Tuesday, March 24, 2009

#187 Casey Stengel

#187 Casey Stengel
I've been chomping at the bit to post this card. Topps did a great job of choosing a quintessential Casey Stengel photo. We see the Ol' Perfesser camped out on a concrete step at...the Polo Grounds? I know Shea opened in 1964, but it looks a little ramshackle, no? Anyway, he's got a bat propped against his legs and he's holding court, imparting his own brand of twisted wisdom. I love it. Chances are that you know all about Casey (who started his major league career in 1912, the year Fenway Park opened, and won seven World Series as manager of the Yankees), so I'll change it up with:

Fun quotes by Casey Stengel

-"I had many years that I was not so successful as a ballplayer, as it is a game of skill."

"Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player. It's staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in."

-"The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided."

-"We are in such a slump that even the ones that aren't drinkin' aren't hittin'."

-"There comes a time in every man's life, and I've had plenty of them."

-"When you are younger you get blamed for crimes you never committed and when you're older you begin to get credit for virtues you never possessed. It evens itself out."

-"Son, we'd like to keep you around this season but we're going to try and win a pennant."

-"The trick is growing up without growing old."

-"They told me my services were no longer desired because they wanted to put in a youth program as an advance way of keeping the club going. I'll never make the mistake of being seventy again."

-"All right, everybody line up alphabetically according to your height."

-About Yogi Berra: "He'd fall in a sewer and come up with a gold watch."

-"Don't cut my throat, I may want to do that later myself."

#187 Casey Stengel (back)


  1. Best card in the set, IMHO. And yes, that is the Polo Grounds. I saw the Mets play there in 1963.

  2. I didn't know Topps had the presence of mind back then to take a photo like that. That's perfect.

  3. Bob - I suspected as much. Shea would've been bluer, most likely.

    night owl - I'm as surprised as you are, after an endless run of headshots and batting and pitching poses. It's odd, but the manager cards are really some of the best in this set.

  4. Yeah, Shea might well have been the least interesting park I've ever watched a game in, totally charmless and sterile*. But it was the Taj Mahal compared to the Polo Grounds.

    *=I never watched a game at the Vet in Philly. Went there and the game was rained out. Everyone i know who went there says it was awful.

  5. GREAT photo and GREAT post, Kevin.

    Those of you who read my blogs know that I pay a lot of attention to photos. One thing I've discovered is that cards like this are heightened by the fact that so many other cards in the set are pedestrian. If every single card were a spectacular shot, not only would it take a massive effort to get all the players and managers photographed, but they would all seem less special. Having a bunch of standard shots with the occasional spectacular and/or unique shot thrown in is great.

  6. they used a similar photo, most likely from the same sitting, in the 1964 set. it looks a lot better in 1965 i think. this is my favorite (by far) set of the 60s.

  7. Bob - I remember the Ravens refusing to play an exhibition game at the Vet near the end of its existence because the turf was so bad. Billick was pissed.

    Andy - I'd tend to agree. Thank God they didn't go all out like 1991 Stadium Club and put Casey in a tux!

    gcrl - I've always liked the design of 1963, and of course 1960 is a classic. But they're the only sets that even come close. Honestly, I don't like a Topps design after this one until 1971. It's like they were intimidated by their own awesomeness!