cover image Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character

Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character

Marty Appel. Doubleday, $26.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-385-54047-6

Appel (Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain) relies on recent access to the unpublished memoir of Casey Stengel’s widow, Edna, as well as new digitized versions of vintage small-town newspaper reports and old letters sent by the Baseball Hall of Famer to family members, to write a contemporary biography of the man the MLB Network calls “Baseball’s Greatest Character.” Unpolished and unpredictable as a player and a manager, Stengel became an enduring icon of the sport who would hide a live sparrow under his ball cap during a game, publicly complained about his salary, and made no secret of his disdain for Jackie Robinson. Born Charles Dillion Stengel in Kansas City, Mo., he adopted the nickname “Casey” from the initials of his hometown and briefly pursued dentistry before embarking on a Major League Baseball playing career that lasted from 1912 to 1925. He then managed teams in the majors between 1934 and 1965. He felt most comfortable in New York, and tales featuring the likes of Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle play a large role in Stengel’s story. Appel, whose tenure as public relations director for the New York Yankees was just getting started when Stengel died in 1975 at age 85, acknowledges that his friend Robert Creamer wrote a solid Stengel biography in 1984. But new interviews and access to family documents warranted this new bio, which reveals a more personal side of Stengel. [em](Mar.) [/em]