“Casey Stengel and the Sparrow”; as told by teammate Carmen HillOn February 10, 2020 by Raul Dinwiddie
Well, this is the true story. This is the one that really happened. Casey was having trouble with Dreyfuss, that was the owner, over salary. And Dreyfuss had promised him that if he was hitting over .300, the first of June, that he’d get a raise. Well first of June come and Casey’s hitting about .320 at that time And he contacted Dreyfuss and asked him about the raise and Dreyfuss said, well, let’s talk about it later. Casey says let’s talk about it now. and they had quite an argument, and Casey come out, come down to the bench… and I’m sitting at the far corner. Casey came and he sat down along side of me. and…uh…I saw he was upset. And uh… just about that time a little young sparrow that was just learning to fly, just flew right in and flew right into my hands here. and…uh…Casey looked and he said, “Give it to me, give it to me.” I said, “What are you going to do?” He said, “Give it to me.” So I hand him the sparrow. (laughing) You’re gonna die. He uh, when it come his turn at the plate, he puts his bat on his shoulder; he’s got the little bird under his cap, see… and he walked up there whistling Yankee Doodle. And he stood there at the plate, he’s a left hand hitter, and he stood there and kept whistling Yankee Doodle and took three strikes. Never got the bat off his shoulder. And he turned around and boy the people up in the stands they just booed, and they stood up and Casey turned around and looked up in the stands… …took his cap off and the little bird flew right up into the stands. And he turned around and walked back to the bench still with the bat on his shoulder. Never…never took the bat off his shoulder. Just kept whistling Yankee Doodle… he never… (laughing) Now that is the actual truth in that there has been all kinds of stories about that but that is the true story.