Tag Archives: Casey Stengel

Yogi Berra Remembered In Photos

Yogi Berra Dies At 90 – A Remembrance In Rarely Seen Photos Of The Yankee Great

Yogi Berra during the 1960 World Series - photo Marvin E. Newman

Yogi Berra during the 1960 World Series – photo Marvin E. Newman

Lawrence Peter “Yog”i Berra died Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at the age of 90 in West Caldwell, New Jersey where he had been living in an assisted-living facility.

While countless obituaries will appear over the next few days recounting Berra’s storied baseball career, business acumen and quotable life, we thought it best not to dwell on Berra’s passing or try and tell all about his amazing life in just a few paragraphs. Yogi’s life story will be be well covered by his former teammates, friends, journalists and colleagues.

We will tell you that Yogi was not a great catcher when he first arrived in the majors. Yogi worked hard with former Yankee catcher Bill Dickey to make himself into a great defensive catcher. Also three American League MVP awards tell you that Yogi was extremely valuable to the Yankees. What those awards will not tell you was that Yogi was one of the best bad ball hitters ever – whether the ball was up by his eyes or literally in the dirt – Yogi could do massive damage on a pitch that most batters would not be able to do anything with.

We decided the best way to remember this Hall of Famer was with some old press photos that appeared long ago in magazines and newspapers and mostly have not been seen since.

Spec Shea Yogi Berra 1947 first start in World SeriesFrank “Spec” Shea and Yogi Berra before game 1 of the 1947 World Series at Yankee Stadium. 1947 marked the first of a record 10 world championships for Berra.

Berra Rizzuto 5 15 50 photo AcmeYogi Berra and Phil Rizzuto enjoy playing cards on a Yankees charter flight from New York to St. Louis, May 15, 1950 – photo Acme

clockwise - Yogi Berra (without cap), Mickey Mantle, Vic Raschi and Allie Reynolds celebrate 3-2 World Series game 6 victory over Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field - October 6, 1952

Clockwise – Yogi Berra (without cap), Mickey Mantle, Vic Raschi and Allie Reynolds celebrate 3-2 World Series game 6 victory over Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field – October 6, 1952. Berra homered in the seventh inning, Mantle homered in the eighth, Raschi got the victory and Reynolds the save.

Yogi Berra Batting sequence 1955 9 6September 6, 1955 – Yogi’s Off And Running – Yogi Berra the New York Yankees formidable catcher, shows the wrist action that provides the power that makes him one of the club’s long ball hitters. Berra currently hitting .273 has pounded out 23 homers and driven in 94 runs. He has hit 18 doubles and two triples. – AP wirephoto  Continue reading

Mickey Mantle In Glorious Kodachrome Color Photos

25 Color Photographs of Mickey Mantle In The 1950’s & 60’s

Mickey Mantle portrait 1956 photo Marvin Newman

Mickey Mantle portrait 1956. photo: Marvin Newman

The name Mickey Mantle still evokes strong emotions for baseball fans of a certain age.

For if you ever saw Mickey Mantle play, you would never forget it. If you never had the pleasure, I’ll try and describe it.

Mickey Mantle powerful swing photo Marvin Newman

Mickey Mantle’s powerful swing. photo: Marvin Newman

Mantle swung the bat literally as hard as anyone who ever played the game. You would see his forearms and biceps bulge as he whipped the bat through the strike zone on a slight incline. Watching Mantle swing you could literally see that every muscle in his six foot frame was converging to pulverize the baseball.

When Mantle connected cleanly with the ball, the sound was unique. There was a sharp crack that resonated through the entire ballpark and that ferocious swing would drive countless baseballs deep into the gaps or frequently farther, with balls settling in the outfield stands or bleachers for a home run. There was no home run, like a Mickey Mantle home run.

Mickey Mantle stealing 2nd base and slides hard 1950s photo Marvin Newman

Mickey Mantle steals 2nd base and slides hard 1950s. photo: Marvin Newman

In his prime there were few fielders like Mickey Mantle, who could come out of seemingly nowhere to snag a drive hit in the gap, that when first hit, was thought to be uncatchable. Mantle’s arm could throw bullets, so runners had to think twice about taking an extra base or tagging up when the ball was hit to Mickey.

Mantle played hard breaking up double plays and stealing bases when necessary, even though he was playing on notoriously bad legs which would hamper his entire career. Continue reading

Bill Moose Skowron Dies at 81 – An Appreciation of a Kind Man

Casey Stengel and Bill “Moose” Skowron

Bill “Moose” Skowron died today, April 27, 2012 of congestive heart failure in Arligton Heights, IL.

In this news photograph above, the caption says, “Bill Moose Skowron reports for his first day, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, September 19.”

The only problem with this is that Moose’s first game was April 13, 1954 and it was not at Comiskey Park.  And the Yankees did not play in Chicago on September 19, 1954.

So what is the answer to this problem?

After Skowron was signed by the Yankees to a minor league contract to play for Binghamton, Skowron was told to report to Yankees manager Casey Stengel for special tutoring and would remain with the Yankees for the remainder of the season, although he would not be eligible to play. The date to report was Monday, September 18, 1950 in Chicago. The photograph ran in newspapers on Tuesday, September 19, 1950.

Skowron’s numbers speak for themselves. Wearing the number 14 throughout his entire fourteen year major league career, he was a winner who sparked the teams he played for. A .282 career hitter, he hit 211 career homeruns, was an eight time all-star, and a member of eight pennant winning teams, seven with the Yankees from 1955-1962.

The “Moose” most notably belied his nickname.

The five foot eleven, one hundred ninety five pound muscular fire plug often looked as if his gaze alone could knock you down, but was a true gentleman off the field. When entering Yankee Stadium through the players entrance, Skowron would frequently talk with fans and sign countless autographs. Of course many ballplayers did this back in the 1950’s and 60’s, but Moose was especially kind to children and teens.

Skowron gave up a brilliant football career at Purdue University to play baseball. After signing with the Yankees organization in 1950 he was named the minor league player of the year in 1952.

When Skowron did something well, the Yankee Stadium fans would erupt in calls of “Mooooooooooooooose,” which to the uninformed sounded like “boooooo.” “Why are they booing him,” a non-regular vistor to Yankee Stadium might ask, “he just hit a home run!”

When Lou Piniella joined the Yankees in the 1970’s, the tradition of fans elongating the “o’s” in Lou’s name to “Loooooooooooou” would remind anyone who had seen Skowron play of the “Mooooooooooooooose” call from previous years.

from l-r Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Bill Skowron

Moose would end up playing nine productive years for the Yankees until 1962, when he was traded after the season to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Stan Williams.  Skowron’s Dodgers would end up sweeping the Yankees four games to none in the 1963 World Series.

Skowron was a fan favorite in later years at Yankee old-timer games, even if most of the fans in attendance had never seen him play. They loved his nickname.

The players from the Yankee dynasty teams of the 50’s and 60’s are dwindling. As Moose’s passing reminds us, we too get older, our heroes die and our childhood memories are all that remain.

The New York Mets 50th Anniversary: A Look Back At Casey Stengel

Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?

Casey Stengel photo © Niels Lauritzen

Writer Jimmy Breslin claimed that “Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game,” was Casey Stengel’s lament during Casey’s first year managing the Mets in 1962. Breslin later admitted he made up the quote. But it would have been an apropos summation of the Mets first season. Continue reading