With Stengel as manager, the team finished in seventh place all three years, with a 190-267 record.
Stengel was best known as the wisecracking manager of the New York Mets in the 1960s and as the canny leader of the New York Yankees, a powerhouse during the 1950s. But before that, he played 14 seasons in the National League, hitting a solid .284 and playing excellent defense.
Casey Stengel, Owner-Manager
When his major league playing career ended, he turned to managing. He also invested some of his earnings in Texas oil fields, which he parlayed into a part ownership of the Boston Braves in 1938. That first year, he managed the team that year to a fifth place finish with a 77-75 record – the only winning record he’d have as a Braves manager.
It was downhill from there, one losing season after another. Just before the 1943 season, a taxicab hit Stengel as he crossed a street in Boston. The accident fractured his left leg. During his six weeks in the hospital he developed a staph infection and forever after walked with a limp.
A sportswriter said the cabdriver was the person who had done the most for Boston baseball.
Finally on Jan. 27, 1944, Stengel resigned. He described what happened in his inimitable Stengelese:
I became a major league manager in several cities and was discharged. We call it discharged because there is no question I had to leave.
Stengel went on to manage the Yankees, then the Mets. Pitching great Warren Spahn, who played for Stengel in 1942 and – at 44 – for the 1965 Mets, had his own take on Stengel:
I’m probably the only guy who worked for Stengel before and after he was a genius.
Stengel finally retired in 1965. He had broken his hip after falling off a bar stool.
This story last updated in 2022.