The third act of Casey Stengel's long, colorful life began and ended on September 29. Fifty-one years ago today, less than a year after the Yankees unceremoniously severed ties with Stengel for having the temerity to lose a World Series, New York's brand-new National League team made him their first-ever manager. Casey would serve in that capacity for until midway through the 1965 season, when a bum hip forced him to step down. In return for his service, the Mets named Stengel the vice-president in charge of West Coast scouting, a job he could easily carry out from the comfort of his Glendale, California estate.
Casey would spend the rest of his days lounging poolside at said estate, venturing back to New York to accept the occasional honor, be it from the Mets, Yankees, or the Baseball Hall of Fame. On September 29, 1975, the Old Perfessor adjourned class for good, passing away from lymphatic cancer at the age of 85. In reporting Stengel's passing, the New York Times got no less an authority than the governor of New York, Hugh Carey, to eulogize the man. Speaking for baseball fans of all persuasions, the governor intoned, "He was a joy in more ways than anyone in public life. We shall not see his like again."
Heath Bell (2004-06) turns 35 today. If there were any Marlins fans, they'd tell you that Bell treats saves opportunities like they're birthday candles. In that he blows them by the dozen.
Game of Note
Think the Mets have attendance problems this year? On September 29, 1980, a mere 1,787 fans showed up at Shea to watch the team take on the Pirates. That number was almost certainly whittled down to triple digits over the course of the game, as it turned into a extra inning, see saw affair. Those who stayed until the end went home happy, though, as Joel Youngblood won it for the Mets with a two-out, two-run walk-off homer in the tenth. Final score: Mets 5, Pirates 4.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
In honor of International Coffee Day, here's to the four non-pitchers whose entire cup o' joe MLB careers consist of a single game played with New York Mets: Frank Estrada, Joe Hietpas, Dave Liddell, and Kevin Morgan.