Inside Pitch

Feb. 23, 1934: Casey Stengel signs on as Dodgers’ manager


By MATT KRAMER

February 22, 2011


COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Taking over the reins from future Hall of Famer Max Carey, the beloved Charles “Casey” Stengel returned to Brooklyn 77 years ago this week as manager of the Dodgers.

Stengel first made his name as an outfielder and fan favorite for Brooklyn’s National League team from 1912-1917, hitting .284 over 14 total seasons in the majors with the Dodgers, Pirates, Phillies, Giants and Braves.

Casey Stengel was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

He played a major role in the two games that the New York Giants managed to win over the New York Yankees in the 1923 World Series, hitting home runs in each of the games. The Giants, however, lost the series four games to two.

Stengel started his managerial career in the minor leagues, leading both Worcester of the Eastern League and the Toledo Mud Hens to first-place finishes.

Despite his colorful antics, he started gaining high praise for being a strict baseball leader and good developer of young talent.

“Colorful” Casey finally got his opportunity as the Dodgers hired him as their manager on Feb. 23, 1934 to replace Carey after the future Hall of Fame outfielder compiled a 146-161 record in two years for the franchise.

Stengel struggled in his three seasons in Brooklyn, posting a 208-251 record. He managed the Boston Bees/Braves from 1938-43, resulting in only one winning season.

After spending several years in the minors again, Stengel received his big break and returned to the show in 1949 -- succeeding Bucky Harris as the manager of the New York Yankees.

The move by Yankees’ management was scrutinized by the media and fans alike, but Stengel quickly silenced the critics leading the club to 97 wins and a World Series championship in his first season.

“The Ol’ Perfesser”, as he came to be known, went on to direct the Yankees to a World Series title each of the next four seasons and captured a total of seven titles and 10 pennants over 12 seasons – solidifying his name in baseball history.

"I don't think anybody could have managed our club like Casey did. He made what some people call stupid moves, but about eight or nine out of ten of them worked," said Yankees pitcher, Don Larsen.

Stengel compiled an outstanding record of 1,149-696 as manager in the Bronx during one of the greatest stretches of all-time.

He finished his managerial career with the New York Mets in 1965 after four seasons with the organization.

Finishing with 1,926 wins, 10 World Series and 7 pennants, Stengel was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.

He passed away Sept. 26, 1975 at the age of 85.

Matt Kramer was the 2010 public relations fall intern at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

 

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