Saturday, May 28, 2005

 

May 28th, 2002

Wes Westrum Dies


The answer to a trivia question, Wes Westrum was the Mets' second manager, he took over for Casey Stengel in the midst of the 1965 and managed to the end of the 1967, when he was replaced for the last eleven games by Salty Parker. Excluding that blip however, Westrum is the historical link from Casey Stengel, the lovable manager of the hopelessly inept "Amazins" to Gil Hodges, manager of the Miracle Mets.

Interestingly, while Stengel was most famously known as a Yankee, and Hodges as a Dodger, Westrum spent had spent his entire playing career with the third New York team, the Giants. Westrum was the Giants' regular catcher for many years, including 1952, when they lost the World Series to the Yankees after Bobby Thomson's pennant winning home run and 1954 when Willie Mays made "the catch" and the Giants swept the 111-win Indians. Westrum was a competent hitter for a catcher for many years, posting an OPS better than league average every year from 1949 through '52. Westrum played for the Giants through 1957, and became a coach in 1958.

During his coaching days, Westrum achieved a first-and-only, the only coach traded for another coach, when he was exchanged with the Mets' Cookie Lavagetto. Westrum then took over in 1965 when Stengel broke his hip. As I mentioned earlier, Westrum lasted until 1967 when he resigned with 11 games remaining.

Westrum would manage the Giants in 1974 and '75, leaving after the latter season when his former team succeeded in convincing Bill Rigney to come out of retirement and manage the team. Following his firing from the Giants, Westrum served as a Braves scout until 1992 when he retired, and died after a decade in retirement.





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