado, was inspired to make the statue after reading the famous poem, “Casey at the Bat,” by Ernest Thayer. He eventually made more than a dozen statues of various heights, showing a baseball player standing and waiting for the next pitch.
He called the statues “Mighty Casey.” Statue No. 10 was for sale outside a gallery in Scottsdale.
One day, Lundeen got a call that the seven-foot statue was gone.
“I was young and just getting started,” Lundeen told ABC15. “Money was hard to come by in those days. And they are quite expensive to make.”
Lundeen believes the theft may have been the work of four or five people because the statue weighed about 600 pounds. It’s possible they loaded the Mighty Casey into the back of a truck.
This was before video cameras were widely used in galleries. There’s no video of the theft. Lundeen heard the statue was spotted in Las Vegas, but witnesses refused to talk to law enforcement.
The statue was valued at about $18,000 when stolen, he said. The last one he sold in 2002 went for six figures.His other Casey statues are on display across the country, including at the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He said the Florida Marlins pro baseball team bought two statues. Another Mighty Casey was installed at a park in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Lundeen received an insurance settlement after his Mighty Casey went missing.
"That’d be cool if it did turn up,” he said. “I’m not counting on it. But it would be cool.”
Wittman, the founder of the FBI Art Crime Team, believes the sculpture is still out there and hasn’t been chopped up or melted down.The stolen statue has Lundeen’s signature on the base along with the edition number of the sculpture: No. 10.