Did you know Casey Stengel was the first player to hit a World Series home run at Yankee Stadium?
And, on this date in 1975, he made his final appearance at Shea Stadium at an Old Timers Game. He died several months later.
Charles Dillon Stengel, nicknamed Casey, which came from the initials of his hometown of Kansas City, Mo., was not only the first manager of the Mets, but a baseball original, an icon.
Stengel was an average, but not spectacular player for the Brooklyn Dodgers – starting his career in 1912, the year the Titanic sunk – Pirates, Phillies, Giants and Boston Braves.
Of his career as a player, Stengel said: “I had many years that I was not so successful as a ballplayer, as it is a game of skill.’’
Stengel carved his niche as a Hall of Famer managing the Dodgers, Boston Braves, Yankees, and, of course, the Mets, where he became a folk hero.
Stengel won ten pennants and seven World Series titles for the Yankees, including a record five straight from 1949-53. He was fired after the 1960 World Series, in which the Yankees lost to Pittsburgh in seven games. Stengel insisted it was age related after turning 70, and said, “I’ll never make that mistake again.’’
Stengel was talked of retirement to manage the expansion Mets in 1962, and when he was hired, said: “It’s a great honor to be joining the Knickerbockers.’’
The Mets finished last in his four years with them.