Only one man in baseball history has worn the jersey of the New York Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees and New York Mets in his career. That man is Hall of Famer Casey Stengel, and as Casey used to say, “You can look it up!”
There’s a new book out about the legendary Stengel, and it’s written by Marty Appel, the former Yankees public relations guru and best-selling author – and Gotham Baseball alumnus. When I first heard Marty was writing a book about Casey Stengel, I knew couldn’t wait to read it.
Appel has written some incredibly good books: Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss; Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain; and my personal favorite, Now Pitching for the Yankees: Spinning the News for Mickey, Billy and George.
Well, as per his usual, Marty’s Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character (published on March 28 and available at Amazon.com), is superb on just about every level.
The combination of Appel’s prose, his impeccable research and access to a never-before published memoir by Edna Stengel, Casey’s wife, this biography of baseball’s greatest manager is truly a masterwork.
From his early days as a outfielder with the Brooklyn Dodgers, spanning a 14-year career as a player before being named manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1934. Appel spins of a tale of a player who clashed with his legendary managers and as a manager clashed with some of his legendary players, including Joe DiMaggio. Through it all, Stengel always enjoyed a love affair with the press (“his writers”) and the fans.
Also incredibly interesting are the chapters on the latter stages of Stengel’s Yankees career, how he and general manager George Weiss were pushed out by the Yankees, and how they wound up with the Mets.
I read the great Richard Creamer’s Stengel: His Life and Times in 1981, and loved it. As Appel did with his own original Munson biography – he has improved on and added so much to what was already a wonderful existing book.
I’ve already placed it on my special books shelf; you will too.