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Stengel: His Life and Times Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 349 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press; Reprint edition (March 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803263678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803263673
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #905,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

From its original publication in 1984, Creamer's superb portrait of one of the game's most cherished characters was quickly acknowledged as a masterwork of sports biography. Its opening line--"Casey Stengel naked was a sight to remember"--helped establish the complex and often contradictory personality that Creamer strips from its façade by work's end. Stengel worked to build his image as the game's crazy clown prince, but he was always crazy like a fox, remarkably resilient, quietly brilliant, and always entertaining, from the day he broke into the majors with Brooklyn in 1912 to the afternoon he finally hung up his uniform as the loveable manager of the hapless Mets in 1964. His record of success as manager of the Yankee juggernaut from 1949 to 1960 remains one of baseball's unapproachable legacies: 10 pennants and seven World Series titles, including five in a row. "Casey could be wildly amusing," Creamer writes, stating the obvious, "but," he continues, "there was a burning ambition in him too." By displaying the former--especially in the form of his own confusing use of words, dubbed Stengelese by the beat writers whose job it was to interpret him--Stengel was able to let the latter sneak up on the opposition undetected. It was part of his myth and part of his mystery, both of which Creamer exposes with great skill, real respect, and obvious affection. --Jeff Silverman

Review

"A superb book. . . . Creamer has set a standard of excellence for sports biographies."—Sports Illustrated
(Sports Illustrated)

"Exemplary . . . by scaling down the legend of Stengel to human proportions, Mr. Creamer has made it seem all the more vital."—New York Times Book Review
(New York Times Book Review)

"Full of energy and surprises and laughter. . . . In Creamer’s wonderful portrait, the real man is even more likable than the legend."—Washington Post Book World
(Washington Post Book World)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Well written and well told story.
Richard Mendelson
Not only is it a book about the life of Casey Stengel, but it is a good history of the game of baseball.
Wm Reid Whitaker Jr.
Short on those long lists we love to stare at for hours on end.
Phil S.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By RoyHobbs on April 21, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Picked up this book because I enjoyed Creamer's book on Babe Ruth and Stengel is just as good, maybe better.

You'd almost expect a book on Stengel to skip the earlier years in favor of his coaching years but this book doesn't. Stengel's early years are entertaining and provide a good look into the teens, 20's and 30's of baseball so if that's what you're after then you'll like this book. You'll probably also be surprised at the life that Stengel lived, there's so much more to this man than I expected - what a full life he lived. He was the Ulysses of baseball....as if the Gods of Baseball decided to pluck this Chaplin-like soul and make him wander through the game for a lifetime. Creamer really delivers.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K.A.Goldberg on November 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a solid biography of one of baseball's most colorful characters. Charles "Casey" Stengel (1890-1975) spent parts of six decades in the big leagues in a career that lasted from 1912 until 1965. Stengel was a bit clownish and he spoke in a distinctly non-articulate style ("Stengelese"), but he was also an extremely intelligent man. The author details Stengel's youth in Kansas City and early ambitions to become a dentist. We get a descriptive look at his 14-year playing career with several national league teams. We get an equally effective look at his managerial tenure with the mediocre Brooklyn Dodgers (1934-36 )and Boston Braves (1938-1943), the powerhouse Yankee teams from 1949-1960, and the woeful expansion New York Mets from 1962-1965. There are many smiles (and a couple frowns) for readers as these pages examine a complex and colorful man.

Author Robert Creamer uses straightforward readable prose, and the result is a very good and informative biography. Readers should also like his biography on Babe Ruth, and his look at the 1941 baseball seasons.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jimmy Hayde (HAYDEJ@NTR.NET) on July 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
"Stengel: His Life and Times" is no mere biography. It is a chronicle, not only of the earlier days of baseball, but of America itself. As a biography, it is superlative. As a history book, it stands on it's own merits.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Phil S. on February 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've read and re-read Stengel's 1958 Congrsssional Testimony and still don't get it - I guess I agree with...Mickey.
Creamer's clean, simple style, lends much needed clarity to the infield dust surrounding many of Casey's exploits, in and out of Baseball.
Not a long book - in fact, could have made a nice series for the New Yorker magazine, but it's a fine place to start for Stengel/Yankee/BB fans in general.
His relationship with the Commerce Comet (MM) is nicely described, though perhaps a bit superficial. Why couldn't the "Perfessor" reach the kid with all the talent? Why would Mantle rebel against the "Father figure", when he worshipped his "real" Dad, who died very young (and was largely responsible for turning Mickey into perhaps the most venerated athlete in history). Was Casey, psychologically, a "replacement" of Mutt? No digging there...
His genius also did not seem to extend to the pitchers - if he under-used someone like Ford in the regular season, that's one thing. But why not make him available to pitch a complete game to end the Series, if needed?
Another area which warranted more exposition was the recall to BB to be Manager of the new "Bums" in town, the Metropolitans. The first, crazy year (1962) was one thing. But why allow yourself to finally retire as a sideshow?
The book is very enjoyable - perfect for a Maine to Florida plane trip. Short on those long lists we love to stare at for hours on end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jim J. Carroll on April 18, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent. Well written, gives a good history yet moves right along.This guy had an amazing career and an amazing record.This is a must read for anyone interested in baseball.
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By tom jarman on April 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great read for any Baseball fan. Pioneer and personality of the game. I recommend , lots of history.
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By Tyler Smith on March 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Stengel" is one of several fine baseball books by Creamer, a student of the game whose works include a terrific biography of Babe Ruth and a very enjoyable look back at the 1941 season.

Most people remember Stengel, of course, for his 10 pennants in 12 years as manager of the New York Yankees from 1949-1960, a run that culminated with the fabled home run by Bill Mazeroski in Pittsburgh that gave the Pirates an improbable seven-game Series win. But during that run, Stengel's Yankees won five straight championships (1949-1953) and two others in '56 and '58.

Seldom recalled, however, is Stengel's checkered career as a manager before he got the Yankees' job. He had the helm in baseball backwaters like Boston -- he held the job with the terrible Braves, not the Red Sox -- and posted losing seasons regularly. Creamer details all of that and makes clear there was enormous skepticism when he took over as manager in New York. It wasn't only the writers who had doubts. Joe Dimaggio and Phil Rizzuto gave him little, if any, support. Rizzuto was particularly antagonistic. Yet after the Yankees won the famous battle with the Red Sox for the '49 pennant, Stengel steadily solidified his leadership of the team.

Creamer does a nice job of dispelling the notion that Stengel was "lucky" because he managed teams with great talent. In fact, he notes, writers regularly picked the Yankees not to win in the first few years of Stengel's reign. He was a master manipulator of his roster, regularly "platooning" players -- the term was new at the time -- and forcing the action of games in ways unthinkable today, such as pinch-hitting early in games and regularly switching players from position to position.
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