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  #1  
Old 07-30-2021, 10:03 PM
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Default Was Casey Stengel a good manager?

I've found myself watching a handful of baseball documentaries, reading books, and occasionally having an older game on in the background. It made me think a lot about the legacy of Stengel, and his tenure with the Yankees.

I can't seem to determine whether or not he was a good manager. A character sure, did incredible things with those late 40's and 50's Yankees teams, but never had success anywhere else. Stengel was fortunate enough to manage some of the great Yankees teams of all time. I think if you stick really anyone in the dugout with some of those teams they find success. Someone such as Walter Alston would've probably replicated what Stengel was able to do with the Yankees.

Curious to hear what everyone thinks.
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Old 07-31-2021, 01:25 AM
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Prior to the Yanks, not much success as a mgr. In fact, he kind of bottomed out in the PCL with Oakland. But, after joining the Yanks, his managerial attributes were great. But, that comes with a qualifier. If the Three Stooges had the Yankees talent in the 50's that Stengel did, even they would have had equal success.
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Old 07-31-2021, 05:48 AM
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Most managers are only as good as the players they have, I view Casey the same way I view Joe Torre, mediocre managers who benefited from having great players.
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Old 07-31-2021, 12:15 PM
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I think Stengel was a good manager. His managing style, with platooning everyone but Mantle, switching players in and out of the lineup, not giving any single pitcher too much work, all are strategies which work if you have a lot of good players and don't if you don't. The Yankees were the team he was made to manage.

I'm not sure how much credit you should give Stengel for this, but the Yankees were very smart with players in the '50s. Maybe Weiss was a bigger part of that, but Stengel at least cooperated.
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Old 07-31-2021, 12:22 PM
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Ford never started more than 30 games until Houk took over.

Larsen was an accidental starter in the fifth game of the 56 WS.

If a pitcher did well against a certain team, he might have to wait 7 days for a start until that team showed up.

Not conventional but he got results.

The Yankees might have done as well or better with another manager, but the process would have been different.
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Old 07-31-2021, 01:38 PM
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Stengel didn't have a whole lot of success before or after New York, but he wasn't given much to work with either. The Dodgers, Braves and Mets were all bottom-feeders during his tenure. As I recall, he was one of the first managers to take his hardest throwing pitcher (Joe Page) and use him in relief, not as a starter.
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Old 07-31-2021, 01:42 PM
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I am from St Louis. In 1967 the Cardinals had just moved from Grand Avenue to a new round stadium in downtown and the All Star Game was held there in July. Stengel who was asked what he thought of the news stadium. His response was a classic

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Old 07-31-2021, 02:29 PM
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I did have a brief chat with him in 1957, but didn't give him any advice.
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Old 07-31-2021, 02:41 PM
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I have read that a lot of what he did, he had learned from John McGraw. Presumably the Yankees saw something in him to hire him despite his lack of past success. Was he Earl Weaver? Probably not, but it's hard to argue with that much success.

One of the funniest things I read was Stengel testifying before a Senate committee on the antitrust exemption. They ask him his opinion and he proceeds to talk for half an hour nonstop about everything but the question. When he finishes, they turn to Mantle who for some reason was also called in to testify, and ask him what HE thinks. He says, I agree with Casey.
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Old 07-31-2021, 07:42 PM
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When I looked at that site I knew that date of death was wrong for Stengel knowing that he died in 1975, but they got everything wrong. He was born July 30, 1890 and died September 29, 1975.
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Old 07-31-2021, 07:46 PM
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I did have a brief chat with him in 1957, but didn't give him any advice.
I imagine Stengel would have taken advice from an elder .
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Old 07-31-2021, 08:58 PM
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He won the pennant in 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960. How much more does a guy have to accomplish to be called "good?"

No manager can win without good players, but a lot of managers can lose with them. Stengel did more than his share of winning.

As has been mentioned before, he also saved Larsen's WS perfect game by moving Mantle over into left center right before Hodges crushed it there.

Although......... I think Stengel blew the 1960 World Series.
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Old 08-01-2021, 10:07 AM
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Default Casey Stengel

As a very young dude, and an avid Yankees fan, I saw "K.C." Stengel a lot on our small TV (or live at Yankee Stadium). From when he came to NY to manage the Yankees in 1949 to 1960.
I recall that the NY Sports media (in the Spring of "49) mocked him and referred to him as a "clown". Whatever, but by the Fall of 1953, Casey Stengel certainly had the "last laugh".
I venture to say that the 5 consecutive World Championships under his leadership may be a record that will never be broken in Baseball.

Casey was a "genius". I could fill up this page with stories of how Stengel "orchestrated" his players and pitchers which resulted in numerous victories. However, the most impressive
example which comes to mind is how Stengel utilized his Ace relief-pitcher, Joe Page in 1949. Stengel brought Page in to relieve in 60 games. Page Won 13 games, and Saved 27.
Furthermore, there were times when Stengel did not hesitate to bring Page into the game as early as the 6th inning. Page would "Shut-Out" the opposing team for 4 innings.





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  #14  
Old 08-01-2021, 10:11 AM
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Default Casey Stengel

Casey's Managerial record speaks for itself. Casey's playing Stats (1912 - 1925)......

Casey's career BA = .284 (not too bad). And, definitely a clutch hitter in World Series play...…BA = .393

1916 WS.....BA = .364

1922 WS.....BA = .400

1923 WS.....BA = .417, RBI = 4, HR = 2 (both were inside-the-park)


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  #15  
Old 08-01-2021, 10:33 AM
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Could the same be said about Joe Torre? I know he won a National League West championship with the Braves in 1982. Before he got to the Yankees, they had a long time between championships.

For the record, I think Stengel and Torre are both great managers. All teams have talent, but the team has to work out a lot of things to that championship level.
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Old 08-01-2021, 10:36 AM
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I appreciate everyone responding to my post, It's good to hear all these opinions especially from some of the members who were alive when Stengal was actually managing.

ted, to your point I have read about Stengel utilizing the bullpen in a unique way, at least at the time. Peter, that story about Mantle and Stengel testifying is something I never heard, and to your point I would probably agree, then again Weaver was one of a kind!

Mark, I'd agree about 1960, him choosing Ditmar to start did the Yankees in that series. While I don't think the game was passing him by, I struggle to understand why he didn't go with Ford in game 1. Maybe he had a gut feeling or something? Who knows.

Frank, I'd agree. He wasn't conventional but certainly got some good results. We all could wonder what would have happened had a different manager taken the reins of the Yankees in the late 40's. Had McCarthy not had a drinking problem or had ownership either stuck with Dickey or Bucky Harris, I wonder how the 50's would have gone.
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  #17  
Old 08-01-2021, 11:30 AM
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Default The John McGraw Managerial Legacy......

Hi James

Continuing this conversation......

Casey Stengel played with the NY Giants (1921 - 1925). John McGraw took a liking to Stengel, and was a mentor to Stengel. In the 1940's, Stengel was the Manager for
the Oakland Oaks (PCL), and he mentored Billy Martin. Subsequently, Billy Martin became the Manager for Minnesota, Detroit, Texas, Yankees, Oakland, and Yankees. All
three of them, more or less, had the same style of playing the game and Managing.

I've always found this legacy (McGraw > Stengel > Martin) very interesting.


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Old 08-01-2021, 03:37 PM
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Something I didn't know about Stengel until I did some more reading prompted by this thread was Yankee management had been looking to replace him as early as 1957, in favor of Ralph Houk. The opportunity didn't arise for a few years; his contract didn't end until 1958, and coming off a World Series win they had to give him another two years.
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Old 08-01-2021, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedzan View Post
Hi James

Continuing this conversation......

Casey Stengel played with the NY Giants (1921 - 1925). John McGraw took a liking to Stengel, and was a mentor to Stengel. In the 1940's, Stengel was the Manager for
the Oakland Oaks (PCL), and he mentored Billy Martin. Subsequently, Billy Martin became the Manager for Minnesota, Detroit, Texas, Yankees, Oakland, and Yankees. All
three of them, more or less, had the same style of playing the game and Managing.

I've always found this legacy (McGraw > Stengel > Martin) very interesting.


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Ted,

McGraw, Stengal and Martin all had larger than life personalities. It's a shame about Billy. Was still fairly young when he tragically passed. I remember reading there were talks that George was going to bring him back for another time to manage the Yankees again.

On the subject of him dying, makes me think about Whitey Ford a bit. Martin passing in 89, then Mickey a few years later, his buddies all passing before him must have hit him hard.

- James
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Old 08-01-2021, 04:12 PM
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Who but Billy Martin would have pulled Reggie from right field in the middle of an inning on national TV?
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Old 08-01-2021, 06:03 PM
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If a manager has great players he is a great manager. If he has poor players he is a poor manager. Just check any high school, college or professional team. Has talent = wins, manager is great. Next year, talent leaves = last place. Stengel first place with the Yankees and last place with the Mets.

There are stories that Stengel asked the pitching coach to put a player in for relief and that player was not even on the team.
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Old 08-01-2021, 06:53 PM
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Who but Billy Martin would have pulled Reggie from right field in the middle of an inning on national TV?
Gil Hodges did the same to Cleon Jones when he was managing the Mets.
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Old 08-01-2021, 07:44 PM
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Gil Hodges did the same to Cleon Jones when he was managing the Mets.
Cleon was not quite the magnitude of Reggie but cool. My best friend and I were actually watching the Reggie game, it was an incredible moment, a good one for us because at that point we loved Thurman and hated Reggie.
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Old 08-02-2021, 10:42 AM
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I don't think Joe Maddon or Bobby Cox or Earl Weaver or whoever you consider a great manager, would have been able to squeeze much more out of some of those horrible teams Casey was saddled with.
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Old 08-02-2021, 08:33 PM
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Default Casey Stengel

Stengel was not only a "genius" in his ability to handle ball players, he also possessed an extraordinary gift to make the "perfect" decisions at the right occasion.
World Series 1956, Stengel starts Don Larsen in the 2nd game vs. the Dodgers. It's not Larsen's day, the Dodgers score 4 Runs in the 2nd inning. Stengel yanks
Larsen in that inning.
With the Series tied at 2 games apiece, who does Stengel start for the 5th game.....Don Larsen. The rest is history. Was that just sheer luck, or was it the result
of a shrewd mind ?





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Old 08-02-2021, 08:51 PM
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After watching Bobby Cox and Jim Leyland stumble (to put it mildly) through about two dozen years of highly talented teams in the playoffs, I learned to never take a manager's leadership for granted (even one from a past Yankees dynasty)
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Old 08-03-2021, 06:26 PM
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I used to think the manager's impact on the team was overstated. Then I saw Bobby Valentine manage the Red Sox. He took a team that had won 90 games the year before, and would win the World Series the following year, and lost 90 games for the first time since 1966.
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Old 08-03-2021, 06:36 PM
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Ted maybe you know if this is a real story or not, but I have read that a reporter actually asked Stengel after the Larsen game if it was the best game he had seen Larsen pitch. Stengel, ever the wit, allegedly replied, "so far."
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Old 08-03-2021, 06:40 PM
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Speaking of good moves, I have read it was Stengel who put an end to Mantle playing shortstop. Supposedly, during a spring training game, literally moved him out to the outfield by coming out and prodding him with a bat after a throwing error. No clue if it's a real story.
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Old 08-03-2021, 07:12 PM
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Of course, if we say Stengel was a good manager for winning with the Yankees, does that imply Houk and Berra were also good managers?

The Yankees won 4 consecutive pennants and 2 more WS after Stengel was fired. And Berra also won a pennant in 1973.

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Old 08-03-2021, 07:20 PM
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Of course, if we say Stengel was a good manager for winning with the Yankees, does that imply Houk and Berra were also good managers?

The Yankees won 4 consecutive pennants and 2 more WS after Stengel was fired. And Berra also won a [pennant in 1973.
Houk didn't win anything during his second stint after replacing Johnny Keane.
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Old 08-03-2021, 08:01 PM
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Houk didn't win anything during his second stint after replacing Johnny Keane.
Neither did Stengel in his next gig. Both had last place teams to work with.

The Yankees got old very quickly. Maybe Keane (1964 WS winner) having a dismal year with the Yankees in 1965 is good evidence of their talent decline.
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Old 08-03-2021, 08:08 PM
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Neither did Stengel in his next gig. Both had last place teams to work with.

The Yankees got old very quickly. Maybe Keane (1964 WS winner) having a dismal year with the Yankees in 1965 is good evidence of their talent decline.
Yeah 64 was really the last hurrah for those great teams. All fell apart.
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Old 08-04-2021, 08:30 AM
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The thing is, as talented as those Yankees teams of the 50s were, it's insulting to think that anyone could have managed them to that level of success. His system of platooning position players and managing the pitchers and bullpen was fairly unique in that era, and he maximized the performance out of all that talent. I realize he didn't have much success outside of his Yankees tenor, but he was the kind of manager who could get the best out of talented players. And I'll be incredibly surprised if any other manager ever matches his level of success. 7 WS wins, and 5 in a row. I mean, DiMaggio's hitting streak might be more attainable.
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Old 08-04-2021, 11:20 AM
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And I'll be incredibly surprised if any other manager ever matches his level of success. 7 WS wins, and 5 in a row. I mean, DiMaggio's hitting streak might be more attainable.
From 1929 through 1944, Joe McCarthy won 9 pennants and 7 World Series, and in the other years he finished second. 16 straight years of finishing either first or second. I'd say McCarthy had a more successful managerial career than Stengel, both overall and during their peak years.
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Old 08-04-2021, 11:21 AM
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I think it's clear that the Yankees fell apart when Weiss and Stengel were fired after 1960. They did a great job of keeping the Yankees young by switching out older players for younger players, and not overworking their pitchers. Plus they had an incredible scouting system. The new management just was not on the same level.
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Old 08-04-2021, 12:04 PM
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*double post

Last edited by profholt82; 08-04-2021 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 08-04-2021, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark17 View Post
From 1929 through 1944, Joe McCarthy won 9 pennants and 7 World Series, and in the other years he finished second. 16 straight years of finishing either first or second. I'd say McCarthy had a more successful managerial career than Stengel, both overall and during their peak years.
Well, yeah, but I meant going forward. No one's come close to Stengel in 60 years now, and I don't see that changing. I never said he was the greatest manager of all time or anything, and that's such a subjective thing anyway, but as far as sustained excellence like that, I think it will be nearly impossible to duplicate.
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