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Casey Stengel

Baseball Legend

Stengel spent some of his retirement years at work in a Glendale bank, with a sign on his desk that read "Stengelese Spoken Here." In the fall of 1975, as he lay in a hospital bed watching baseball on television, he reportedly got to his feet one last time to stand at attention as they played the national anthem, with his right hand over his heart. He died of a form of lymphatic cancer on Monday, September 29, 1975, the day after the baseball season ended. He was 85. His funeral was delayed until the following Monday so that baseball people could travel to attend. According to Creamer, the best tribute was paid before the services began, as chuckles and giggles rose throughout the church: his friends and colleagues were telling stories about him.

Career Statistics

Yr Team AVG GP AB R H HR RBI BB SO SB
BRO: Brooklyn Dodgers; BSN: Boston Braves (then Bees); NYG: New York Giants; PHI: Philadelphia Phillies; PIT: Pittsburgh Pirates.
1912 BRO .316 17 57 9 18 1 13 15 9 5
1913 BRO .272 124 438 60 119 7 43 56 58 19
1914 BRO .316 126 412 55 130 4 60 56 55 19
1915 BRO .237 132 459 52 109 3 50 34 46 5
1916 BRO .279 127 462 66 129 8 53 33 51 11
1917 BRO .257 150 549 69 141 6 73 60 62 18
1918 PIT .246 39 122 18 30 1 12 16 14 11
1919 PIT .293 89 321 38 94 4 43 35 35 12
1920 PHI .292 129 445 53 130 9 50 38 35 7
1921 PHI .305 24 59 7 18 0 4 6 7 1
1921 NYG .227 18 22 4 5 0 2 1 5 0
1922 NYG .368 84 250 48 92 7 48 21 17 4
1923 NYG .339 75 218 39 74 5 43 20 18 6
1924 BSN .280 131 461 57 129 5 39 45 39 13
1925 BSN .077 12 13 0 1 0 2 1 2 0
TOTAL .284 1277 4288 575 1219 60 535 437 453 131

Baseball was Casey Stengel's life. A talented player and manager and a delightful comic, he was loved by players, fans, and the press. His teams won 1,905 games and lost 1,842. He led the New York Yankees to some of their greatest victories and nurtured the New York Mets through their greatest defeats. He played for, managed, and taught many other legendary figures in baseball and set a number of records himself, including the most World Series games managed (63) and won (37). The Stengel legend has lived on through the work of his many biographers and through the baseball institutions he helped to establish.

Stengel: His Life and Times

On March 8 [1966], a few days after he had arrived in Florida, the Mets asked Casey to come out to the spring training field to take part in a ceremony. The sportswriters were giving a plaque to George Weiss, he was told, and they wanted Casey to make the presentation. They told him to bring Edna along, too. Stengel, wielding his cane, limped onto the field and walked with surprising quickness toward the clubhouse. He had on street clothes but wore a Mets baseball cap. As he reached the clubhouse he was surrounded by writers and photographers, and he saw TV cameras, and he began to suspect something. The Commissioner of Baseball, General William Eckert, was on the field, and so was Ford Frick, Eckert's predecessor and a member of the Hall of Fame committee.

The Met players stopped practicing and gathered around. The small crowd of spectators who had come to watch practice crowded closer to the chain-link fence that kept them off the field. Frick began to speak. He explained the eligibility rule and the fact that it had been waived and said a special vote had been held and Stengel had been elected to Cooperstown.

Casey, holding his cap in his hand, bowed his head quickly, then waved his cap, and everyone applauded. Edna kissed him. Casey was grinning, his wrinkled face beaming, looking, as Cannon wrote, very young. He stepped to the microphone.

That summer he and Edna went to Cooperstown for his formal induction to the Hall of Fame…. He said, "I want to thank everybody. I wantto thank some of the owners who were amazing to me, and those big presidents of the leagues who were so kind to me when I was obnoxious." He thanked his parents and he thanked George Weiss, "who would find out whenever I was discharged and would reemploy me." Casting back over his half century in baseball, he encapsulated his career in one brief sentence: "I chased the balls that Babe Ruth hit."

Source: Creamer, Robert W. Stengel: His Life and Times. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984, pp. 314-315.

Awards and Accomplishments

1949-53, 1956, 1958 Won World Series and American League pennant as manager of New York Yankees
1949-60 Set records, including most years as a championship manager in the American League (10); most consecutive first-place finishes (5); most World Series games managed (63); and most World Series games won (37)
1955, 1957, 1960 Won American League pennant as manager of New York Yankees
1966 Inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

Additional topics

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