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On this day in Yankees history – Casey Stengel’s number is retired

On Old Timers Day 1970, the Yankees honored former skipper Casey Stengel by retiring his number 37 from service. He was the only man bestowed with the honor without playing a single game in pinstripes until Joe Torre’s number 6 was hung up in 2014. His number was retired by the Mets five years prior, making him the first person in Major League Baseball history to have his number retired by more than one team based solely on managerial accomplishments.

At the time, the only Yankee numbers retired were: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle. He was presented with a uniform by his old players, and he told fans, “I’ve got one now. I’ll die in it.”

“The Old Perfessor” caught the attention of the Yankee higher ups when he managed the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League to a championship in 1948. Come 1949, he was in the Bronx and there he would stay until 1960. During his 12 years at the helm, the Bombers won 10 AL Pennants and seven World Series titles. Five of those championships came consecutively from 1949-1953, a feat which has never been matched.

In total, Stengel’s Yankees went 1,149-696, a .623 winning percentage that is second only to Joe McCarthy’s .627. No Yankee manager has won more AL pennants, and his World Series titles are tied with McCarthy for most in franchise history. His teams blended veteran talent like Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, and Tommy Henrich with young stars like Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and Yogi Berra. His platoon system made it possible for a variety of players to contribute, from former NL superstars Johnny Mize and Enos Slaughter to key players Hank Bauer, Gene Woodling, and Billy Martin.

He moved across town in 1962 to become the very first manager of the newly formed Mets. By joining the Mets, he became the only man to wear the uniform for all four New York ball clubs: Dodgers as a player and manager, Giants as a player, and Yankees and Mets as manager. In addition, he is the only person to have played or managed for the home team in five New York City Major League venues: Washington Park, Ebbets Field, Polo Grounds, Shea Stadium, and Yankee Stadium.

Stengel was immortalized in Cooperstown in 1966, and was named to MLB’s All-Time Team in 1997.