New York Yankees Top 10’s: The Yankees Top managers, is your favorite here? (videos)

New York Yankees, Joe Torre

In their illustrious 119-year history, the New York Yankees, since they were the Baltimore Orioles, have had some of the most impactful players, some of the greatest games played, and some outstanding managers.  In my Top 10 columns, I have covered almost everything Yankees except for the Yankee managers.  Today we delve into the subject of who was the best Yankee manager of all time.  I have considered tenure, winning percentage, how many World Championships they recorded, and their ability to develop players in my biased selection.

The Yankees have had 35 managers over the years, some for a long duration, and some that didn’t even manage a season.  Some managed more than once in different years.  Billy Martin managed five times. In one year, he was fired and hired back again by owner George M. Steinbrenner.  Dick Houser managed for two stints, but only one game in one season.  The worst ever Yankee manager was Kid Elberfeld in 1908; he won only 27 games as Yankee manager.  The Yankees have only had a losing percentage in 13 seasons, the best record in baseball. But one must remember a manager is only as good as the players that play for him.

10. Bucky Harris 1947-1948

Bucky Harris only managed the Yankees for two years.  But in his two years, he brought the Yankees to four playoff wins and a World Championship with his .620 winning percentage during his tenure.  Only six other managers had a better winning percentage.

9. Joe Girardi 2008-2017

Joe Girardi was an average hitter but an excellent game caller as a catcher for the New York Yankees. He caught Dwight Gooden’s no-hitter and David Cone’s perfect game. In 2006 he took over the management of the lowly Florida Marlins and brought them to heights they had never experienced.  He was named MLB manager of the year. In 2008 he took over managing the Yankees; his hard-nosed style brought the Yankees to their last World Championship in his second year of management.  Girardi had a kind heart but was a demanding manager.  He lost his job because many of the new baby bombers couldn’t adjust to his management style.  But that style gave him a winning percentage of .562 with 28 playoff wins.  That’s the most playoff wins than 32 other Yankee managers.

8. Aaron Boone 2018-present

Aaron Boone has not won a World Series in his three years of New York Yankee management, but he places number 8 on this list for winning the most wins in his first two-year tutelage than any other manager that has managed for only two years.  He also had 103 wins in 2019 while having more injured players than any other Yankee baseball season.  He also has had the youngest players to mentor.  As the years’ pass, Boone may still rise above his number 8 placement.

7. Billy Martin (various)

Billy Martin is undoubtedly the most controversial Yankee manager being hired and fired five times by Yankee Owner George Steinbrenner.  He also oversaw the “Bronx Zoo,” a great upheaval period in the clubhouse that has spawned books on the rivalries and fights.  Billy was known as “Casey’s Boy,” a favored player by manager Casey Stengel.  Martin managed five different teams before his death in 1989.  He last managed for the Yankees in 1978.  Many fans liked his confrontational type of management, particularly his penchant for arguing with umpires. Martin won only one World Championship for the Yankees but had a .590 winning percentage.

6. Bob Lemon 1978-1979

Bob Lemon replaced Billy Martin in his final exit as Yankee manager.  Lemon’s quiet demeanor was in sharp contrast to Martin’s management style and restored some sense of order to the team and clubhouse.  In 1978 he won his only World Series Ring.  Although only managing for a year and a half, his .617 winning percentage coincidently places him number six all-time for the Yankees and sixth on this list.

5. Ralph Houk 1961-1963

Ralph Houk is another two-year manager in Yankee history.  Houk has the distinction of having the best winning percentage of any Yankee manager. In his two years, he had a .637 winning percentage.   He is also fourth on the list of World Championship managers to two to his credit.    In his two-plus years, he also won the AL pennant three times.  He was quick-tempered, but at the same time, he was known for being a “player’s manager.” He was just as quick to protect his players and was ejected 45 times for doing so.  Houk also managed from 1966-1973 far less successfully.

4. Miller Huggins 1918-1929

Miller Huggins is tied with Joe Torre for each having an eleven-year tenure as Yankee Manager.  Although with the 162 game season, Torre has 150 more games. Huggins had a .594 winning percentage and won 3 World Series for the Yankees.  Much of what is remembered about Huggins is that he had the “Murder’s Row” teams of the ’20s.  Huggins did not initially want the job because the Yankees were a lousy team but eventually was convinced to take the job.  He was all about the fundamentals of baseball and made immediate personnel changes. His all-business approach took the Yankees to their first two World Series.

3. Joe McCarthy 1931-1946

Joe McCarthy has the distinction of being the longest-tenured Yankee manager, managing the team for sixteen years.  He is tied for the most World Series wins (7) with Casey Stengel to his credit.  He is lower on this list due to making the accomplishment in 500 more games.  His winning percentage of .627 is tied with Aaron Boone.  His most successful years were between 1936 to 1943, while he racked up seven pennants in eight years.  His detractors say he was only valid because he had fantastic players like pitchers Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing. He also had Bill Dickey, Frank Crosetti, Joe DiMaggio, and Charlie Keller on his roster. He is one of the few baseball managers that never played in the Major Leagues. Joe McCarthy was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1957.

2. Joe Torre 1996-2007

Joe Torre is my pick for the second-best New York Yankee manager ever.  He had four World Series wins in his eleven-year managership.  That’s one more than Miller Huggins and with an impressive 76 playoff wins, to Huggins eighteen.  Torre is one of the winningest managers in the postseason than any manager in baseball.  Torre had a .605 winning percentage for 8th on the all-time list. Torre had a calming effect on the team as he was reticent and seldom criticized players unless it was in private.  Torres won four Championships in five years, in a time that was called the last Yankee Dynasty.  The now 80-year-old Torre would go on to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.  He served as MLB executive for baseball operations. He is now a special assistant to the baseball commissioner.

1. Casey Stengel

Casey Stengel is my pick for the best-ever New York Yankee manager.  The seven-time World Champion has the third-highest winning percentage in Yankee history. He accomplished his seven wins in 500 fewer games than the tying Joe McCarthy.  He also won the second-most playoff wins, second only to Joe Torre.

The glory days of Casey’s management would begin along with the future dynasty of the Yankees. Stengel tried to keep a low profile during the 1949 Yankee spring training. Still, there was considerable media attention as Stengel shuttled rookies from one position on the field to another and endlessly shuffled his lineup. He had the advantage of diminished expectations, like DiMaggio, the Yankee superstar, was injured few picked New York to win the pennant. Gaining media attention and not wanting the media to know what he was doing, he started his “Stangleaze,” the ability to talk to the media, answer questions and leave the media wondering what he actually said.

In the 1949 World Series, Stengel’s first as a participant since 1923, the Yankees faced the Brooklyn Dodgers; The Yankees would win the series in five games. In 1949 he was Manager of the Year, and his low-key days were over. In the years to follow, the Yankees would win the Series in 1950-51-52-53, a five-time consecutive World Series streak that would not be repeated ever in baseball. After not winning in 54 or 55, the Yankees would again win in 1956. In 1958 the World Series was again against the Dodgers, who won the first two games at Ebbets Field. Stengel lectured the team before Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, and the team responded with a victory then and in Game 4.

For Game 5, Stengel pitched Don Larsen, who had been knocked out of Game 2, and who responded with a perfect game, the only one in major league postseason history. The Yankees took the series in seven games, their seventh World Series win under Stengel, making him the most World Series winner.  Stengel was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.

Casey Stengel is one of the few managers in all of baseball to testify before Congress.  During baseball anti-trust hearings, Stengel used his “Stengeleaze” to filibuster famous anti-mob Senator Estes Kefauver.  His testimony frustrated and confused the Senate, much to the Senate gallery’s delight that often laughed during the proceedings.  I have chosen the interview below as an example of “Stangeleaze.”

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

New York Yankees: Opening Week throughout Yankee history

New York Yankees, Babe Ruth

The New York Yankees have an illustrious 119-year history, starting as the Baltimore Orioles.  The Yankees have one of the most successful franchises in all sports. They have 40 American League championships and 27 World Series to their name. Not a day goes by that something important happens; here is a look at this week in Yankee history. I picked this week as it normally was Opening Week, with lots of news:

1913 – In an exhibition game at Ebbets Field, The Yankees lost to the Brooklyn Dodgers 3-2. Player Casey Stengel hit an inside-the-park home run, the first home run ever at Ebbets Field.

1925 – Babe Ruth suffers a collapse at an Ashville, North Carolina train station. The supposed cause was a hot dog and soda binge. He required surgery and missed seven weeks of play.

1934 – Babe Ruth makes more money doing a weekly show for the Quaker Oats company than his weekly Yankee salary.

1973 – Ron Blomberg becomes the first designated hitter. The Yankees become the last team in baseball to do away with fannel uniforms in favor of polyester.

1974 – The Yankees start the renovation of Yankee Stadium and play for the next two years at Shea Stadium until the renovations are complete.

1976 – The Milwaukee team lost to the Yankees 9-7 in a heartbreaking loss for the mid-west team. Don Money blasted a homer into the stands, but Yankee manager raced to the field to claim that a time out had been called. The umpires finally admitted that time had indeed been called, causing the Brewers to lose the game.

1982 – A blizzard caused the postponement of Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. Over a foot of snow blanketed the Stadium with sub-freezing temperatures. The Northeaster storm also caused the postponement of the start of the season for 6 other teams.

1989 – It’s Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, and Tommy John took to the mound for his 26th season, tieing a record. We beat the Twins 4-2. It was John’s 287th win.

1994 – The New York Yankees have their largest ever attendance at Yankee Stadium. 56,706 attended Opening Day.

2003 – On Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, it was 35 degrees at game time. Newly acquired, Hideki Matsui got his first hit at the Stadium, a massive Grand Slam into the right-field bleachers. There were as many Japanese reporters at the Stadium as American ones.

2004 – New York Yankees manager Joe Torre agree to a 3-year contract extension. Torre won four World Series titles, all before this extension. Joe Girardi took over for Torre in 2008.

2009 – The New Yankee Stadium opens one block north of the old Stadium that “Ruth built” in the Bronx borough of New York City. The new stadium, the second-largest in MLB was funded with $1.6 billion of taxpayer money and $1 billion of private investment. The old Stadium was razed and is now a public park called Heritage Field.

2010 – Forbes Magazine reported that the Yankee franchise was worth approximately $1.6 billion, more than twice any other team. This was one year after the New Yankee Stadium opened on April 2, 2009.

2014 – Yangervis Solarte, Yankees’ third baseman, became the first player in MLB history to hit 6 doubles in his career’s first seven games.

2015 – The New York Yankees play the longest game in franchise history. The date was April 10, 2015, in a game the Yankees lost to the rival Boston Red Sox after 17 innings that took six hours and 49 minutes. It was called by many, the game that never ended.

Many of the facts for this article come from Nationalpastime.com. EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

New York Yankees: Top 10 Yankee Managers, who was the best?

New York Yankees, Joe Torre

The New York Yankees in their illustrious 119-year history since they were the Baltimore Orioles have had some of the most impactful players, some of the greatest games played and some outstanding managers.  In my Top 10 columns, I have covered most everything Yankees with the exception of the Yankee managers.  Today we delve into the subject of who was the best Yankee manager of all time.  In my biased selection, I have considered tenure, winning percentage, how many World Championships they recorded, and their ability to develop players.

The Yankees have had 35 managers over the years, some for a long duration, and some that didn’t even manage a season.  Some managed more than once in different years.  Billy Martin managed five times. In one year, he was fired and hired back again by owner George M. Steinbrenner.  Dick Houser managed for two stints, but only one game in one season.  The worst ever Yankee manager was Kid Elberfeld in 1908; he won only 27 games as Yankee manager.  The Yankees have only had a losing percentage in 13 seasons, the best record in baseball.

10. Bucky Harris 1947-1948

Bucky Harris only managed the Yankees for two years.  But in his two years, he brought the Yankees to four playoff wins and a World Championship with his .620 winning percentage during his tenure.  Only six other managers had a better winning percentage.

9. Joe Girardi 2008-2017

Joe Girardi was an average hitter but an excellent game caller as a catcher for the New York Yankees. He caught Dwight Gooden’s no-hitter and David Cone’s perfect game. In 2006 he took over the management of the lowly Florida Marlins and brought them to heights they had never experienced.  He as named MLB manager of the year. In 2008 he took over managing the Yankees, his hard-nosed style brought the Yankees to their last World Championship in his second year of management.  Girardi had a kind heart but was a demanding manager.  He lost his job because many of the new baby bombers couldn’t adjust to his style of management.  But that style gave him a winning percentage of .562 with 28 playoff wins.  That’s the most playoff wins than 32 other Yankee managers.

8. Aaron Boone 2018-present

Aaron Boone has not won a World Series in his two years of New York Yankee management, but he places number 8 on this list for winning the most wins in his two-year tutelage than any other manager that has managed for only two years.  He also had 103 wins in 2019 while having more injured players than any other Yankee baseball season.  He also has had the youngest players to mentor.  As the year’s pass, Boone may still rise above his number 8 placement.

7. Billy Martin (various)

Billy Martin is undoubtedly the most controversial Yankee manager being hired and fired five times by Yankee Owner George Steinbrenner.  He also oversaw the “Bronx Zoo,” a period of great upheaval in the clubhouse that has spawned books on the rivalries and fights.  Billy was known as “Casey’s Boy,” a favored player by manager Casey Stengel.  Martin managed five different teams before his death in 1979.  He last managed for the Yankees in 1978.  Many fans liked his confrontational type of management, particularly his penchant for arguing with umpires. Martin won only one World Championship for the Yankees but had a .590 winning percentage.

6. Bob Lemon 1978-1979

Bob Lemon replaced Billy Martin in his final exit as Yankee manager.  Lemon’s quiet demeanor was in sharp contrast to Martin’s management style and restored some sense of order to the team and clubhouse.  In 1978 he won his only World Series Ring.  Although only managing for a year and a half his .617 winning percentage coincidently places him number six all-time for the Yankees and sixth on this list.

5. Ralph Houk 1961-1963

Ralph Houk is another two-year manager in Yankee history.  Houk has the distinction of having the best winning percentage of any Yankee manager. In his two years, he had a .637 winning percentage.   He is also fourth on the list of World Championship managers to two to his credit.    In his two-plus years, he also won the AL pennant three times.  He was quick-tempered, but at the same time, he was known for being a “player’s manager.” He was just as quick to protect his players and was ejected 45 times for doing so.  Houk also managed from 1966-1973 far less successfully.

4. Miller Huggins 1918-1929

Miller Huggins is tied with Joe Torre for each having an eleven-year tenure as Yankee Manager.  Although with the 162 game season, Torre has 150 more games. Huggins had a .594 winning percentage and won 3 World Series for the Yankees.  Much of what is remembered about Huggins is that he had the “Murder’s Row” teams of the ’20s.  Huggins did not initially want the job because the Yankees were a lousy team but eventually was convinced to take the job.  He was all about the fundamentals of baseball and made immediate personnel changes. His all-business approach took the Yankees to their first two World Series.

3. Joe McCarthy 1931-1946

Joe McCarthy has the distinction of being the longest-tenured Yankee manager, managing the team for sixteen years.  To his credit, he is tied for the most World Series wins (7) with Casey Stengel.  He is lower on this list due to making the accomplishment in 500 more games.  His winning percentage .627 is tied with Aaron Boone.  His most successful years were between 1936 to 1943 while he racked up seven pennants in eight years.  Because of that, his detractors say he was only valid because he had fantastic players like pitchers Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing. He also had Bill Dickey, Frank Crosetti, Joe DiMaggio and Charlie Keller on his roster. He is one of the few baseball managers that never played in the Major Leagues. Joe McCarthy was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1957.

2. Joe Torre 1996-2007

Joe Torre is my pick for the second-best New York Yankee manager ever.  He had four World Series win in his eleven-year managership.  That’s one more than Miller Huggins and with an impressive 76 playoff wins, to Huggins eighteen.  Torre is one of the winningest managers in the postseason than any manager in baseball.  Torre had a .605 winning percentage for 8th on the all-time list. Torre had a very calming effect on the team as he was very quiet and seldom criticized players unless it was in private.  Torres won four Championships in five years, in a time that was called the last Yankee Dynasty.  The now 79-year-old Torre would go on to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.  He served as MLB executive for baseball operations. He is now special assistant to the baseball commissioner.

1. Casey Stengel

Casey Stengel is my pick for the best-ever New York Yankee manager.  The seven-time World Champion has the third-highest winning percentage in Yankee history. He accomplished his seven-wins in 500 fewer games than the tying Joe McCarthy.  He also won the second-most playoff wins second only to Joe Torre.

The glory days of Casey’s management would begin along with the future dynasty of the Yankees. Stengel tried to keep a low profile during the 1949 Yankee spring training. Still, there was considerable media attention as Stengel shuttled rookies from one position on the field to another and endlessly shuffled his lineup. He had the advantage of diminished expectations, like DiMaggio, the Yankee superstar, was injured few picked New York to win the pennant. Gaining media attention and not wanting the media to know what he was doing, he started his “Stangleaze”, the ability to talk to the media, answer questions and leave the media wondering what he actually said.

In the 1949 World Series, Stengel’s first as a participant since 1923, the Yankees faced the Brooklyn Dodgers; The Yankees would win the series in five games. In 1949 he was Manager of the Year, and his low key days were over. In the years to follow, the Yankees would win the Series in 1950-51-52-53, a five-time consecutive World Series streak that would not be repeated ever in baseball. After not winning in 54 or 55, the Yankees would again win in 1956. In 1958 the World Series was again against the Dodgers, who won the first two games at Ebbets Field. Stengel lectured the team before Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, and the team responded with a victory then and in Game 4.

For Game 5, Stengel pitched Don Larsen, who had been knocked out of Game 2, and who responded with a perfect game, the only one in major league postseason history. The Yankees took the series in seven games, their seventh World Series win under Stengel, making him the all-time winner of the most World Series.  Stengel was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.

Casey Stengel is one of the few managers in all of baseball to testify before Congress.  During baseball anti-trust hearings, Stengel used his “Stengeleaze” to filibuster famous anti-mob Senator Estes Kefauver.  His testimony frustrated and confused the Senate, much to the delight of the Senate gallery that often laughed during the proceedings.  I have chosen the interview below as an example of “Stangeleaze.”

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.

New York Yankees History: Casey Stengel, the greatest Yankee Manager?

For the New York Yankees, the question of who was the greatest manager of all time is a fun question with so many great managers.  You have Miller Huggins, Joe McCarthy, Billy Martin, and Joe Torres, an addition to a list that includes Casey Stengel.

Charles Dillion Stengel was born in 1890 in Kansas City, Missouri. Stengel would grow up to be a mediocre baseball player but excel as the winning-est Yankee Manager of all time. Charlie Stengel played sandlot baseball as a child, and also played football and basketball at Kansas City’s Central High School. While there his baseball team won the state championship

During his teen years, he played for several semi-pro baseball teams even though he was underage. During that time, he was paid a dollar a day. When he was offered a contract by the Kansas City Blues, his father had to sign the contract. Even at a young age, Sengel was cantankerous and stubborn, his Father said the young “Charlie” wanted to play ball and there was no way I was going to change his mind.

He reported to spring training for the Blues, but failed to make the team and took a job with a lower Kankakee Kays team. He finished the 1910 season batting .237. During the off-seasons of 1910-11, not being sure he would make it as a baseball player, he attended dental school. He didn’t do well at that either as he was left-handed, and dental equipment of the time was only right-handed. Stangel would later say, “want to thank my parents for letting me play baseball, and I’m thankful I had baseball knuckles and couldn’t become a dentist”.

After hitting .357 with the Aurora Blues, Stengel would be purchased by the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1912 an older player would take Stengel under his tutelage and get him a locker next to his. This association would lead to him learning to play the outfield.

Throughout Stengel’s career, he would fight with his bosses over pay. When the Dodgers opened their new stadium, Ebbets Field, Stengel would hit the first home run in the new stadium. Stengel continued to play well, finishing the season with a .316 batting average, though hitting .351 when right-handers started against Brooklyn and only .250 when left-handers started. After holding out for better pay, Stengel signed with the Dodgers for 1913. He won the starting center fielder job. In 1913, he hit an inside the park home run against the Yankees.

It was in 1913 that Charlie would become “Casey” as teammates noticed he had K.C. stenciled on his bags. All of this time, Stengel continued to fight about his pay. As the Dodgers looked to cut payroll, they wanted to reduce Casey’s as well. He eventually signed a contract, but shortly afterword was traded to the Pirates. During those years until 1925, Stengel would play for the Pirates, the Phillies, the Giants, and the Braves. Stengel started 1925 on the active roster of the Braves, but when the Braves owner purchased the Worcester Panthers, he made Casey the player-manager of the team.

This began a coaching career that would take Casey to Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame to which he was named in 1966. In 1932 he would take the job of managing the Brooklyn Dodgers. From 1938 to 1943, he headed the Braves. Being relatively unsuccessful in both jobs, he returned to manage in the minors. He was more successful there and was named manager of the year in 1948.

That year was also the year he met up with Billy Martin, a shortstop that the Case was very found off. As early as 1940, Casey was always mentioned as a possible manager for the Yankees, but he never got the job. After winning a minor league championship on the west coast, Yankee scouts on the West Coast recommended Stengel. Casey became manager of the Yankees in the offseason in 1948, and he brought his shortstop Billy Martin with him.

The glory days of Casey’s management would begin along with the future dynasty of the New York Yankees. Stengel tried to keep a low profile during the 1949 Yankee spring training. Still, there was considerable media attention as Stengel shuttled rookies from one position on the field to another and endlessly shuffled his lineup. He had the advantage of diminished expectations, as DiMaggio, the Yankee superstar, was injured with a bone spur in his heel, and few picked New York to win the pennant. Gaining media attention and not wanting the media to know what he was doing, he started his “Stangleaze,” the ability to talk to the media, answer questions and leave the media wondering what he said.

In the 1949 World Series, Stengel’s first as a participant since 1923, the Yankees faced the Brooklyn Dodgers; The Yankees would win the series in five games. In 1949 he was Manager of the Year, and his low key days were over. In the years to follow, the New York Yankees would win the Series in 1950-51-52-53, a five-time World Series win that would not be repeated ever in baseball. After not winning in 54 or 55, the Yankees would again win in 1956. In 1958 the World Series was again against the Dodgers, who won the first two games at Ebbets Field. Stengel lectured the team before Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, and the team responded with a victory then and in Game 4. For Game 5, Stengel pitched Don Larsen, who had been knocked out of Game 2, and who responded with a perfect game, the only one in major league postseason history. The Yankees took the series in seven games, their seventh World Series win under Stengel, making him the all-time winner of the most World Series to this day in New York Yankee history.

The Yankees finished 79–75 in 1959, in third place, their worst record since 1925, as the White Sox, managed by Lopez, won the pennant. There was considerable criticism of Stengel, who was viewed as too old and out of touch with the players. The Yankee improved in 1960 but lost the World Series to the Pirates. Soon after, Stengel was advised that his contract would not be renewed, Stengel requested that the termination is announced at a press conference; it was granted, and on October 18, 1960, Topping and Stengel appeared before the microphones.

After Yankee executive Topping evaded questions from the press about whether Stengel had been fired, Stengel took the microphone, and when asked if he had been fired, he stated, “Quit, fired, whatever you please, I don’t care.” Topping said that Stengel was being terminated because of his age, 70, and alleged that this would have happened even had the Yankees won the World Series. Thus ended the Yankee career of Casey Stengel.

Casey would continue to manage as he was hired by the crosstown New York Mets. In his four years with the Mets, they would go 175-404. Stengel was invited to an Old-Timers’ Game. Sometime during that evening, Stengel fell and broke his hip. The circumstances of his fall are not known with certainty, as he did not realize he had been severely injured until the following day. Stengel spent his 75th birthday in the hospital. Recognizing that considerable rehabilitation would be required, he retired as manager of the Mets on August 30, replaced by Wes Westrum, one of his coaches. The Mets would again finish in the last place.

Suffering from mild Alzheimer’s, in the last year of his life, Stengel cut back on his travel schedule and was too ill to attend the Yankees’ Old-Timers Day game in August 1975. That same year it was announced that “Casey’s boy” Billy Martin would be the new team manager.  For Stengel, diagnosis of cancer of the lymph glands had been made, and Stengel realized he was dying. In mid-September, he was admitted to Glendale Memorial Hospital, but the tumor was inoperable. He died there on September 29, 1975. Upon his death, Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times wrote: “God is certainly getting an earful tonight.”

Casey Stengel once said that running a baseball team was easy: “The secret of success as a manager is to keep the five guys who hate you away from the five guys who are undecided.”

Many New York Yankees fans remember Joe Torre’s dynasty of the late ’90s and 2000s and deem him the best Yankee Manager.  This writer feels that title should go to Casey, and his most ever World Series wins speaks for itself.

Yankees Legends: “The Chairman of the Board,” Whitey Ford

historic photograph of three baseball players

“The Chairman of the Board”

A 10-time New York Yankee All-Star, a Cy Young Award Winner, an eight-time MVP nominee, a lifetime record of 236-106, and a career ERA of 2.75, it could be only one person, Edward Charles “Whitey Ford.” Ford spent his entire career of 16 years with the New York Yankees. During his 18 years with the Yankees, he spent two years in the Army serving in the Korean War. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1974. With the death of Yogi Berra, Ford has been named the greatest living baseball player by the New York Times.

Ford was a local boy, born in Queens just a few miles from the Bronx. As a child, Ford played baseball and stickball in the summer in the sandlots of the Queens, football in the fall, and roller hockey in the winter. During the summers, Ford and his friends played sandlot baseball until dark on fields next to the Madison Square Garden Bowl, about a mile from his home neighborhood.  When not playing there, he and his friend would play stickball against a wall using a broomstick.

Several neighborhood fathers got together and bought uniforms for their sons.  They organized a team for the 13-year-olds, called the Thirty-fourth Avenue Boys.  The group stayed together for five years. Ford’s childhood baseball hero was Joe DiMaggio, who he got to see when he and his Father boarded the Subway for the trip to Yankee Stadium.

In Ford’s senior years of highschool In April 1946, he attended a Yankees tryout camp at Yankee Stadium as a first baseman. Paul Krichell, a Yankees scout, noticed Ford’s strong-arm during fielding practice. It was thought he was too small to play first base but had him throw a few pitches on the sidelines and showed him how to throw a curveball. He alternated every other game by pitching and playing at first base, in the summer after he graduated by playing with the Thirty-fourth Avenue Boys. The team went 36-0 to win the Queens-Nassau semipro league, with Ford winning 18 games without a loss when pitching.

Whitey was signed by the Yankees in 1947 as an amateur free agent and was assigned to the minor leagues. It was during this time that he got his nickname “Whitey” for his nearly albino blond hair, He made his major league debut on July 1, 1950, and let it be known that he was a force to be reckoned with. He won his first nine games in a row. He was named AL Rookie of the Year by sporting news. One thing most of today’s fans are not aware of is that his record would probably be even better, had Casey Stengel not saved him for the bigger games.

In 1951 Whitey would marry is wife, Joan. After the wedding, the Fords delayed their Florida honeymoon for three days so that Whitey could throw out the first pitch at the Yankees’ 1951 Opening Day in Yankee Stadium. They lived on Long Island and raised two sons and a daughter. After his first very successful first year with the Yankees, he served the next two years during the Korean War in the Army.

When returning to the Yankees in 1953, he showed he hadn’t lost any of his skills, going 18-6 on the year and pushed the Yankees to their fifth World Series win in a row. In 1954 the Yankees were loaded with great players and fully expected to win their sixth straight pennant and World Series. They won 103 games, more than in the past five seasons. But lost to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS, who would lose the World Series to the Giants.

In 1955 Ford would go 18-7, but the Yankees would not win the World Series again. In 1956 Ford would pitch even better going 19-6. Ford was 27 years old at the beginning of the 1956 season and started off winning his first six starts while giving up only five runs. He had a minuscule 0.83 earned run average. He would have had 20 wins, but when the Yankees clinched, he decided to forgo his start and save it for the World Series. The Yankee defeated the defending Brooklyn Dodgers in the Series.

The Yankees would again win the World Series in 1958 against the 1957 Champion Milwaukee Braves. In 1961 Whitey was to have his best season ever. He went 25-4 with a 3.21 ERA. He again would be an All-Star and would win his Cy Young Award. In early September, the Yankees held  “Whitey Ford Day” before a game against Cleveland, in appreciation of his outstandinng season and perhaps to make up for being overshaded by the home run race of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.

The club showered him with gifts, including a six-foot package of Life Savers that was wheeled in from the bullpen. When it arrived on the mound, out popped the other top Yankee Luis Arroyo. Ford took the joke all in good humor. The Yankees would go on to win the World Series in five games against the Cincinnati Reds, their 19th World Series win.

Ford had three nicknames; Whitey was one of them due to his light blonde hair.  He was also called “Slick” by manager Casey Stengel.  But the nickname that has always stuck is “The Chairman of the Board.”  He got that moniker due to Stengel saving him for big games, and his ability to withstand high-pressure situations was an easy calm while remaining in complete control of a situation.

Ford would go on to have four more winning seasons, including another World Series win in 1962. the last success for the next 15 years. During his career, he had 13 seasons with eleven wins or more. His second best was the 24-7 season in 1963. He will go down in history as one of the greatest Yankee pitchers of all time. At age 91, we hope again to see the “Chairman” at this year’s Old Timer’s Day Game at Yankee Stadium.