“The Gospel According to Casey: Casey Stengel’s Imitable, Instructional, Historical Baseball Book” by Ira Berkow and Jim Kaplan
Baseball, humor, instruction, Yankees, Mets
March 28, 2015
4 of 5 stars (very good)
Casey Stengel is one of those men who was successful in every job he had in baseball, whether playing, coaching or managing. He became legendary with his success as the manager of the New York Yankees and just as legendary for some memorable and funny quotes while managing the New York Mets in their early years. This book captures not only those quotes, but also tells of his vast knowledge of the game and some of his strategies.
Some of these ideas born from Stengel’s sharp mind are common in the game now. One of these is platooning players depending on the opposing pitcher. If the opposing team started a left-handed pitcher, Stengel may change one or more of the players in the starting line-up. The change would be putting a right-handed batter in a position where normally a left-handed batter would play. This is not uncommon in today’s game for a manager to do this, but it wasn’t back when Stengel was managing the Yankees. He took this strategy and made it into part of his regular work. He also was one of the early pioneers of selecting certain relief pitchers to finish games. This eventually led to the role of closers in the modern game.
The chapters of the book are broken up into specific topics – one just for memorable quotes and stories, one on pitching, one on hitting and so forth. These come from other sources such as former players who played under Stengel, other coaches and managers or sports writers. I felt this format was very good as it was easy to read and hearing all of these stories from so many sources illustrated just how revered and respected the man by all involved in the game. This is a solid book that anyone who enjoys baseball will enjoy reading.
I wish to thank Summer Game Books for providing a review copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Pace of the book:
Because the book is a series of short stories or quotes from Stengel or his players, teammates or colleagues, this book is a quick read. It can also be stopped and started again at any point
Do I recommend?
Readers who immediately think of Yogi Berra when it comes to a baseball legend who had some memorable quotes should read this book to discover another quotable baseball legend. Stengel’s thoughts on the strategies of the game make it a good book for hardcore fans as well.