Senator Kefauver: Mr. Stengel, I am not sure that I made my question clear. (Laughter).
Originally Posted by mordeci
Mr. Stengel: Yes, sir. Well that is all right. I am not sure I am going to answer yours perfectly either. (Laughter)
Hope you all don't mind but what the heck...here's the whole shabang.
Casey Stengel Testimony
July 8, 1958 Senate Anti-Trust and Monopoly Subcommittee Hearing
Casey Stengel, Senator Kefauver, Senator Langer, Senator O'Mahoney, Senator Carroll & Mickey Mantle
Mr. Stengel: Well, I started in professional ball in 1910. I have been in professional ball, I would say, for forty-eight years. I have been employed by numerous ball clubs in the majors and in the minor leagues. I started in the minor leagues with Kansas City. I played as low as class D ball, which was at Shelbyville, Ky., and also class C ball, and class A ball, and I have advanced in baseball as a ballplayer.
I had many years that I was not so successful as a ballplayer, as it is a game of skill. And then I was no doubt discharged by baseball in which I had to go back to the minor leagues as a manager, and after being in the minor leagues as a manager, I became a major league manager in several cities and was discharged, we call it "discharged," because there is no question I had to leave. (Laughter). And I returned to the minor leagues at Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Oakland, Calif., and then returned to the major leagues.
In the last ten years, naturally, in major league baseball with the New York Yankees, the New York Yankees have had tremendous success and while I am not the ballplayer who does the work, I have no doubt worked for a ball club that is very capable in the office. I must have splendid ownership, I must have very capable men who are in radio and television, which is no doubt you know that we have mentioned the three names — you will say they are very great.
We have a wonderful press that follows us. Anybody should in New York City, where you have so many million people. Our ballclub has been successful because we have it, and we have the Spirit of 1776. We put it into the ball field and if you are not capable of becoming a great ballplayer since I have been in as a manager, in ten years, you are notified that if you don't produce on the ball field, the salary that you receive, we will allow you to be traded to play and give your services to other clubs.
The great proof was yesterday. Three of the young men that were stars and picked by the players in the American League to be in the all-star game were Mr. Cerv, who is at Kansas City; Mr. Jensen, who was at Boston, and I might say Mr. Triandos that caught for the Baltimore ball club, all three of those players were my members and to show you I was not such a brillant manager they got away from me and were chosen by the players and I was fortunate enough to have them come back to play where I was successful as a manager.
If I have been in baseball for forty-eight years there must be some good in it. I was capable and strong enough at one time to do any kind of work but I came back to baseball and I have been in baseball ever since. I have been up and down the ladder. I know there are some things in baseball, thirty-five to fifty years ago that are better now than they were in those days. In those days, my goodness, you could not transfer a ball club in the minor leagues, class D, class C ball, class A ball. How could you transfer a ball club when you did not have a highway? How could you transfer a ball club when the railroads then would take you to a town you got off and then you had to wait and sit up five hours to go to another ball club?
How could you run baseball then without night ball? You had to have night ball to improve the proceeds to play larger salaries and I went to work, the first year I received $135 a month. I thought that was amazing. I had to put away enough money to go to dental college. I found out it was not better in dentistry, I stayed in baseball.
Any other questions you would like to ask me? I want to let you know that as to the legislative end of baseball you men will have to consider that what you are here for. I am a bench manager. I will speak about anything from the playing end — in the major or minor leagues — and do anything I can to help you.
Senator Kefauver: Mr. Stengel, are you prepared to answer particularly why baseball wants this bill passed?
Mr. Stengel: Well, I would have to say at the present time, I think that baseball has advanced in this respect for the player help. That is an amazing statement for me to make, because you can retire with an annuity at fifty and what organization in America allows you to retire at fifty and receive money?
I want to further state that I am not a ballplayer, that is, put into that pension fund committee. At my age, and I have been in baseball, well, I say I am possibly the oldest man who is working in baseball. I would say that when they start an annuity for the ballplayers to better their conditions, it should have been done, and I think it has been done. I think it should be the way they have done it, which is a very good thing.
The reason they possibly did not take the managers in at that time was because radio and television or the income to ball clubs was not large enough that you could have put in a pension plan. Now, I am not a member of the pension plan. You have young men here who are, who represent the ball clubs. They represent them as players and since I am not a member and don't receive pension from a fund which you think, my goodness, he ought to be declared in that too but I would say that is a great thing for the ballplayers. That is one thing I will say for the ballplayers they have an advanced pension fund. I should think it was gained by radio and television or you could not have enough money to pay anything of that type.
Now the second thing about baseball that I think is very interesting to the public or to all of us that it is the owner's fault if he does not improve his club, along with the officials in the ball club and the players.
Now what causes that? If I am going to go on the road and we are a travelling ball club and you know the cost of transportation now -- we travel sometimes with three pullman coaches, the New York Yankees and remember I am just a salaried man and do not own stock in the New York Yankees, I found out that in travelling with the New York Yankees on the road and all, that it is the best, and we have broken records in Washington this year, we have broken them in every city but New York and we have lost two clubs that have gone out of the city of New York.
Of course, we have had some bad weather, I would say that they are mad at us in Chicago, we fill the parks. They have come out to see good material. I will say they are mad at us in Kansas City, but we broke their attendance record.
Now on the road we only get possibly 27¢. I am not positive of these figures, as I am not an official. If you go back fifteen years or if I owned stock in the club I would give them to you.
Senator Kefauver: Mr. Stengel, I am not sure that I made my question clear. (Laughter).
Mr. Stengel: Yes, sir. Well that is all right. I am not sure I am going to answer yours perfectly either. (Laughter)
Senator Kefauver: I was asking you, sir, why it is that baseball wants this bill passed.
Mr. Stengel: I would say I would not know, but would say the reason why they would want it passed is to keep baseball going as the highest paid ball sport that has gone into baseball and from the baseball angle, I am not going to speak of any other sport. I am not here to argue about other sports, I am in the baseball business. It has been run cleaner than any business that was ever put out in the one-hundred years at the present time. I am not speaking about television or I am not speaking about income that comes into the ball parks: You have to take that off. I don't know too much about it. I say the ballplayers have a better advancement at the present time.
Senator Kefauver: One further question, and then I will pass the other Senators. How many players do the Yankees control, Mr. Stengel?
Mr. Stengel: Well, I will tell you: I hire the players and if they make good with me I keep them without criticism from my ownership. I do not know how many players they own as I am not a scout and I cannot run a ball club during the daytime and be busy at night and up the next day and find out how many players that the Yankees own. If you get any official with the Yankees that is here, why he could give you the names.
Senator Kefauver: Very well. Senator Langer?
Senator Langer: Mr. Stengel?
Mr. Stengel: Yes, sir.
Senator Langer: What do you think is the future of baseball? Is it going to be expanded to include more clubs than are in existence at the present time?
Mr. Stengel: I think every chamber of commerce in the major league cities would not change a franchise, I think they will be delighted because they have a hard time to put in a convention hall to get people to come to your city and if it is going to be like Milwaukee or Kansas City or Baltimore, I think they would want a major league team, but if I was a chamber of commerce member and I was in a city, I would not want a baseball team to leave the city as too much money is brought into your city even if you have a losing team and great if you have a winning ball team.
Senator Langer: You look forward then, do you not, to say, ten years or twenty years from now this business of baseball is going to grow larger and larger and larger?
Mr. Stengel: Well, I should think it would. I should think it would get larger because of the fact we are drawing tremendous crowds, I believe, from overseas programs in television, that is one program I have always stuck up for. I think every ballplayer and everyone should give out anything that is overseas for the Army, free of cost and so forth. I think every hospital should get it. I think that because of the lack of parking in so many cites that you cannot have a great ballpark if you don't have parking space. If you are ancient or forty-five or fifty and have acquired enough money to go to a ballgame, you cannot drive a car on a highway, which is very hard to do after forty-five, to drive on any modern highway and if you are going to stay home you need radio and television to go along for receipts for the ball club.
Senator Langer: That brings us to another question.
Mr. Stengel: Yes, sir.
Senator Langer: That is, what do you think of pay-as-you-go television?
Mr. Stengel: Well, to tell you the truth, if were starting in it myself I would like to be in that line of business as I did not think they would ever have television and so forth here but they have got it here now. (Laughter). Forty years ago you would not have had it around here yourself and you would not have cameras flying around here every five minutes but we have got them here and more of them around here than around a ball field, I will give you that little tip.
Senator Langer: You believe the time is ever going to come when you will have pay-as-you-go in the world series, which would be kept from the public unless they had pay-as-you-go television in their homes?
Mr. Stengel: I think you have got a good argument there and it is worthy of you to say that. I am not thinking myself of anybody that is hospitalized and anybody who cannot go to a ball park, I should think if they could pass that they should try to pass it, but I don't think they will be able to do it because they have gone in television so far that they reach so many outside people, you have to have a sponsor for everything else you do, go pay television and that is going to run all the big theaters out of business where you have to use pay television. All the big theaters and all the big movie companies went broke. We know that. You see that now or you would not have a place to hold a television for pay. I don't know how they would run that of course. I am not on that side of the fence. I am paid a salary.
Senator Langer: Just one further question. You do not have to answer it unless you want to. That is, is there any provision made whereby the team owners can keep a racketeer out of the baseball business?
Mr. Stengel: Well, sir—
Senator Langer: Can the owners of the New York Yankees, for example, sell out to anyone who may want to buy the club at a big price without the consent of the other owners?
Mr. Stengel: That is a very good thing that I will have to think about but I will give you an example. I think that is why they put in as a commissioner Judge Landis, and he said if there is a cloud on baseball I will take it off, and he took the cloud off and they have had only one scandal or if they had, it is just one major league city.
How can you be a ballplayer and make twenty-five ballplayers framed without being heard? It is bound to leak, and your play will show it. I don't think, an owner possibly could do something but he can't play the game for you. It is the most honest profession I think that we have, everything today that is going on outside.
Senator Langer: Mr. Chairman, my final question. This is the Antimonopoly Committee that is sitting here.
Mr. Stengel: Yes, sir.
Senator Langer: I want to know whether you intend to keep on monopolizing the world's championship in New York City.
Mr. Stengel: Well, I will tell you, I got a little concerned yesterday in the first three innings when I say the three players I had gotten rid of and I said when I lost nine what am I going to do and when I had a couple of my players. I thought so great of that did not do so good up to the sixth inning I was more confused but I finally had to go and call on a young man in Baltimore that we don't own and the Yankees don't own him, and he is going pretty good, and I would actually have to tell you that I think we are more the Greta Garbo type now from success.
We are being hated I mean, from the the ownership and all, we are being hated. Every sport that gets too great or one individual, but if we made 27¢ and it pays to have a winner at home why would you not have a good winner in your own park if you were an owner. That is the result of baseball. An owner gets most of the money at home and it is up to him and his staff to do better or they ought to be discharged.
Senator Langer: That is all, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
Senator Kefauver: Thank you, Senator Langer. Senator O'Mahoney?
Senator O'Mahoney: May I say, Mr. Stengel, that I congratulate you very much for what happened on the field at Baltimore yesterday. I was watching on television when you sent Gil McDougald up to bat for Early Wynn. I noticed with satisfaction that he got a hit, knocking Frank Malzone in with the winning run. That is good management.
Mr. Stengel: Thank you very much. (Laughter).
Senator O'Mahoney: Did I understand you to say, Mr. Stengel, at the beginning of your statement that you have been in baseball for forty-eight years?
Mr. Stengel: Yes, sir; the oldest man in the service.
Senator O'Mahoney: How many major league teams were there in the United States when you entered baseball?
Mr. Stengel: Well, there was in 1910, there were sixteen major league baseball teams.
Senator O'Mahoney: How many are there now?
Mr. Stengel: There are sixteen major league clubs but there was one year that they brought in the Federal League which was brought in by Mr. Ward and Mr. Sinclair and others after a war, and it is a very odd thing to tell you that during tough times it is hard to study baseball. I have been through two or three depressions in baseball and out of it.
The first World War we had good baseball in August. The second World War we kept on and made more money because everybody was around going to the services, the larger the war, the more they come to the ball park, and that was an amazing thing to me. When you were looking for tough times why it changed for different wars.
Senator O'Mahoney: How many minor leagues were there in baseball when you began?
Mr. Stengel: Well, there were not so many at that time because of this fact: Anybody to go into baseball at that time with the educational schools that we had were small, while you were probably thoroughly educated at school, you had to be. We had only small cities that you could put a team in and they would go defunct. Why I remember the first year I was at Kankakee, Ill., and a bank offered me $550 if I would let them have a little notice. I left there and took a uniform because they owed me two weeks' pay. But I either had to quit but I did not have enough money to go to dental college so I had to go with the manager down to Kentucky.
What happened there was if you got by July, that was the big date. You did not play night ball and you did not play Sundays in half of the cities on account of a Sunday observance, so in those days when things were tough, and all of it was, I mean to say, why they just closed up July 4 and there you were sitting there in the depot. You could go to work some place else but that was it. So I got out of Kankakee, Ill., and I just go there for the visit now. (Laughter).
I think now, do you know how many clubs they have? Anybody will start a minor league club but it is just like your small cities, the industries have left them and they have gone west to California, and I am a Missourian — Kansas City, Missouri — but I can see all those towns and everybody moving west and I know if you fly in the air you can see anything from the desert, you can see a big country over there that has got many names. Well, now why wouldn't baseball prosper out there, with that many million people?
Senator O'Mahoney: Are the minor leagues suffering now?
Mr. Stengel: I should say they are.
Senator O'Mahoney: Why?
Mr. Stengel: Do you know why? I will tell you why. I don't think anybody can support minor league ball when they see a great official, it would be just like a great actress or actor had come to town. If Bob Hope had come here or Greta Garbo over there half of them would go see Greta Garbo and half Bob Hope but if you have a very poor baseball team they are not going to watch you until you become great and the minor leagues now with radio and television will not pay very much attention to minor league ballplayers. Softball is interesting, the parent is interested; he goes around with him. He watches his son and he is more enthusiastic about the boy than some stranger that comes to town and wants to play in a little wooden park and with no facilities to make you interested. You might rather stay home and see a program.
Senator O'Mahoney: How many baseball players are now engaged in the activity as compared to when you came in?
Mr. Stengel: I would say there are more, many more. Because we did not have as many cities that could support even minor league baseball in those days.
Senator O'Mahoney: How many players did the sixteen major league clubs have when you came in.
Mr. Stengel: At that time they did not have as many teams. They did not have near as many teams as below. Later on Mr. Rickey came in and started what was known as what you would say numerous clubs, you know in which I will try to pick up this college man, I will pick up that college boy or I will pick up some corner lot boy and if you picked up the corner lot boy maybe he became just as successful as the college man, which is true. He then had a number of players.
Now, too many players is a funny thing, it cost like everything. I said just like I made a talk not long ago and I told them all when they were drinking and they invited me in I said you ought to be home. You men are not making enough money. You cannot drink like that. They said, "This is a holiday for the Shell Oil Company", and I said, "Why is that a holiday?" and they said, "We did something great for three years and we are given two days off to watch the Yankees play the White Sox," but they were mostly White Sox rooters. I said, "You are not doing right." I said, "You can't take all those drinks and all even on your holidays. You ought to be home and raising more children because big league clubs now give you a hundred thousand for a bonus to go into baseball." (Laughter). And by the way I don't happen to have any children but I wish Mrs. Stengel and I had eight, I would like to put them in on that bonus rule. (Laughter).
Senator O'Mahoney: What I am trying to find out, Mr. Stengel, is how many players are actively working for the major league teams now as was formerly the case? How many players do you suppose—
Mr. Stengel: You are right, I would honestly tell you they naturally have more and they are in more competition now. You have to buck now a university — anyone who wants to be a hockey player—
Senator O'Mahoney: Let's stick to baseball for a minute.
Mr. Stengel: I stay in baseball. I say you can't name them. If you want to know get any executive, you have got any names, bring any executive with the Yankees that is an official in the ball club and he will tell you how many players the Yankees have. And there is his jurisdiction — every ball club owner can tell you he is an official, they have enough officials hired with me with a long pencil, too.
Senator O'Mahoney: I recently saw a statement by a baseball sports writer that there were about four-hundred active ball players in the major leagues now. Would you think that is about correct now?
Mr. Stengel: I would say in the major leagues each club has twenty-five men which is the player limit. There are eight clubs in each league so you might say there are four-hundred players in the major leagues, you mean outside of it that they own two or three hundred each individual club, isn't that what you have reference to?
Senator O'Mahoney: I was coming to that, but is that the fact?
Mr. Stengel: Well, I say that is what you would say (laughter) if you want to find that out you get any of those executives that come in here that keep those books. I am not a bookeeper for him. But I take the man when he comes to the big league. They can give it to you and each club should. That does not mean and I would like to ask you, how would you like to pay those men? That is why they go broke.
Senator O'Mahoney: I am not in that business.
Mr. Stengel: I was in that business a short time, too; it is pretty hard to make a living at it.
Senator O'Mahoney: But the stories that we read in the press—
Mr. Stengel: That is right.
Senator O'Mahoney: Are to the effect that the minor leagues are suffering. There are no more major league teams now than there were when you came into baseball, and what I am trying to find out is, what are the prospects for the future growth of baseball and to what extent have the sixteen major league teams, through the farm system, obtained, by contract or agreement or understanding, control over the professional lives of the players?
Mr. Stengel: That is right. If I was a ballplayer and I was discharged, and I saw within three years that I could not become a major league ballplayer I would go into another profession. That is the history of anything that is in business.
Senator O'Mahoney: Do you think that the farm system keeps any players in the minor leagues when they ought to be in the majors?
Mr. Stengel: I should say it would not keep any players behind or I have been telling you a falsehood. I would say it might keep a few back, but very few. There is no manager in baseball who wants to be a success without the ability of those great players and if I could pull them up to make money in a gate for my onwer and for myself to be a success, I don't believe I would hold him back.
Senator O'Mahoney: The fact is, is it not, Mr. Stengel, that while the population of the United States has increased tremendously during the period that you have been engaged in professional baseball, the number of major-league teams has not increased; it remains the same as it was then. The number of players actually engaged by the major-league teams is approximately the same as back in 1903, and there is now, through the farm system, a major league control of the professional occupation of baseball playing. Is that a correct summary?
Mr. Stengel: Well, you have that from the standpoint of what you have been reading. You have got that down very good. (Laughter). But if you were a player—
Senator O'Mahoney: I am trying to get it down from your standpoint as a forty-eight-year-man in baseball.
Mr. Stengel: That is why I stayed in it. I have been discharged fifteen times and rehired; so you get rehired in baseball, and they don't want a good ballplayer leaving, and I always say a high-priced baseball player should get a high salary just like a moving-picture actor. He should not get the same thing as the twenty-fifth man on a ball club who is very fortunate he is sitting on your ball club, and I say it is very hard to have skill in baseball.
Senator O'Mahoney: You are not changing the subject; are you, sir?
Mr. Stengel: No. You asked the question and I told you that if you want to find out how minor league baseball is; it is terrible now. How can you eat on $2.50 a day when up here you can eat on $8 or better than $8. Now how can you travel in a bus all night and play ball the next night to make a living? How can you, a major league man, make it so that you can't? Is he going to fly all of them to each place?
Senator O'Mahoney: I am not arguing with you, Mr. Stengel.
Mr. Stengel: I am just saying minor league ball has outgrown itself, like every small town has outgrown itself industrially because they don't put a plant in there to keep the people working so they leave.
Senator O'Mahoney: Does that mean in your judgment that the major league baseball teams necessarily have to control ball playing?
Mr. Stengel: I think that they do. I don't think that if I was a great player and you released me in four years, I think it would be a joke if you released a man and he made one year for you and then bid for a job and then played the next year, we will say, out of Washington, he played in New York the third year, he would play in Cleveland and put himself up for stake. I think they ought to be just as they have been.
A man who walks in and sees you get fair compensation and if you are great, be sure you get it because the day you don't report and the day you don't open a season you are hurting the major league and hurting yourself somewhat, but you are not going to be handicapped in life if you are great in baseball. Every man who goes out has a better home than he had when he went in.
Senator O'Mahoney: Did I understand you to say that in your own personal activity as manager, you always give a player who is to be traded advance notice?
Mr. Stengel: I warn him that. I hold a meeting. We have an instructional school, regardless of my English, we have got an instructional school.
Senator O'Mahoney: Your English is perfect and I can understand what you say, and I think I can even understand what you mean.
Mr. Stengel: Yes, sir. You have got some very wonderful points in. I would say in an instructional school we try you out for three weeks and we clock you, just like — I mean how good are you going to be in the service; before you go out of the service we have got you listed. We know if you are handicapped in the service and we have got instructors who teach you. They don't have to listen to me if they don't like me.
I have a man like Crosetti, who never has been to a banquet; he never would. He does a big job like Art Fletcher; he teaches that boy and teaches his family: he will be there. I have a man for first base, second base, short; that is why the Yankees are ahead.
We have advanced so much we can take a man over to where he can be a big league player and if he does not, we advance him to where he can play opposition to us. I am getting concerned about opposition. I am discharging too many good ones.
Senator O'Mahoney: Mr. Chairman, I think the witness is the best entertainment we have had around here for a long time and it is a great temptation to keep asking him questions but I think I better desist. Thank you.
Senator Kefauver: Senator Carroll.
Senator Carroll: Mr. Stengel, I am an old Yankee fan and I come from a city where I think we have had some contribution to your success, from Denver. I think you have many Yankee players from Denver. The question Senator Kefauver asked you was what, in your honest opinion, with your forty-eight years of experience, is the need for this legislation in view of the fact that baseball has not been subject to antitrust laws?
Mr. Stengel: No.
Senator Carroll: It is not now subject to antitrust laws. What do you think the need is for this legislation? I had a conference with one of the attorneys representing not only baseball but all of the sports, and I listened to your explanation to Senator Kefauver. It seemed to me it had some clarity. I asked the attorney this question: What was the need for this legislation? I wonder if you would accept his definition. He said they didn't want to be subjected to the ipse dixit of the Federal Government because they would throw a lot of damage suits on the ad damnum clause. He said, in the first place, the Toolson case was sui generis, it was de minimus non curat lex. Do you call that a clear expression?
Mr. Stengel: Well, you are going to get me there for about two hours.
Senator Carroll: I realize these questions which are put to you are all, I suppose, legislative and legal questions. Leaning on your experience as manager, do you feel the farm system, the draft system, the reserve clause system, is fair to the players, to the managers, and to the public interest?
Mr. Stengel: I think the public is taken care of, rich and poor, better at the present time than years ago. I really think that the ownership is a question of ability. I really think that the business manager is a question of ability. Some of these men are supposed to be very brillant in their line of work, and some of them are not so brillant, so that they have quite a bit of trouble with it when you run an operation of a club in which the ownership maybe doesn't run the club. I would say that the players themselves — I told you, I am not in on that fund, it is a good thing. I say I should have been, to tell you the truth. But I think it is a great thing about that fund.
Senator Carroll: I am not talking about that fund.
Mr. Stengel: Well, I tell you if you are going to talk about the fund you are going to think about radio and television and pay television.
Senator Carroll: I do not want to talk about radio and television, but I do want to talk about the draft clause and reserve systems.
Mr. Stengel: Yes, sir. I would have liked to have been free four times in my life; and later on I have seen men free, and later on they make a big complaint "they wuz robbed," and if you are robbed there is some club down the road to give you the opportunity.
Senator Carroll: That was not the question I asked you, and I only asked you on your long experience—
Mr. Stengel: Yes, sir. I would not be in it forty-eight years if it was not all right.
Senator Carroll: I understand that.
Mr. Stengel: Well, then, why wouldn't it stay that?
Senator Carroll: In your long experience—
Mr. Stengel: Yes.
Senator Carroll: Do you feel, you have had experience through the years—
Mr. Stengel: That is true.
Senator Carroll: With the draft system, and the reserve clause in the contracts. Do you think you could still exist under existing law without changing the law?
Mr. Stengel: I think it is run better than it has ever been run in baseball, for every department.
Senator Carroll: Then, I come back to the principal question. This is the real question before this body.
Mr. Stengel: All right.
Senator Carroll: Then what is the need for legislation, if they are getting along all right?
Mr. Stengel: I didn't ask for the legislation. (Laughter).
Senator Carroll: Your answer is a very good one, and that is the question Senator Kefauver put to you.
Mr. Stengel: That is right.
Senator Carroll: That is the question Senator O'Mahoney put.
Mr. Stengel: Right.
Senator Carroll: Are you ready to say there is no need for legislation in this field, then, insofar as baseball is concerned?
Mr. Stengel: As far as I'm concerned, from drawing a salary and from my ups and downs and being discharged, I always found out that there was somebody ready to employ you, if you were on the ball.
Senator Carroll: Thank you very much, Mr. Stengel.
Senator Kefauver: Thank you very much, Mr. Stengel. We appreciate your testimony.
Senator Langer: May I ask a question?
Senator Kefauver: Senator Langer has a question. Just a moment, Mr. Stengel.
Senator Langer: Can you tell this committee what countries have baseball teams besides the United States, Mexico and Japan?
Mr. Stengel: I made a tour with the New York Yankees several years ago, and it was the most amazing tour I ever saw for a ball club, to go over where you have trouble spots. It wouldn't make any difference whether he was a Republican or Democrat, and so forth. I know that over there we drew 250,000 to 500,000 people in the streets, in which they stood in front of the automobiles, not on the sidewalks, and those people are trying to play baseball over there with short fingers (Laughter), and I say, "Why do you do it?"
But they love it. They are crazy about baseball, and they are not worried at the handicap. And I'll tell you, business industries run baseball over there, and they are now going to build a stadium that is going to be covered over for games where you don't need a tarpaulin if it rains.
South America is all right, and Cuba is all right. But I don't know, I have never been down there except to Cuba, I have never been to South America, and I know that they broadcast games, and I know we have players that are playing from there.
I tell you what, I think baseball has spread, but if we are talking about anything spreading, we would be talking about soccer. You can go over in Italy, and I thought they would know DiMaggio every place. And my goodness, you mention soccer, you can draw fifty or a hundred thousand people. Over here you have a hard time to get soccer on the field, which is a great sport, no doubt.
Senator Langer: What I want to know, Mr. Stengel, is this: When the American League plays the National League in the world series and it is advertised as the world championship—
Mr. Stengel: Yes, sir.
Senator Langer: I want to know why you do not play Mexico or Japan or some other country and really have a world championship.
Mr. Stengel: Well, I think you have a good argument there. I would say that a couple of clubs that I saw, it was like when I was in the Navy, I thought I couldn't get special unless they played who I wanted to play. So I took over a team. When they got off a ship I would play them, but if they had been on land too long, my team couldn't play them. So I would play the teams at sea six months, and I would say, "You are the club I would like to play." I would like to play those countries, and I think it should be nationwide and governmentwide, too, if you could possibly get it in.
Senator Langer: Do you think the day is ever going to come, perhaps five years from now or ten—
Mr. Stengel: I would say ten years, not five.
Senator Langer: When the championship team of the United States would play the championship team of Mexico?
Mr. Stengel: I really think it should be that way, but I don't think you will get it before ten years, because you have to build stadiums and you have to have an elimination in every country for it, and you have to have weather at the same time, or how could you play unless you would hold your team over?
Senator Langer: Do you not think these owners are going to develop this matter of world championship of another country besides the United States?
Mr. Stengel: I should think they would do that in time. I really do. I was amazed over in Japan. I couldn't understand why they would want to play baseball with short fingers and used the same size ball, and not a small size, and compete in baseball. And yet that is their great sport, and industries are backing them.
Senator Langer: In other words, the owners some day, in your opinion, Mr. Stengel, are going to make a lot of money by having the champions of one country play another country and keep on with eliminations until they really have a world championship?
Mr. Stengel: That is what I say. I think it is not named properly right now unless you can go and play all of them. You would have to do that.
Senator Langer: That is all, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Kefauver: Mr. Stengel, one final question. You spoke of Judge Landis and the fact that he had rather absolute control over baseball. There was a clause in Judge Landis' contract which read:
We, the club owners pledge ourselves to loyally support the commissioner in his important and difficult task, and we assure him that each of us will acquiesce in his decisions even when we believe they are mistaken, and that we will not discredit the sport by criticism of him or one another.
This same clause was in Mr. Chandler's contract, but we do not understand it to be in Mr. Frick's contract. Do you think the commissioner needs to have this power over management?
Mr. Stengel: I would say when there was a cloud over baseball, like any sport, you have to have a man that has the power to change things. Now, when Landis was in, that was the situation with baseball. You were bucking racetracks. We don't have a tote board. We are playing baseball for admission fees. Now, we don't have a tote board in baseball. Who would? That would be great, if you have that out there, and you could go out there and, you know, use a tote board and say, "Does he get to first or won't he get to first?" and so forth.
Now Landis was an amazing man. I will give you an example of him. It is a good thing you brought him in. I was discharged one year, and I was the president of a ball club at Worcester, Mass., so I discharged myself, and I sent it in to Landis and he O.K.'d it.
Why was I president? Then I could release my player, couldn't I? And I was the player. So I was the only player ever released by the president, and that was in Worcester, Massachusetts, so I got discharged.
Senator Kefauver: Do you think the present commissioner ought to have the same power?
Mr. Stengel: There are sixteen men in baseball who own ball clubs. We will say that an individual can hardly make it any more unless he is wealthy. That is how it has grown. I would say the biggest thing in baseball at the present time now, and with the money that is coming in, and so forth, and with the annuity fund for the players, you can't allow the commissioner to just take everything sitting there, and take everything insofar as money is concerned, but I think he should have full jurisdiction over the player and player's habits, and the way the umpires and ball clubs should conduct their business in the daytime and right on up tight up here.
Senator Kefauver: Thank you very much, Mr. Stengel. We appreciate your presence here.
Senator Kefauver: Mr. Mantle, do you have any observations with reference to the applicability of the antitrust laws to baseball?
Mr. Mantle: My views are about the same as Casey's (laughter).
Casey Stengel Testimony : July 8, 1958 Senate Anti-Trust and Monopoly Subcommittee Hearing