Casey Stengel’s testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly, 1958

Senator Estes Kefauver: Mr. Stengel, will you give us very briefly your background and your views about this legislation?
Stengel: Well, I started in professional ball in 1910. I have been in professional ball, I would say, for 48 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. In the last 10 years, naturally, 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 have been up and down the ladder. I know there are some things in baseball, 35 to 50 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 pay 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?
Kefauver: Mr. Stengel, are you prepared to answer particularly why baseball wants this bill passed?
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 50 and what organization in America allows you to retire at 50 and receive money?
Kefauver: Mr. Stengel, I am not sure that I made my question clear.
Stengel: Yes, sir. Well that is all right. I am not sure I am going to answer yours perfectly either.
Kefauver: I was asking you, sir, why it is that baseball wants this bill passed.
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.
Senator Joseph C. 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?
Stengel: I warn him that. I hold a meeting. We have an instructional school, regardless of my English, we have got an instructional school.
O’Mahoney: Your English is perfect and I can understand what you say, and I think I can even understand what you mean.
Stengel: Yes, sir. You have got some very wonderful points in.
O’Mahoney: Mr. Chairman, I think the witness is the best entertainment we have had around here for a long time.
Senator John A. Carroll: The question Senator Kefauver asked you was what, in your honest opinion, with your 48 years of experience, is the need for this legislation in view of the fact that baseball has not been subject to antitrust laws?
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 . It seemed to me it had some clarity. I asked the attorney: 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?
Stengel: Well, you are going to get me for about two hours.
Kefauver: Thank you very much, Mr. Stengel. We appreciate your testimony. Mr. Mickey Mantle, will you come around? Mr. Mantle, do you have any observations with reference to the applicability of the antitrust laws to baseball?
Mantle: My views are about the same as Casey’s.