Jesse Jarnow


If there was ever any doubt that baseball is an oral culture, peep this letter written by legendary manger Casey Stengel to sportswriter Ira Berkow in the ’70s, when Casey was in his 80s. Quoted in Robert Creamer’s superb Stengel, it was a bit of a shock to me to realize that Casey — a raconteurish encyclopedia cataloguing a lifetime of players, plays and stories — was barely literate.

Dear Ira: Your conversation’s; and the fact you were the working writer were inthused with the Ideas was great but frankly do not care for the great amount of work for myself. Sorry but am not interested. Have to many proposition’s otherwise for the coming season. Fact cannot disclose my Future affair’s. Good luck. Casey Stengel, N.Y. Mets & Hall of Famer.

Man, my spell-check loves Casey. Didn’t write in the passive voice, though!


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