Casey Stengel (Part Two): The Mets Years
Instead he went to work for Glendale Valley Bank, in Glendale, California which was owned by his wife's family.
His old friend, George Weiss was now working as General Manager for the expansion New York Mets. Originally Stengel did not to manage an expansion team, because the rules of the expansion draft guaranteed the team would not be a competitive team. Weiss eventually convinced his old friend to return to baseball & take the job as the Mets first Manager.Right away he began talking in what was known as his famous "Stengelese". During the expansion draft when the Mets first pick was an unknown catcher named Hobie Landrith. Casey said, said, "You have to have a catcher or you'll have a lot of passed balls".
Commenting on his three catchers in Spring Training he said: "I got one that can throw but can't catch, one that can catch but can't throw, and one who can hit but can't do either."
In April that season, Casey appeared in an ad for Rheingold Beer, with that year's Miss Rheingold, Kathy Kersh. Kathy Kersh the model / actress would appear as Cornelia in a 1967 episode of Batman, she would later marry Robin (Burt Ward) in real life. Casey was donning his Mets uniform in the ad which was a no-no for MLB. Commissioner Ford Frick fined the manager $500.
That season the Mets lost a record 120 games: finishing in last place. The team would find a new way to lose every day, but somehow through it all they became loveable losers. New York's underdog & the city's National League's darlings. The team especially grew attention from young men & female fans.
game?"- "Been in this game one-hundred years, but I see new ways to lose 'em, I never knew existed before."
When Mets slugger Frank Thomas kept trying to pull the ball, because there was sign on the right field fence that said "Hit it here win a boat" Stengel said "If you want to own a boat, join the Navy".
couldn't tell the two apart & he just called one of them Nelson to make it simple.
On the few days the team won games or had a player stand out for a major accomplishment, Stengel would sit back letting the press swarm over the player. When they lost, which was usually the case, he started his own talks. where he would be the focus.
1964 & the New Shea Stadium: The Mets opened up the new Shea Stadium, at the time it was one considered of the biggest & most beautiful Stadiums. It was located right across from the 1964 World's Fair, grounds. Shea's first year of attendance was 1.7 million people, second in the National League to Dodger Stadium.
Cosell stated that Casey's losing ways was making the New York kids fall in love with futility, as opposed to the mid-western kids who had Vince Lombardi's winning ways with the Green Bay Packers.
keeps up, I'm about to manage until I'm one hundred". The Mets went 31-64 under Stengel, until July 24th.
|Mets #37 Retired: 1966|
1969 World Series: Stengel threw out the ceremonial first pitch in the first 1969 World Series Game #3, the first Series game held at Shea Stadium. He was interviewed on television by Tony Kubek, telling everyone how "amazing, amazing, amazing" the Mets were.
Commissioner, Bowie Kuhn. The World Champion Mets presented Casey with a World Series ring after the season, he wore it proudly the rest of his life.
That summer he was also honored as the greatest living Manager, at the MLB All Star Game in Washington D.C. celebrating its 100th season. Stengel would keep making appearances at banquets, appear around Shea Stadium at Old Timers Day games, World Series' & special occasions in the years to come.
1973 World Series: Casey threw out the first pitch of Game #3 of the 1973 World Series at Shea Stadium, between the Mets & Oakland A's. He had to leave during the game due to ill health.
In 1973 his wife Edna, suffered a stroke & had to be moved to an assisted living facility. He stayed in the house at Glendale, assisted by a woman who served as nurse & secretary.
In 1975 he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer & passed away on September 29th at age 85. He is laid to rest with Edna, in Forest Lawn Cemetery alongside many celebrity personalities at Glendale California.