Goose/The Finger

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jan 22 01:33:51 UTC 2002

At 8:53 AM -0500 1/22/02, James A. Landau wrote:
>In a message dated 1/22/02 8:17:53 AM Eastern Standard Time, douglas at NB.NET
>>  later  (late 19th or early 20th C.) the "bird" was a raspberry or Bronx
>cheer, and
>>  finally (ca. 1966) the word was applied to a middle-finger 'salute'.
>Does anyone know if the following anecdote be true:  Casey Stengel, when he
>was an active baseball player rather than a manager, once while playing in
>Brooklyn took his cap off and a bird flew out.  This made Stengel the first
>man ever to give the bird back to Brooklyn.
>I read this story in a long-ago newspaper article about Stengel, probably
>while Stengel was manager of the Mets.  Considering that Stengel was in his
>70's while with the Mets, his playing days must have been the around the
Casey played (as an outfielder in the National League) from 1912 to
1925 for the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the
Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Giants, and the Boston Braves.
He was known as a good fielder and adequate hitter, but did hit the
first two World Series home runs in Yankee Stadium.  The
bird-out-of-the-cap story was already often told in the 1950's when
The Ol' Perfesser was the genius who managed the Yankees (as opposed
to the 1930's when he was an incompetent manager for the Dodgers and
Braves, and the 1960's when he was a buffoon for the Mets) and I
assume it's true.  Never seen it debunked, anyway.  Here's one
recounting, courtesy
He sat on the bench for Pittsburgh in 1918 and 1919. It was during
1919 that one of Stengel's most famous antics took place. During the
course of a rough Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn against his old
teammates, Stengel had received a small bird from one of the Dodger
pitchers in the bullpen and when he came up to bat, Stengel tipped
his hat to the jeering crowd; out flew the bird, to the delight of
the fans.
History doesn't record the species of the bird.


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