Gone, but not forgotten: 22 memorable quotes from Casey Stengel

July 29, 2009

Charles Dillon Stengel is a name most baseball fans might have trouble recognizing. He’s not currently playing, coaching or managing, and he’s not even an agent. As a matter of fact, the last time he was on a ball field was nearly 35 years ago when he was managing the New York Mets.

Most veteran baseball fans know him by his nickname, Casey. Charles Dillon “Casey” Stengel is one of the legends of the game. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966. He won a World Series championship as a player in 1922, and seven World Series championships as a manager (1949-1953, 1956 and1958). Even though he passed away in September 1975, some of his quotes are still relevant today. Here are a few “Stengelisms” I’d like to share.

1) “Good pitching will always stop good hitting, and vice versa.”

2) “If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.”

3) “The trick is growing up without growing old.” (One of my personal favorites.)

4) “There comes a time in every man’s life, and I’ve had plenty of them.”

5) “They say it can’t be done, but that doesn’t always work.” (Another personal favorite.)

6) “The secret of managing a ball club is to keep the ones who hate you away from the ones who are undecided.”

7) “Managing is getting paid for home runs someone else hits.”

8) While managing the New York Mets in 1962: “I’ve been in the game a hundred years, and I now see ways of losing I never knew existed.”

9) “You gotta lose ’em some time. When you do, lose ’em right.”

10) “I made up my mind, but I made it up both ways.”

11) “Never make predictions, especially about the future.”

12) “Old-timers games are great. It’s wonderful meeting so many old friends that I didn’t used to like.”

13) “I was such a dangerous hitter, I even got intentional walks during batting practice.”

14) “I had many years that I was not so successful as a ballplayer, as it is a game of skill.”

15) “If we’re going to win the pennant, we’ve got to start thinking we’re not as smart as we think we are.”

16) Commenting about being fired just after turning 70: “I’ll never make that mistake again.”

17) After winning a World Series title as a manager: “I couldn’t have done it without my players.”

18) “All right, everybody line up alphabetically according to your height.”

19) “Mister, that boy couldn’t hit the ground if he fell out of an airplane.”

20) “The team has come along slow. But fast.”

21) “Most ball games are lost, not won.” (Still true today.)

22) “When you are younger, you get blamed for crimes you never committed, and when you are older, you get credit for virtues you never possessed. It evens itself out.”

Those are just a few of the insightful and intelligent words of wisdom that came from the brain and out of the mouth of Charles Dillon “Casey” Stengel. Gone, but not forgotten.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.

from the July 29-August 4, 2009, issue

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