This Day in Baseball History: February 23rd, 1934

He would have been cool to meet.

On February 23, 1934:

Casey Stengel replaces Max Carey as the manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

After a moderately successful playing career, Casey Stengel would become one of the most famous managers ever, but he would need an opportunity, first. His chance came in 1934. Max Carey had been the manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers since 1931.

Stengel took over the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1934, but he wasn’t very successful. In his three seasons as the Dodgers manager, he went a combined 208-251 and never finished higher than fifth. He would be fired, and he didn’t manage the following season. In 1938, the Boston Braves hired him, but they did not improve under Stengel. During his six seasons as Braves manager, the Braves never finished higher than fifth and finished seventh three times. By 1944, he was out of a job again.

Stengel found a job with the minor-league Milwaukee Brewers, and even though Bill Veeck objected, Stengel won an American Association pennant. The New York Yankees noticed and believed that Stengel had improved and would benefit from coaching a team with some actual talent. The Yankees hired Stengel in 1949, and Stengel rewarded them for their faith with 5 straight World Series championships. After a year where they finished second, the Yankees would win four straight AL pennants while winning two more World Series. In 1959, they finished third, but they won yet another AL pennant the year after. He won 7 World Series in 12 seasons in the Bronx.

After retiring for a year (it was forced retirement, but retirement nonetheless), Stengel returned to New York but as a Met. Four years later, the Mets sucked and finished 10th every time.

So, this brings me to a question. Is Bobby Cox done? On one hand, he had a lot of talent when he took over, and he rode it to a lot of success. On the other hand, he only won one World Series, and the recent teams have been sub-par. Were the teams good because of Cox, or was Cox good because of the talent? I won’t get into the actual value of a manager (maybe I will in a later post), but I’m interested in the perception of managers. I’m going to put a poll on the right. Answer as of right now, is Bobby done? Don’t predict and think where the Braves might be in a few months. Ask yourself, “How did I feel about Bobby Cox last October?” When October and September return, I’ll put the poll back up to see if the results changed.

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