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Name: Martin, Billy
Card: 1957 Topps #62
Asked why he thought so highly of second baseman Billy Martin as a player, Hall of Fame Manager Casey Stengel said “If liking a kid who never let you down in the clutch is favoritism, then I plead guilty.”
In 1952, Martin’s great catch of an infield popup was credited as being instrumental in winning the World Series for the Yankees. In 1953, Martin’s 23 total bases in the six-game series eclipsed the old record of 19 set by Babe Ruth 30 years earlier. Billy collected 12 hits, including two home runs, two triples, and a double. His 12 hits also tied the mark for a seven-game Series. His .500 batting average, five extra-base hits and two triples tied the record for a six-game Series, and he got the series-winning hit in game 6. He received the Babe Ruth Memorial Award, given to the best player in the Series.
Born in Berkeley, CA, Billy was a scrappy infielder who made considerable contributions to the championship Yankee teams of the 1950’s, including a selection as an AL All-Star in 1956. However, Martin’s greatest contribution was as a Manager.
He began his managerial career with the Minnesota Twins in 1969. He led the club to the American League West title, but was fired after the season. He then was hired by a declining Detroit Tigers franchise in 1971, and led the team to an American League East title in 1972 before being fired by the Tigers late in the 1973 season. He was quickly hired by the Texas Rangers, and turned them for a season (1974) into a winning team, but was fired amid conflict with ownership in 1975. He was almost immediately hired by the Yankees.
As Yankee manager, Martin led the team to consecutive American League pennants in 1976 and 1977; defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games in the 1977 World Series. He returned in 1979, but was fired at season’s end by Steinbrenner. From 1980 to 1982, he managed the Oakland Athletics, earning a division title with an aggressive style of play known as “Billyball”, but he was fired after the 1982 season. He was rehired by the Yankees, whom he managed three more times.
While his fiery temper caused volatility in his career, Billy’s passion, coupled with his tactical genius and knowledge of the game make him one of the best managers of all-time, and beloved by Yankee fans who saw him play and manage. Billy’s interesting, controversial and brilliant career is covered in depth in his official “Yankeeography.”
Billy is part of the Born in San Fran/Oakland/Sacramento Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Billy is also part of the Topps Card Tour – 1957 Topps – Go to the Next Stop
Martin is also part of the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Martin is also part of the MLB Managers Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Billy is part of the All-Star Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Billy is also part of the New York Yankee Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop
See all Billy’s baseball cards at TCDB
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