South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

A lack of professionalism never hurt Casey Stengel

By Bill Milligan
By Bill Milligan

America’s obsession with professionalism is cheating American youth out of exposure to the sage homespun characters that used to epitomize the American spirit and our way of doing things.

Where are the Will Rogers and Ca-sey Stengel characters today, people with that great sense of humor, talent and their own way of doing things?

Take Casey Stengel, for instance. His likes have been replaced by people like Commissioner Bud Selig and players’ union chief Donald Fehr.

As a player for the New York Giants he once put a bird under his cap and then released it in a bow from the batter’s box. When he returned to the dugout he reportedly said: “I gave all those people the bird.”

Charles “Casey” Stengel played 14 years and managed professionally for another 25 years. After Bill Maza-roski’s homer beat Stengel’s Yankees in the 1961 World Series, he was fired. The Yankees said he had grown too old to manage. Stengel’s answer?

“They told me my services were no longer desired because they wanted to put in a youth program as an ad-vance way of keeping the club going. I’ll never make the mistake of being 70 again.”

Overall, Stengel has to be one of the most quotable Americans ever to live, besides winning 10 pennants in 12 years and five consecutive World Series. But more than that he made us laugh with quotes like these:

“Don’t cut my throat, I may want to do that later myself.”

“Don’t drink in the hotel bar, that’s where I do my drinking.”

“Managing is getting paid for home runs someone else hits.”

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

“All right, everybody line up alphabetically according to your height.”

“You got to get twenty-seven outs to win.”

“My health is good enough about the shoulders.”

“The trick is growing up without growing old.”

“They say some of my stars drink whiskey. But I have found that the ones who drink milk shakes don’t win many ball games.”

These quotes were taken from the official Casey Stengel biography. He died in 1975 at the age of 86.

While he might be criticized by some for a lack of professionalism in the manner in which he spoke, baseball surely misses this great player and manager, particularly the smile he brought to everyone’s face.

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