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Forging Genius: The Making of Casey Stengel Paperback – October 31, 2006
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"Even the most fanatic Yankees fans will find themselves exclaiming, ‘Wow! I didn’t know that!’ Forging Genius is a delightful and wonderfully written look at a man who bequeathed more than we know to the game we love."
"Baseball talent doesn’t just appear, it evolves. After all these years, fans can finally learn where Casey Stengel came from--and perhaps where the next Stengel could come from, too."
"Goldman pulls off a difficult trick: Forging Genius is both densely researched and informative, yet a thoroughly engaging read too. He proves that there was much more to Stengel than a gift for shtick and blessed timing."
"Meticulously shows how managing atrocious teams prepared him for greatness."
"Forging Genius isn't so much a biography as a study in how three-quarters of a century of baseball wisdom came to be encapsulated in one of the game's classic eccentrics. . . . [It] is that rarest of baseball books: respectful toward tradition and irreverent to perceived wisdom. Mr. Goldman has looked down a well-traveled road and taken it to a new destination. The greatest of American sportswriters, Red Smith, once wrote that it was necessary to reintroduce Stengel to readers 'at least once a decade.' Mr. Goldman's book ought to do that for at least a century."
"Best book about a baseball manager this year."
About the Author
Steven Goldman writes the column “The Pinstriped Bible,” a regular Web column for the New York Yankees focused on their history, and also contributes to Yankees Magazine and www.mlb.com. He lives in East Brunswick, New Jersey.
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Top customer reviews
But how did Casey do all that?
That is the question that Steven Goldman examines in this book. This is a baseball biography of Casey that begins with is playing days, and ends with his first year as the Yankees Manager. 95% of this book is the pre-Yankee Casey. He played for, and learned from John McGraw. McGraw was Casey's idol and mentor. Casey helped McGraw win a world Series in 1923 with 2 timely Home Runs- one an inside the park job. But Casey also sat with McGraw on the Giants bench and watched how McGraw applied his strategy and moved his players.
One of the things Casey always got a lot of credit for was his system of Platooning . It seems that he always plugged in the right guy for the right situation with the Yankees. Goldman shows how Casey learned the art of platooning. During his managerial stints with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Braves Casey had a lot of bad players and a lot of injured players. He learned to move his infielders around to different positions and adjust the composition for different game situations. In Al Lopez, he had a catcher who could function as an "on the field" manager- the way Yogi Berra later did in New York. (Lopez later won 2 pennants managing against Stengel.)
The teams that Casey managed prior to the Yankees had mixed outcomes. He won 2 championships in the minors. Brooklyn and Boston were both second Division teams while he managed them.But Goldman points out that both teams were very cash poor and Casey did quite well with what he had to work with. According to the experts,the Dodgers should have finished last in 1935 but Casey managed to finish 5th with a pretty rotten club.
"Forging Genius" is a good book. if you love Baseball and want to learn how its greatest Manager got to be great, this study will keep you interested to the last page. I highly recommend it.
George Weiss stunned baseball insiders, the press corps and Yankee fans when he hired Stengel in the fall of 1948. Many derided Stengel as a clown and a "second division manager." Stengel won 5 straight World Series with the Yankees (and an overall total of 7 titles and 10 pennants). After his unparalleled success, many of those who scoffed began to call him a genius. Goldman's book only spends two chapters on Casey's time with the Yankees; the bulk of it is about his playing and earlier managing career, where his genius was created and tested.
The highlights and major points of the book are the following:
1) his relationship with John McGraw
2) how McGraw platooned Stengel, thus creating the manager who would bring the platoon into vogue
3) how Bucky Harris invented the stopper with Joe Page, and how Stengel adopted and adapted his strategy
4) Stengel's love and ability to teach young players
5) how he used humor and obfuscation with the press
6) his relationship with Frankie Frisch
7) his relationship with Billy Martin
8) how, unlike most people inside and outside of baseball, he was able to learn and adapt as he grew older and moved up the chain of command
It's a wonderful, informative book with loads of quotes and funny stories.
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this guy writes a good column for the NY Sun, but if he ever does another...Read more