“THIS IS THE WAY OLD ‘CASEY’ STENGEL RAN….” The Wall Street Journal had a squib today on the fact that Luke Scott took 35.7 seconds to round the bases on his home run the other night. (Scott strained his hamstring while jogging round the bases and had to walk part of the way). I was reminded of something my father used to recite at the dinner table. Casey Stengel was a favorite of ours as a manager, with people calling out to each other if he was giving an interview, but what my father recited was about an inside-the-park home run that Casey hit in the 1923 World Series. It was by Damon Runyon, who was covering the event as a sports writer. The full text is here. I don’t recall my father reciting anything close to the whole thing, but here is an excerpt from the New York Post which leaves out some of Runyon’s repetitions and therefore some of the poetry: “â€œThis is the way old Casey Stengel ran yesterday afternoon, running his home run home in a Giant victory by a score of 5 to 4 in the first game of the World Series of 1923. This is the way â€” his mouth wide open. His warped old legs bending beneath him at every strike. His arms flying back and forth like those of a man swimming with a crawl stroke. His flanks heaving, his breath whistling, his head far back . . .
â€œThe warped old legs, twisted and bent by many a year of baseball campaigns just barely held out under Casey Stengel until he reached the plate, running his home run home. Then they collapsed.â€ My father would then add two facts. First, Stengel married his wife Edna the next year, and her parents were supposed to have opposed the marriage because they had read Damon Runyon and thought of Stengel as too old for their daughter.
Second, Stengel was 33 years old.