Dickson: Stengelese

From Paul Dickson at The National Pastime Museum on July 30, 2016:

July 30, 2016, marks the 126th anniversary of the birth of Casey Stengel, one of the truly legendary baseball figures of the twentieth century. First as a player and then as a manager, he was known as much for his ability as a baseball man as for Stengelese, the vocabulary and implausible brand of double talk that came out of his mouth. Red Smith once likened trying to understand Casey to “picking up quicksilver with boxing gloves.”

Many of the writers who covered him during his managerial years in New York (as Yankees skipper he won 10 pennants in 12 years, including five straight world championships followed by three dismal seasons with the expansion New York Mets) looked on Stengelese as “flagrant put-on.” Sportswriter Wells Twombly insisted, “He did it on purpose,” adding that Stengel was totally lucid and straightforward when unguarded but that he put on the act when the press was about.

Writing in Newsday the day after Stengel retired from baseball in 1965, George Vecsey had this to say about Stengelese, “He could have fun with it. When people from out-of-town gaped at him during the World Series, he turned on the Stengelese. It was what they had come for. When the radio and television poked their microphones in front of him, he turned on the Stengelese. He knew it made them mad. When the entire nation was watching him, he turned on the Stengelese. It was noblesse oblige.”

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/stengelese

Originally published: August 2, 2016. Last Updated: August 2, 2016.