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The Ol’ Perfesser Talks Outfield Defense

May 13, 1963 - Somehow or other, Casey Stengel (pictured right with coach Cookie Lavagetto) today got around to talking about the best defensive outfield in baseball. According to Casey, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Tom Tresh of his old club, the New York Yankees, beat anything baseball has to offer for running after a fly ball, catching it, and throwing it. “Everybody knows Mantle is great,” said Stengel, “but people don’t seem to realize how great Maris is at running into right center for those balls. And this kid in left [Tresh], he covers a great deal of ground, and he plays left field better than anybody they’ve had for years over there.” “The Giants got two men that’s good,” Casey continued, “Mays and that Spanish fellow in right field.” Felipe Alou? “That’s him. That’s his name. In the other place, they can platoon McCovey and Kuenn, and that’s all right if you got a team like I have, but I’m talking about three men you can play regular.” Somebody asked him about the Tigers’ trio of Colavito, Bruton, and Kaline. “They’re good too,” said Stengel. “Colavito’s got a good arm, but sometimes you don’t know where it’s going, and that Kaline is great if they keep him in right. He’s as good as any man I’ve ever seen in that position, with his acting, which is amazin’. He makes you think he’s gonna catch the ball and you can’t go from first to third; and on balls hitting the fence, you think he’s gonna catch it, so the man on first can’t move till it’s too late. Yes sir, he’s a wonderful actor because when you try to guess with him on whether he’s gonna catch the ball, you guess wrong half the time.”


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