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Casey Stengel Promotes His New Book in St. Pete

Feb. 17, 1962 - Casey Stengel made his public debut as an author today. The 71-year-old manager of the New York Mets autographed copies of his book, “Casey at the Bat,” at the Maas Brothers department store in St. Petersburg, Fla. Despite only two hours’ sleep this morning after an uncomfortable plane trip from California, Stengel was alternately folksy, magisterial and heckle-proof as hundreds of residents and tourists shuffled up for signatures, handshakes and 30-second chats. Stengel, whose new National League team begins spring training Monday, arrived at 10:30 a.m. He briskly walked to a small platform, slung a waiting microphone around his neck and silenced the applause of 40 early arrivals with a wave of his arms. “This here book,” he announced, “is a sort of easy book. Tells about my life and about some of my Yankee ballplayers. I try to discriminate who are my best players.” The crowd was larger at the afternoon signing session, and Stengel more lively. “Got a lot of friends here,” he said. “Got more letters from St. Pete than from any other town I was ever born in.” As the day progressed, however, he admitted that the literary life was not for him. “I tell the truth too much and that’s bad for book-writing,” he said. “But I’m glad you’re buying my books. I sure like to see so many elderly people with money.”

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