Casey Stengel,
born in Kansas City in 1890,
played big league ball from ’12 to ’25.
Known early on for eccentricity,

he aspired to be a dentist
but abandoned that pursuit
because “they didn’t have enough
left handed instruments.”

He managed several teams,
attracting little fanfare until
he led the Yankee squads
from ’49 to ’60, during which

they won 10 pennants and 7 World Series.
Dubbed “The Old Professor” by a cadre
of scribes who loved to interview him,
their pads and pencils at the ready,

vying for a memorable quote.
Stengel said the Yankees “had less wrong
with them than any team he’d managed.”
Once asked why some of his stars

spent their energy enjoying women
before important games, he replied,
“that doesn’t bother a player—staying up all night
looking for them is what does them in.”

As for his advice to other managers,
he offered up this nugget,“keep the five guys
who hate you away from those
who haven’t made up their mind.”

After the Pirates beat the Yanks in the ’60 Series,
front office brass decided to let him go.
He managed the New York Mets from ’62 to ’65,
the worst team in baseball who

provided him with a dugout full
of one liners like the name
of Jimmy Breslin’s best selling book,
“Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?

When asked why the Mets
had so many poor performers,
he quipped, “without the losers,
where would the winners be?”

Detractors questioned kudos sent his way,
contending any manager would have won
with teams that featured stars
like Mantle, Berra, Skowron and Ford

but Stengel juggled lineups well,
had a knack for platooning players
and at key moments of important games
knew how to use his spot relievers—

when he handed the ball to one of them,
especially Ryne Duren, he would later say,
“When I look into his eyes, I want to see
the lights on but nobody’s home.”

Elected in ’66 to Baseball’s Hall of Fame,
the “Old Professor” without a diploma
kept entertaining aficionados of the game
until he died in ’75 of lymphoma.

One of baseball’s legends
and its most cited manager,
he spoke a language all his own,
a jargon known as Stengelese.