The NBA finals a bit dizzying; and so is Stengel's linguistic legacy; BASEBALL; Stengel on stage

Casey Stengel, whose life has recently been recaptured theatrically Off Broadway and on TV, was the most quotable, and probably the most entertaining, manager baseball has ever had.

In "The Book of Sports Quotes," Casey has more entries than even Muhammad Ali. A sample: "The secret of managing a club is keeping the five guys who hate you away from the five guys who haven't made up their minds."

One of the problems of portraying Ol' Case on stage, actor Paul Dooley told the New York Times, is in re-creating his breathless delivery, which "never seemed to stop for commas or periods."

People often laughed at his Stengelese, but Casey was always in control of himself and the star-studded Yankees of the 1950s and early '60s.

Though an accumulation of talent does not necessarily translate into winning baseball, Stengel led the Yankees to 10 pennants and seven world championships in a dozen years.

What few people realize is that Casey spent more time managing in the National League (13 years) than he did in the American. He got his managerial start with Brooklyn in 1934 and in 1938 moved over to the Boston Braves, where he remained until becoming the Yankee pilot in 1949. Eventually he returned to his old stamping grounds in 1962 as manager of the expansion New York Mets. Oddly, none of his NL teams ever finished higher than fifth, a fact that some think leaves his managing skill open to question.

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