Casey Stengel, Boston Bees, 1939 – Before he took the helm of the Yankees, managing was a rough ride for Casey

Casey Stengel, Boston Bees, 1939 – Before he took the helm of the Yankees, managing was a rough ride for Casey


This photo, brilliantly colorized by Don Stokes, was taken during Stengel’s second season as manager of the Bees, also known as the Braves. It was Casey’s second stint as manager, his first tour was with the Brooklyn Dodgers where he posted a 208-251 record over three seasons for a .453 winning percentage. Unfortunately his stint at Boston was no better, in six seasons he finished with a 373-491 record and a winning percentage of just .432. During his first nine seasons as a Major League manager his teams only finished over .500 once, his first year as a Bees manager, and never finished better than 5th place in the National League. In 1943 Casey was shown the door by ownership, even so he still had the backing og Braves GM Bob Quinn.

Now at a crossroads, Casey decided to scale it back some and head to the minors where he stayed for the next five years and managed three different teams, having success with each one including winning 114 games with the Oakland Oaks of the PC, a team that included two aging veterans in Ernie Lombardi and Cookie Lavagetto and a scrappy second baseman in 20-year-old Billy Martin.

After leaving Oakland at the end of the 1948 season, the time seemed right for Casey to give the Majors another go and luck would have it an old friend, George Weiss, was General Manager of the New York Yankees. So Casey, to the shock of many who viewed him as an less than competent baseball manager, was hired by the Yankees in 1949, and from there he would win seven World Series titles and nine American League pennants over the next 12 years. But after the Yankees lost in stunning fashion in the 1960 World Series in seven games to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Casey was let go, or resigned, but basically said “I’ll never make the mistake of being seventy again.”

Two years later Casey’s legend would continue to grow to new levels as he become manager of the new National League franchise in New York called the Metropolitans, where in their inaugural season they lost a Major League record 120 games, but were beloved because Casey made them a lovable losing bunch. He would retire for good during the 1965 season at the age of 74.

And speaking of age, when this photo was taken Casey was only 48 years old. He always did look much older than he actually was.

-Ron A. Bolton

Photo and Colorization – Don Stokes

Info Source – Bill Bishop, SABR
Other Info Source –

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