Baseball’s greatest manager through his early struggles and big break


 
   

Forging Genius

The Making of Casey Stengel

 
316 pages; 6" x 9" ; 14 B&W photos

PAPERBACK
$16.95   $13.56
Available: February 2007
978-1-57488-874-4


Description:

When Casey Stengel was named the manager of the Yankees in 1949, baseball wags were stunned. What had Stengel ever done? His work managing the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves had been long on personality and remarkably short on success. They thought the Yankees would never be able to compete with the Red Sox or Indians with that broken-down old man in charge. At the All-Star break, the Yankees looked like a banged-up bunch of also-rans, not like a team about to embark on five straight championships. Yet Stengel seemed confident of success. As Steven Goldman explains, people had forgotten that Casey knew how to come back.

How did he know? Goldman refutes claims that anyone could have won with the Yankees. Casey knew how to win because of the years of struggle and ignominy, because he’d learned how to manage by running two of the game’s worst sad-sack franchises, because he had learned through failure. To understand Stengel’s formative years, Goldman retraces Stengel’s baseball education in playing for the great John McGraw, from whom he also learned that success permits no room for nostalgia. Goldman follows Stengel through his years with the Dodgers and Braves, his return to the minors, a spat with Bill Veeck, and his success as a businessman away from the diamond.

Forging Genius gives insights to Stengel’s irrepressible love of the game and his incorrigible desire to entertain. As Casey put it, “Because I can make people laugh, some of them think I’m a damn fool.” His humor camouflaged a relentless hunger for success, glory, and the respectability he desperately sought. Goldman gives readers an unprecedented vision of one man’s lifelong pursuit of genius on the baseball diamond.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)

Steven Goldman writes the column “The Pinstriped Bible,” a regular Web column for the New York Yankees focused on their history, and also contributes to Yankees Magazine and www.mlb.com. He lives in East Brunswick, New Jersey.

Reviews/Endorsements:

"Even the most fanatic Yankees fans will find themselves exclaiming, ‘Wow! I didn’t know that!’ Forging Genius is a delightful and wonderfully written look at a man who bequeathed more than we know to the game we love."
Suzyn Waldman, New York Yankees radio broadcaster

"Baseball talent doesn’t just appear, it evolves. After all these years, fans can finally learn where Casey Stengel came from--and perhaps where the next Stengel could come from, too."
Alan Schwarz, author of The Numbers Game

"Goldman pulls off a difficult trick: Forging Genius is both densely researched and informative, yet a thoroughly engaging read too. He proves that there was much more to Stengel than a gift for shtick and blessed timing."
Alex Belth, Bronx Banter website

"Meticulously shows how managing atrocious teams prepared him for greatness."
Publishers Weekly

"Forging Genius isn't so much a biography as a study in how three-quarters of a century of baseball wisdom came to be encapsulated in one of the game's classic eccentrics. . . . [It] is that rarest of baseball books: respectful toward tradition and irreverent to perceived wisdom. Mr. Goldman has looked down a well-traveled road and taken it to a new destination. The greatest of American sportswriters, Red Smith, once wrote that it was necessary to reintroduce Stengel to readers 'at least once a decade.' Mr. Goldman's book ought to do that for at least a century."
Allen Barra in the New York Sun

"Best book about a baseball manager this year."
Salon.com