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Stengel Gets Birthday Wish

July 30, 1963 - It was a wonderful birthday celebration for Casey Stengel tonight. The Mets won. Earlier in the day, when friends from the baseball and business worlds gathered in the little house in Glendale, Calif., to wish Stengel a happy birthday, the 73-year-old skipper said he had only one wish. “One year with the Yankees,” he said, “I won 104 games and lost the pennant. This time, my wish is more modest. I want to win just one game.” With Tracy Stallard pitching a four-hitter, the Mets obliged their skipper with a 5-1 defeat of the Dodgers before a crowd of 24,525 in Los Angeles. It was a welcome sight for the old man, and his victory-starved squad suddenly looked for all the world like real winners. Starting from the outset with a two-run first inning, the Mets snapped their major league record road losing streak at 22 games. They also ended an over-all losing streak at 11. The Mets made few mistakes and seemed to try a bit harder for that little extra. A couple of new faces — Al Moran at shortstop and Duke Carmel at first — contributed to the new look. But the whole cast weighed in with a 14-hit attack on 3 pitchers, including a homer by Frank Thomas. Not one Met made an error. Jack Benny, four years Stengel’s junior, looked on from Dodger owner Walter O’Malley’s box as the Mets polished off the league leaders. At one point, the comedian turned to O’Malley and remarked: “Wouldn’t it be funny if we were really playing the Yankees and didn’t know it?” The Dodgers presented Stengel with a birthday cake at home plate before the game. In accepting it, Casey said, “I know the Dodgers must love seeing us come to town. That’s why I got the cake, I guess.” But that was before the game.


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