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About Me: What can I say? I was a right-handed pitcher known for my career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, whom I played for from 1931 to 1941. At the end of my baseball career, I also played for our arch-rivals, the New York Giants.
I averaged 16 wins per season from 1932 through 1936 and led the National League in strikeouts with 238 in 1936. I was named to the All-Star team in 1934, 1936, and 1937. But that all happened before I injured my arm in the 1937 All-Star Game. I won only 13 major league games over the next six seasons before serving in WWII. But I'm proud to say that after my military service I closed out my career in 1945 by going 14-7 with a 3.20 ERA for the Giants.
I compiled a 120-115 won-lost record (including 123 complete games and 20 shutouts) over 2,113 innings pitched, with a 3.47 lifetime ERA.
My favorite manager? Hands down, Casey Stengel, who once said when asked about managing me as a player, "(Van Lingle) Mungo and I get along fine. I just tell him I won't stand for no nonsense, and then I duck." As he said, Casey and I got on just fine.
Stories and anecdotes about me tend to emphasize my reputation for combativeness, including episodes of drinking and fighting. The most widely told story concerns a visit to Cuba where I was caught in "a compromising position" with a married woman by her husband. I punched the husband in the eye, leading him to attack me with a butcher knife or machete, requiring Dodgers executive Babe Hamberger to smuggle me in a laundry cart to a seaplane waiting off a wharf in order to escape the country.
And, yes, it's also true that when my RF botched a game-ending fly-ball, resulting in our losing the game, I did send a telegram to my wife, saying, "Pack up your bags and come to Brooklyn, honey. If Winsett can play in the big leagues, it's a cinch you can too."
But today I'm perhaps best known for the 1969 novelty tune by Dan Frishberg titled "Van Lingle Mungo."
I died in 1985. In my obit headline, the NYTimes described me as a "colorful pitcher." I can live (or should I say "die"?) with that. Baseball been very, very good to me!
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