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Stengel: His Life and Times Paperback – March 1, 1996
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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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Casey is one of the best characters the game has ever seen ... this is a great account of his life and times.Published 2 months ago by MonitoringAdvisor
While I was around when Stengel managed, I did not know that he played ball himself. I always remember him as a manager who always seemed calm. Not so in the book. Read morePublished 12 months ago by steve allison
I got this months ago. Shipped promptly and as advertised. Would use againPublished 21 months ago by Donald W. Carter
It's Creamer, it's Casey, it's the Yankees of the fifties and the Mets of the '60's. What else can I say? A lot of fun.Published 21 months ago by Still a Phillies Phan
This is a great read for any Baseball fan. Pioneer and personality of the game. I recommend , lots of history.Published on April 4, 2014 by tom jarman
Great insigtht to a baseball legend of th2 20th century. The story of the man and the game of baseball are will written.Published on November 17, 2012 by Rob D. Robinson
This was a great read about one of the greatest managers of all time. I was not aware of how great a career he had as a player. Read morePublished on October 2, 2012 by Catlike
Stengel was always fascinating to me. All I ever knew of him as a kid was that he managed the Mets. Creamer writes this book similar to his book on Babe Ruth. Read morePublished on April 20, 2012 by Art Rawspine