Walter Alston & Casey Stengel Successful Today? Not Likely, Says Pitcher Larry Miller


Back in 2001, former pitcher Larry Miller still threw strikes.

Verbal strikes, that is.

Miller didn’t sugar-coat his opinions when asked about hurling for two
Hall of Fame managers in a three-year career. Furthermore, Miller slung
a high, hard one at the 1960s Mets organization.

“I never got to know either Alston or Stengel as people,” Miller began. “As managers, they had similar skills as far as making proper strategic moves during a game. Neither spent much effort trying to connect with the players. My belief is that neither would be very successful managing today’s players who require and demand special considerations.”

When coach Wes Westrum took over the Mets following Stengel’s retirement, Miller felt that the new manager was doomed.

“Westrum took over a team still brimming with expansion players. The core of the ’69 Mets (Seaver, Ryan, Koosman, McGraw, etc.) were just coming into the organization as minor leaguers. The best manager in baseball at that time would have had difficulty improving the Mets record.

“The old saying ‘You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken s – – – ‘ applies here.”

Walter Alston & Casey Stengel Successful Today? Not Likely, Says Pitcher Larry Miller


Back in 2001, former pitcher Larry Miller still threw strikes.

Verbal strikes, that is.

Miller didn’t sugar-coat his opinions when asked about hurling for two
Hall of Fame managers in a three-year career. Furthermore, Miller slung
a high, hard one at the 1960s Mets organization.

“I never got to know either Alston or Stengel as people,” Miller began. “As managers, they had similar skills as far as making proper strategic moves during a game. Neither spent much effort trying to connect with the players. My belief is that neither would be very successful managing today’s players who require and demand special considerations.”

When coach Wes Westrum took over the Mets following Stengel’s retirement, Miller felt that the new manager was doomed.

“Westrum took over a team still brimming with expansion players. The core of the ’69 Mets (Seaver, Ryan, Koosman, McGraw, etc.) were just coming into the organization as minor leaguers. The best manager in baseball at that time would have had difficulty improving the Mets record.

“The old saying ‘You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken s – – – ‘ applies here.”

Fred Kipp: An Overlooked Dodger


No wonder Fred Kipp is a member of the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame.

Signed in 1953, the left-hander won 15 games and a Tri-State ERA title his first year as a pro. Kipp missed most of 1954-55 in the Army, only to distinguish himself with a team-leading 20 wins for the 1956 Montreal Royals. His teammates included Sparky Anderson and Dick Williams, who watched Kipp snatch league Rookie of the Year honors.

After a one-game debut with the 1957 Brooklyn Dodgers, Kipp joined the team in Los Angeles. His season in the sun came in 1958, going 6-6 in 40 appearances.

Kipp had mixed feelings about the team’s Los Angeles home, the made-for-football Coliseum.

How did he feel in the “ballpark” with a left field screen just 250 feet away begging for home runs?

“I didn’t get to pitch a lot (there), due to being left-handed,” Kipp wrote. Still, his assessment of manager Walter Alston took only two words:

“Good man.”

Ironically, Kipp relished swinging the bat in Los Angeles and elsewhere. His 9-for-36 offense wasn’t typical for any pitcher.

“The first time up in the Coliseum,” Kipp remembered, “I hit one off the screen in short left-center.”

After a partial season with the 1959 Dodgers, Kipp’s big-league days ended with an abbreviated stay with the 1960 Yankees. Without the interruption for military service, without being buried in the talent-deep Dodgers farm system, the Kansas lefty’s fortunes may have been far different.

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