Stengel starts managerial career with Dodgers

Part of the INSIDE PITCH series
Written by: Matt Kramer

Taking over the reigns from Hall of Fame center fielder Max Carey, the beloved Charles “Casey” Stengel returned to Brooklyn on Feb. 23, 1934, 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.

He played a major role in the two games that the New York Giants won against the New York Yankees in the 1923 World Series, hitting home runs in each of the games. The Giants lost the series four games to two, but Stengel helped the Giants defeat the Yankees the year before in the 1922 World Series.

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 eccentricities, 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 then 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 big leagues in 1949 succeeding Bucky Harris as the manager of the New York Yankees.

The move by Yankees’ management was questioned 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 winning of all-time.

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

Totaling 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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Part of the INSIDE PITCH series