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A LEADER APPEARS
It was inevitable that, in this highly charged atmosphere, a leader should appear. One did. He was a plumber's apprentice by trade, a young man in his late 20s. One night he shinnied up a lighting standard outside the Yankees' Fifth Avenue office and left dangling at the end of a rope a straw-stuffed effigy labeled " George Weiss." The crowd roared its approval and to the chant, "Bring back Stengel," they added, "Down with George Weiss!" The hero of the hanging episode gave his name to reporters as Fidel Brannigan of The Bronx.
Brannigan soon displayed rare talents as a rabble-rouser. He consolidated all the street-corner groups and marched them into Central Park to the Mall. On the Mall, Fidel Brannigan made a wild and almost hysterical speech to the mob and revealed his strategy for reviving the Yankees: he himself would fly to Glen-dale, California and try to persuade Casey Stengel to return as manager. The frenzied crowd roared its approval, and at once hats were quickly passed around to raise the price of a round-trip jet flight for Brannigan.
Next morning, accompanied by sportswriters from all the New York newspapers as well as the principal wire services, Brannigan landed at Los Angeles and was driven immediately to the Glendale National Bank. The receptionist, advised of Brannigan's mission, led the party to an office door marked, " C. Dillon Stengel. Walk In."
As soon as the TV cameramen signaled their readiness, Brannigan seized the knob and flung open the door.
Stengel was phoning. He looked up, recognized some of his former writers and waved a greeting. Then, putting his hand over the mouthpiece, he said, "Excuse me, gentlemen. I'm on the wire here with Wall Street, New York." When he had finished talking, Stengel smiled at his visitors. He looked years younger. His face had filled out, erasing the lines and wrinkles that Brannigan and the writers remembered so well.
"What can I do for you, gentlemen?" asked Stengel.
The sportswriters pushed Fidel Brannigan forward. Face to face with his hero, all the bravado vanished from the leader. His eyes filled with tears and he threw out his hands in supplication as he cried:
"Come back, Casey! Come back to us! They've ruined your ball club! It's a mockery! They don't know what they're doing! You could still save them, Casey! You'd know what to do with this fella and that fella and the other fella!"
Stengel stood up. "I am afraid," he said, "that I do not understand. When you say 'this fella, that fella, the other fella,' to whom, exactly, do you refer?"