Saturday, October 14, 2017

Billy Martin in My Collection

I have a few Billy Martin cards that I thought I would share.  This 1972 card, the infamous middle finger card, has been in my collection for a very long time.  Martin managed the Tigers from 1971-1973, winning the division in 1972.
1972 Topps Billy Martin.
If you read about his time in Detroit, there are some stories, including giving a try-out to future base-stealing champ Ron LeFlore, who was in prison for armed robbery at the time (according to Wikipedia), and encouraging his pitchers to throw spitballs.
1978 Topps Billy Martin.
Of course, while he has managed other teams, and played for a few, he's famous for being the manager of the Yankees, over and over again.  This 1978 card reflects the fact that Martin managed the team in 1977, even winning the World Series.  The next year, he feuded with Reggie Jackson and eventually had to resign; the team went on to win the World Series without him.  His replacement, Bob Lemon, didn't work out, and Martin came back at the end of the 1979 season.  He was fired again during the offseason.
1982 Donruss Billy Martin.
Martin moved on to the A's, his hometown team in a sense (he was from Berkeley, right next to Oakland, although the A's wouldn't have been in Oakland when he was growing up there).  He did well in 1981, although the A's lost the ALCS to the Yankees. 
1983 Topps Billy Martin.
He had less success in 1982, and was fired as A's manager after the 1982 season.
1986 Topps Billy Martin.
Martin returned to the Yankees a few more times.  I remember when George Steinbrenner announced Martin would be manager again for the 1988 season.  It was like a joke that had gone on too long.  He didn't last, going 40-28, a good record to be sure, before being fired mid-season.  He died not too long after, in 1989.
Hygrade All-Time Greats Billy Martin.
I don't have much in my collection to represent Martin as a player, but he is featured in part as a player on the above 1978 Topps card, and I have this Hygrade All-Time Greats card of him.  He won four World Series with the Yankees in the 50s, and seemed to be a competent second baseman for them.

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