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Casey's corner

Stengel made baseball fun

Quotes on Casey

Stengel by the numbers

Wednesday, November 19, 2003
The Language of Casey Stengel

Casey Stengel had a way with words. The trouble was with the way he combined them. Stengelese became the term used to describe his vocabulary and implausible double-talk. Red Smith once likened it to "picking up quicksilver with boxing gloves." Here are some examples (with translation provided). Stengel will be profiled tonight on ESPN Classic's SportsCentury series at 8 and midnight ET.

Stengelese Translation
butcher boy a chopped ground ball
doubleheaded doubleheader
enbalmed sleeping
fairly amazin' good
green pea rookie or unseasoned player
he could squeeze your earbrows off a tough player
hold the gun I want to change pitchers
Ned in the third reader naivete
plumber a good fielder
road apple a bum
whiskey slick a playboy
worm killers low balls
the Youth of America rookies

Quotable Casey

  • "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."

  • "Don't drink in the hotel bar, because that's where I do my drinking."--a Stengel road trip rule

  • "Can't anybody here play this game?"-- Stengel first posed this question about the original Mets

    Mickey Mantle
    Casey Stengel and Mickey Mantle celebrate Mantle's Triple Crown in 1956.

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

  • "Good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice-versa."

  • "He has it in his body to be great."--on a young Mickey Mantle

  • "He threw the ball as far from the bat and as close to the plate as possible."--on Satchel Paige

  • "He's a great hitter until I play him."--on Met Jerry Lumpe

  • "He's a remarkable catch, that Canzoneri. He's the only catcher in baseball who can't catch."

  • "I can make a living telling the truth."

  • "I don't know if he throws a spitball, but he sure spits on the ball."

  • "If anyone wants me, tell them I'm being embalmed."

  • "I'm glad I had baseball knuckles and couldn't become a dentist."--referring to his brief career as a dental student

  • "Most ballgames are lost, not won."

  • "Sure I smoke but not all the time. I stop when I go to bed and you can look it up."

  • "The combined results of all our catchers turned out fairly good and then bad."

  • "The young fella has effeminate appeal, just like me."--after meeting Robert Goulet

  • "Then I'd have two languages I couldn't speak, French and English both."--when asked why he never visited Montreal

  • "You commence gettin' tired 2 days later from staying up all night which it wasn't cause you're going West and you can't even get a sandwich in the whole town."--on arriving in Los Angeles after a long trip

  • "You fellers should do real good here now that I've added my fellers to your fellers. And the one who should help you most is a feller I shouldn't have given you. He's old but he still glues his meat together after he gets hurt."--describing Enos Slaughter

  • "You can say, here is the opportunity and the Youth of America says, 'How much are you going to pay me?' It's like going to the university--they want the biggest, the best, the most. If necessary, we'll pay the bonuses. But they should earn it."

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