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April 4, 2014

Overthinking It

Is Dexter Fowler Tough Enough to Play for Your Team?

by Ben Lindbergh


During an exhibition game against Brooklyn in the spring of 1942, then-Boston Braves manager Casey Stengel said something that seems, in retrospect, spectacularly wrong. A 20-year-old Warren Spahn started for Stengel against the Dodgers, whom the Braves believed had been stealing their signs all spring. Stengel, hoping to take the sign-stealers by surprise, switched the signs so that the old signal for a fastball would now indicate a curve. With Pee-Wee Reese up and a runner on second supposedly staring in for the sign, Stengel told Spahn to brush Reese back with his fastball when the batter would be expecting something slower.

As a 44-year-old Spahn recounted in 1965, when both he and Stengel were with the Mets in what would be their final season:

I threw three straight inside fastballs to Reese. He leaned back and took them for balls, and Casey came storming out to the mound. He lifted me because I hadn’t decked Reese then stopped me in the dugout and told me to pick up my railroad ticket to Hartford.

The next day I was back in the minor leagues with Casey’s words ‘Young man, you’ve got no guts’ ringing in my ears.

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<< Previous Article
The Prospectus Hit Lis... (04/04)
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