All right everyone, line up alphabetically according to your height… the art of Stengelize

Oh to be in the ballpark now that spring is here. Well maybe not our ballpark – you really have to love the game [or the opposing team] to get robbed at the ticket counter and raped at the concession stand the see this team mangle the game. But time was you could scan the sports pages and find deathless prose describing feats of derring do where the hero never died and today’s sadness had been replaced by tomorrow’s hope by the next time you heard the national anthem. And there were men like Stengel and Berra who had world series rings, not degrees in sportsmetrics, and who made winning – and sometimes losing – an art, an entertainment and a parable, all in one glorious afternoon. Maybe by the time my grandchildren are old enough to enjoy a game our ballpark will house a winning team again and I hope come springtime I am in the bleachers with them. Meanwhile enjoy a little Stengelize and, if you are burdened with a cellar dwelling team, read Goldman’s book and relive the glory days of the game.

Ability is the art of getting credit for all the home runs somebody else hits.

Been in this game one-hundred years, but I see new ways to lose ’em I never knew existed before.

Good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice-versa.

I don’t like them fellas who drive in two runs and let in three.

I feel greatly honored to have a ballpark named after me, especially since I’ve been thrown out of so many.

I was not successful as a ball player, as it was a game of skill.

I was such a dangerous hitter I even got intentional walks during batting practice.

If we’re going to win the pennant, we’ve got to start thinking we’re not as good as we think we are.

If you’re playing baseball and thinking about managing, you’re crazy. You’d be better off thinking about being an owner.

It’s wonderful to meet so many friends that I didn’t used to like.

Never make predictions, especially about the future.

No baseball pitcher would be worth a darn without a catcher who could handle the hot fastball.

Now there’s three things you can do in a baseball game: You can win or you can lose or it can rain.

Old timers weekends, and airplane landings are alike. If you can walk away from them, they’re successful.

Son, we’d like to keep you around this season but we’re going to try and win a pennant.

Sure I played, did you think I was born at the age of 70 sitting in a dugout trying to manage guys like you?

The secret of successful managing is to keep the five guys who hate you away from the four guys who haven’t made up their minds.

The Yankees don’t pay me to win every day, just two out of three.

There comes a time in every man’s life, and I’ve had plenty of them.

They told me my services were no longer desired because they wanted to put in a youth program as an advance way of keeping the club going. I’ll never make the mistake of being seventy again.

Two hundred million Americans, and there ain’t two good catchers among ’em.

When you are younger you get blamed for crimes you never committed and when you’re older you begin to get credit for virtues you never possessed. It evens itself out.

Without losers, where would the winners be?

You got to get twenty-seven outs to win.

You gotta lose ’em some of the time. When you do, lose ’em right.

You have to go broke three times to learn how to make a living.

You have to have a catcher because if you don’t you’re likely to have a lot of passed balls.

Forging genius : the making of Casey Stengel    Washington, D.C. : Potomac Books, c 2005  Steven Goldman Baseball managers United States Biography, Stengel, Casey Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xi, 303 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 283-290) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG 

When Casey Stengel was named the manager of the Yankees in 1949, baseball wags were stunned. What had Stengel ever done? His work managing the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves had been long on personality and remarkably short on success. They thought the Yankees would never be able to compete with the Red Sox or Indians with that broken-down old man in charge. At the All-Star break, the Yankees looked like a banged-up bunch of also-rans, not like a team about to embark on five straight championships. Yet Stengel seemed confident of success. As Steven Goldman explains, people had forgotten that Casey knew how to come back.

How did he know? Goldman refutes claims that anyone could have won with the Yankees. Casey knew how to win because of the years of struggle and ignominy, because he’d learned how to manage by running two of the game’s worst sad-sack franchises, because he had learned through failure. To understand Stengel’s formative years, Goldman retraces Stengel’s baseball education in playing for the great John McGraw, from whom he also learned that success permits no room for nostalgia. Goldman follows Stengel through his years with the Dodgers and Braves, his return to the minors, a spat with Bill Veeck, and his success as a businessman away from the diamond.

Forging Genius gives insights to Stengel’s irrepressible love of the game and his incorrigible desire to entertain. As Casey put it, “Because I can make people laugh, some of them think I’m a damn fool.” His humor camouflaged a relentless hunger for success, glory, and the respectability he desperately sought. Goldman gives readers an unprecedented vision of one man’s lifelong pursuit of genius on the baseball diamond.


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