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Casey Stengel

Managing The Yankees

When old friend and admirer George Weiss, who had taken over general management of the New York Yankees, called on Stengel to manage the team in 1949, he accepted, saying at a press conference, "This is a big job, fellows, and I barely have had time to study it. In fact, I scarcely know where I am at." Conservative Yankee business staffers winced when the press ran a photo of Stengel in a Yankee uniform holding a baseball and gazing at it as though it were a crystal ball. Stengel, taking on the biggest challenge of his life at age 59, led the Yankees to a World Series championship his first season as manager and followed that with four more consecutive world championships. Under Stengel, the Yankees had seven wins in ten World Series over a twelve-year period.

Stengel's instructional school, first held in 1951, soon became a Yankee institution that was copied by the other major league teams. The young Mickey Mantle was Stengel's protégé. Stengel is said to have built his team around the powerhouse hitter and lightning-fast runner, along with Berra and Ford. With such superstars as DiMaggio and Phil Rizzuto also on the team, Stengel developed the art of platooning to its highest form. In 1953 the Yankees won eighteen straight games, just one short of the American League record.

Chronology

1890 Born July 30 in Kansas City, Missouri, to Louis E. and Jennie
1908-09 Plays semipro baseball with the Kansas City Red Sox
1910 Signs a contract to play with the Kansas City Blues Brooklyn Dodgers
1910-11 Tries dental school but drops out
1912 Is drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers and becomes the protégé of
1913 Hits the first home run in Ebbets Field
1913-14 Is given nickname "Casey" by Dodgers teammates
1915 Wilbert Robinson takes over as manager of Brooklyn Dodgers; the place infamous "grapefruit drop" occurs at Daytona Beach
1916 Hits .364 in the World Series for Brooklyn first place in the minor leagues
1918 Is traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates
1919 In a game against former teammates the Brooklyn Dodgers, tips
1919 Is traded to the Philadelphia Phillies of Weiss, then Yankees general manager
1921 Is traded to the New York Giants
1922 Plays with the Herb Hunter All-Americans on their tour of the Far East; first team of major leaguers to play a Chinese team and first to lose a game in Japan.
1923 Becomes a hero for the Giants in the World Series, hitting two game-winning home runs, the first World Series home runs ever
1923 Is traded to the Boston Braves
1924 Marries accountant Edna Lawson and sets up home in Glendale,
1925 Retires as a player and takes first managerial job, at Worcester season ends, in Glendale, California
1926 Takes over as manager of Toledo Mud Hens; they win first Jordan Stengel championship in 1927
1931 Mud Hens team goes bankrupt; Stengel is hired as coach for
1934 Signs contract to manage Dodgers
1936 Is fired by Dodgers after three losing seasons shortstop Kid Elberfeld
1938 Becomes manager of the Boston Bees (later Braves)
1943 Is hit by a taxi, fracturing a leg, an injury that never properly heals
1944 Is fired as manager of Bees after team finishes no higher than fifth
1944 Takes over as manager of Milwaukee Brewers and leads them to
1945 Becomes manager at Kansas City
1946 Takes over management of the Oakland Oaks, under general his hat when he comes up to bat and a sparrow flies out, to the manager George Weiss delight of the crowd
1949 Takes managerial reins of New York Yankees on recommendation
1951 Establishes first "instructional school" for Yankees
1958 Testifies before Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly, giving a forty-five minute monologue in Stengelese that leaves senators confused and laughing
1960 Is let go by the Yankees, at age 70 hit in Yankee Stadium
1962 Becomes manager of newly created New York Mets
1965 Retires after suffering broken hip
1966 Is named to Baseball Hall of Fame California
1975 Dies of lymphatic cancer on September 29, the day after baseball

The Yankees renewed Stengel's contract in 1954, and he became a baseball legend when his team won pennants for the next four years and again took the World Series title in 1956 and 1958. Continually in the newspapers and on television, Stengel became as well known as his players, as the world chuckled and scratched its head over his "Stengelese." On July 9, 1958, Stengel, Mantle, and a few others were called to testify before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly in Washington, D.C. The Senate was considering a popular bill that would exempt professional baseball and other sports from certain antitrust restrictions and wanted a hearing on the bill before taking a vote. Asked to briefly give his background and his views on the legislation, Stengel delivered a forty-five-minute monologue that repeatedly filled the room with laughter. When Stengel was finished, Mantle was asked for his opinion on the bill. He said, "My views are about the same as Casey's."

In 1960, Stengel suffered chest pains and spent some time in the hospital but soon returned to the Yankees. However, the team had finished third in 1959 and lost the World Series to Pittsburgh in 1960. The Yankees let Stengel go, with a $160,000 profit-sharing payoff. Stengel told a crowd of reporters, "Write anything you want. Quit, fired, whatever you please." He also quipped, "I'll never make the mistake of being seventy again."

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Famous Sports StarsBaseballCasey Stengel Biography - Young Athlete, "casey At The Bat", Clown And Hero, Shifting Ball Clubs, Managing The Yankees - SELECTED WRITINGS BY STENGEL: