Just in time for the New Year, Mets 101's Seven in Seven series returns as our gift to you. Each week, the Mets 101 staff will begin a countdown of topics related to the New York Mets (i.e. best third baseman, worst defeat, etc.). We will begin our countdowns with the number seven and work all the way to number one. This week's Seven in Seven list takes a look at some of the strangest characters in Mets franchise history, as we take a look at the fourth most offbeat personality in team history, Casey Stengel.
"Can't anybody here play this game?"
One of the most colorful personalities in MLB history, Hall of Famer Casey Stengel was the Mets first manager when they entered the league in 1962. A former player with the New York baseball Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers, Hodges later managed the Yankees and then was tabbed to lead the expansion Metropolitans. A legendary manager with the Yankees, Stengel led the Bombers to ten pennants and seven World Series titles in twelve years but faced a new challenge with the hapless Mets, who managed to scrape together just 175 wins and a .302 winning percentage in Stengel's three-and-a-half seasons at the helm. Already one to produce memorable quotes, the Mets' struggles throughout those early years only fueled Stengel's colorful comments, many of which have taken their place in baseball folklore.
Some of Stengel's best quotes, courtesy of baseball-vault.com
"Been in this game a hundred years, but I see new ways to lose 'em I never knew existed before." – Stengel on the Mets.
"I got one that can throw but can't catch, and one that can catch but can't throw, and one who can hit but can't do either." -Stengel on his catchers
"Mister, that boy couldn't hit the ground if he fell out of an airplane." – Stengel on a recently demoted player.
"We was going to get you a birthday cake, but we figured you'd drop it." – Stengel to Marv Throneberry.
Perhaps the most famous Casey Stengel quote, "Most ball games are lost, not won." ranks near Yogi Berra's "It ain't over til it's over" amongst the game's best one-liners. While the Mets early years were mostly ones to forget, Stengel's personality was just what the club needed and it was recognized by the franchise as he became the first New York Met to have his number retired, when his #37 was raised to the outfield wall at Shea Stadium in 1965. Stengel was never a dull interview and that lands him at number four on our list of offbeat Mets personalities.
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