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Casey Stengel

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.

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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: