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Casey Stengel

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Full Name: Charles Dillon Stengel Primary Position: OF
Height/Weight: 5' 11"/175 First Game: September 17, 1912
Birthdate: July 30, 1890 Final Game: May 19, 1925
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri MLB Experience: 14 years
Died: September 29, 1975
Deathplace: Glendale, California
Bat/Throw: Left/Left
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Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966


Biography

Casey Stengel (Charles Dillon Stengel) was born on July 30, 1890 in Kansas City, Missouri. He made his Major League debut on September 17, 1912 for the Brooklyn Superbas. In 1913, his rookie year, he hit .272 with 7 home runs and 43 RBI. Stengel played for the Brooklyn Superbas, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Giants and Boston Braves over the course of his 14 year career.

Most people believe that Casey Stengel's best season was 1917, when he knocked in 73 runs.

He got the nickname "Casey" from Kansas City ("K. C."), Missouri, where he was born. In his early days, he was also known as "Dutch".

Playing career

Stengel was a competent player, but by no means a superstar. On July 8, 1958, discussing his career before the Senate's Estes Kefauver Committee on baseball's antitrust status, he made this observation: "I had many years that I was not so successful as a ballplayer, as it is a game of skill." [1]

Nonetheless, he had a good World Series in a losing cause in 1923, hitting 2 home runs to win the two games the Giants won in that Series. He was traded to the Braves in the off-season, a fact which apparently stung him. Years later he made this pithy comment: "It's lucky I didn't hit 3 home runs in three games, or McGraw would have traded me to the 3-I League."

Yankee Manager

He is better known for managing than playing. His first managerships were on the Brooklyn Dodgers (from 1934 to 1936) and Boston Braves (1938-1943), where he was not very successful, never finishing better than fifth in an 8-team league. As he said in 1958, "I became a major league manager in several cities and was discharged. We call it discharged because there is no question I had to leave."

In 1949 he became manager of the New York Yankees, where he saw a chance for success. His astuteness and realistic viewpoint as a manager is revealed in this comment about the Yankees when he took their reins: "There is less wrong with this team than any team I have ever managed." That would happily prove to be an understatement.

He proceeded to set records for championships, becoming the only person to manage a team to five consecutive World Series championships as the late-40s, early-50s Yankees became a juggernaut. He won two additional world championships and three additional league pennants afterward. While managing the Yankees he gained a reputation as one of the game's sharpest tacticians: he platooned left and right handed hitters extensively (which had become a lost art by the late 1940s), and sometimes pinch hit for his starting pitcher in early innings if he felt a timely hit would break the game open. While praised for his platooning strategy, he downplayed it: "There's not much of a secret to it. You put a righthand hitter against a lefthand pitcher and a lefthand hitter against a righthand pitcher and on cloudy days you use a fastball pitcher".

He was also known as a wit and raconteur, whose stream-of-consciousness monologues on all facets of baseball history and tactics (and anything else that took his fancy) became known as "Stengelese" to sportswriters. They also earned him the nickname "The Old Professor".

In the spring of 1953, after the Yankees had won four straight World Series victories he made the following observation, which could just as easily have been made by The Professor's prize pupil, Yogi Berra: "If we're going to win the pennant, we've got to start thinking we're not as smart as we think we are."

Casey's Amazin' Mets

After being involuntarily retired from the Yankees in 1960 as too old ("I'll never make the mistake of being 70 again!"), he went on to manage the New York Mets, at the time an expansion team with no chance of winning many games, from 1962 to 1965. Mocking his well-publicized advanced age, when he was hired he said, "It's a great honor to be joining the Knickerbockers", a New York baseball team that had seen its last game around the time of the Civil War.

Though his "Amazin'" Mets finished last in a 10-team league all four years, Stengel was a popular figure nonetheless, not least due to his personal charisma. His retirement followed a fall at Shea Stadium, in which he broke his hip.

Honors

His uniform number 37 has been retired by both the Yankees and the Mets. The Yankees retired the number on August 8, 1970, and dedicated a plaque in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park in his memory on July 30, 1976. The plaque calls him "For over sixty years one of America's folk heroes who contributed immensely to the lore and language of the Yankees and our national pastime baseball." He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966 and inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame [[[Image:[[Image:File:in 1981]]]]].

Stengel is the only person to have worn the uniform (as player or manager) of all four Major League Baseball teams that played in New York City in the 20th Century (while each team was in New York City): The New York Giants (as a player), the Brooklyn Dodgers (as both a player and a manager), the New York Yankees (as a manager), and the New York Mets (also as a manager).

In 1975 he was asked if he would like to return to managing. He responded, "Well, to be perfectly truthful and honest and frank about it, I am 85 years old, which ain't bad, so to be truthful and honest and frank about it, the thing I'd like to be right now is...an astronaut."

He died in Glendale, California and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Glendale, California.

The day of his passing on to the Heavenly Hall of Fame, Los Angeles columnist Jim Murray said, "Well, God is getting an earful tonight."

The plaza surrounding Shea Stadium is named after Stengel (Casey Stengel Plaza), as is the New York City Transit Bus Depot (Casey Stengel Depot) nearby.

Statistics

Batting Stats

Year Team G AB R H HR RBI AVG OBP SLG 2B 3B BB SO HBP SH SB IBB GDP
1912 BRO N 17 57 9 18 1 13 .316 .466 .386 1 0 15 9 1 1 5 0 0
1913 BRO N 124 438 60 119 7 43 .272 .356 .393 16 8 56 58 1 7 19 0 0
1914 BRO N 126 412 55 130 4 60 .316 .404 .425 13 10 56 55 5 10 19 0 0
1915 BRO N 132 459 52 109 3 50 .237 .294 .353 20 12 34 46 3 14 5 0 0
1916 BRO N 127 462 66 129 8 53 .279 .329 .424 27 8 33 51 1 15 11 0 0
1917 BRO N 150 549 69 141 6 73 .257 .336 .375 23 12 60 62 5 8 18 0 0
1918 PIT N 39 122 18 30 1 12 .246 .343 .320 4 1 16 14 2 2 11 0 0
1919 PIT N 89 321 38 94 4 43 .293 .364 .424 10 10 35 35 1 13 12 0 0
1920 PHI N 129 445 53 130 9 50 .292 .356 .436 25 6 38 35 6 15 7 0 0
1921 PHI N 24 59 7 18 0 4 .305 .369 .390 3 1 6 7 0 1 1 0 0
1921 NY N 18 22 4 5 0 2 .227 .261 .273 1 0 1 5 0 0 0 0 0
1921 TOT N 42 81 11 23 0 6 .284 .341 .358 4 1 7 12 0 1 1 0 0
1922 NY N 84 250 48 92 7 48 .368 .436 .564 8 10 21 17 9 3 4 1 3
1923 NY N 75 218 39 74 5 43 .339 .400 .505 11 5 20 18 2 6 6 0 0
1924 BOS N 131 461 57 129 5 39 .280 .348 .382 20 6 45 39 3 9 13 0 0
1925 BOS N 12 13 0 1 0 2 .077 .143 .077 0 0 1 2 0 1 0 0 0
Total 1277 4288 575 1219 60 535 .284 .356 .410 182 89 437 453 39 105 131 1 3

Fielding Stats

Year Team POS G GS INN PO A ERR DP TP PB SB CS PkO AVG
1912 BRO N OF 17 0 0 36 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 .902
1913 BRO N OF 119 0 0 270 16 12 1 0 0 0 0 0 .960
1914 BRO N OF 121 0 0 173 15 7 3 0 0 0 0 0 .964
1915 BRO N OF 129 0 0 220 13 10 2 0 0 0 0 0 .959
1916 BRO N OF 121 0 0 206 14 8 4 0 0 0 0 0 .965
1917 BRO N OF 150 0 0 256 30 9 9 0 0 0 0 0 .969
1918 PIT N OF 37 0 0 64 7 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 .973
1919 PIT N OF 87 0 0 195 7 9 3 0 0 0 0 0 .957
1920 PHI N OF 118 0 0 212 16 11 1 0 0 0 0 0 .954
1921 PHI N OF 15 0 0 26 5 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 .969
1921 PHI N RF 15 13 0 26 5 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 .969
1921 NY N RF 6 1 0 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .800
1921 NY N CF 2 2 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1921 NY N OF 8 0 0 7 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .875
1921 TOT N OF 23 0 0 33 5 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 .950
1921 TOT N RF 21 14 0 30 5 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 .946
1922 NY N CF 75 69 534.2 177 7 6 2 0 0 0 0 0 .968
1922 NY N RF 2 1 11 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1922 NY N OF 77 70 552.2 179 7 6 2 0 0 0 0 0 .969
1922 NY N LF 1 0 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1923 NY N OF 57 0 0 115 4 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .983
1924 BOS N OF 126 0 0 211 12 5 4 0 0 0 0 0 .978
1925 BOS N OF 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
Total CF 77 71 534.2 180 7 6 2 0 0 0 0 0 .969
Total RF 23 15 11 33 5 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 .950
Total LF 1 0 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Total OF 1183 86 552.2 2171 147 87 35 0 0 0 0 0 .964

Transactions

  • Selected by Brooklyn Superbas from Aurora (Wisconsin-Illinois) in the Rule 5 major league draft (September 1, 1911).
  • Traded by Brooklyn Robins with George Cutshaw to Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Chuck Ward, Burleigh Grimes and Al Mamaux (January 9, 1918).
  • Traded by Pittsburgh Pirates to Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Possum Whitted (August 9, 1919).
  • Traded by Philadelphia Phillies with Johnny Rawlings and Red Causey to New York Giants in exchange for Goldie Rapp, Lee King and Lance Richbourg (July 1, 1921).
  • Traded by New York Giants with Dave Bancroft and Bill Cunningham to Boston Braves in exchange for Billy Southworth and Joe Oeschger (November 12, 1923).

Trivia

See also

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