The legendary Casey Stengel with Stan Charnofsky (center) and his brother Hal Charnofsky at Yankee Stadium in 1953.
Who is Stan Charnofsky anyway?
Talk to Stan today, and baseball may occasionally creep into a conversation, such as his encounters with Rod Dedeaux, Casey Stengel and Mickey Mantle.
Stan and his twin brother Hal were stars for Dedeaux — the legendary USC baseball coach who won 11 national titles — in the early 1950s. They made such an impression while playing for the Trojans that in 2009, the twins were on the USC Athletic Hall of Fame ballot together.
Stan Charnofsky had quite the teacher in Dedeaux, a man some consider the greatest coach in college baseball history.
“He was a classic psychologist as a baseball coach, and I tried to copy that,” Stan said. “Rod would say, ‘Hal, you never make a bad throw to your brother to make a double play. You can’t ever. That’s a mental mistake.’ Then he’d come to me and say, ‘Your brother’s going to make bad throws, and you have to make the double play no matter where the throw is. You can never drop that ball. It’s a mental mistake.’”
Stan often gets asked about one particular USC game. The Trojans played the New York Yankees in an exhibition game in 1951, and Mantle, then 19 years old, hit a mammoth home run. In baseball folklore, it was one of the most amazing home runs ever hit, with those who were there estimating it traveled 600 feet or more.
Stan played second base that game.
“A guy called me and asked me about it, and I told him nobody hits the ball 600 feet,” Stan said. “It might have gone 500 feet, which is a massive home run. Or 520 maybe. It went over my head, and it went into the football field on the other side of the fence.”
The Yankees were in the Charnofsky twins’ future. After USC, they signed with the Bronx Bombers and began their professional careers in 1952 with the club’s minor league affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y. The next season, Stan and Hal were given a look by the big league club at Yankee Stadium. They didn’t make the roster, but Stan Charnofsky has a nice memory from his five days almost being a Yankee.
“I have a picture of [Baseball Hall of Fame manager] Casey Stengel, my brother and me. Casey’s scratching his head,” Stan Charnofsky said. “What would he do if he had to tell us apart?”
Psychology later became Stan’s passion, and he began teaching it in fall 1961 at Cal State Northridge. Stan is both a licensed psychologist and published author in the field; it defines much of who he is, and who he is includes being the longest-serving tenured professor at CSUN, where he was also inducted into the Matador Hall of Fame in 2016 for coaching baseball.
But even all those accomplishments were not enough for Stan. He has also written many novels, three for his amateur detective Charlotte.
As part of our “rewards for being a stay-at-home-hero” program, Devil’s Party Press will give away the Kindle version of Charlotte beginning today and lasting for 5 days.
If you need a discount code for a paperback copy instead, contact us @davidyurkovich
Later in the month Stan will read from the book, LIVE IN YOUR LIVING ROOM, and take your questions about murder, Charlotte, psychology, baseball, anything!
Pick up the free Kindle version of Charlotte, or one of Stan’s other books, HERE.
Then pick up a ticket to talk to Stan HERE.
The live event is May 23rd @7:30 EST. Grab a beer and a snack and hang out with Stan.
Stan’s event is free, live, and on ZOOM, but tickets are limited, so get yours today!