Friday, November 9, 2012

1983 TOPPS BILLY MARTIN

I WOULDN'T HAVE WANTED
TO MEET HIM IN A DARK ALLEY AT 4 A.M.
NEVER QUITE GOT THE RANGERS OVER THE HUMP.

THE FRONT PAGE

  • This card depicts the tortured soul of Billy Martin, a man who was his own worst enemy. One of my dad's favorites, Martin was an intelligent player and a never-back-down manager with the knack for taking downtrodden teams and turning them into winners. He also had a knack for self-destruction. If I was to guess, I'd say he was the inspiration for Joe Pesci's Mafia characters.

THE BACK PAGE

  • There's a lot of information here: career playing stats, an interesting blurb and managing record. This delivers.

PHOTO PLAY

  • Glassy-eyed. A cross pinned to his cap. The Billy dichotomy.

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • Many remember Billy The Player for his game-saving infield catch in Game 7 of the 1952 World Series, which exhibited his hustle and heads-up play. 
  • I remember Martin The Manager for punching a marshmallow salesman, which punctuated his turbulent Yankee manager years. Punching a marshmallow salesman? I'm sorry, that's still hilarious to me. 
  • As an aside, how do you become a marshmallow salesman and who exactly aspires to become one? 
  • Of course, Martin was a five-time manager of the Yankees, hopelessly addicted to the pinstripes and George Steinbrenner's charms. 
  • Managed 1,253 victories and was at the top of his game in '81 with his hometown "BillyBall'' A's. He added GM duties after that season. With Martin, though, good usually followed bad. Oakland lost 94 games the next year, and he was fired from both positions. This card was outdated when it hit packs that spring. 
  • Of course, Steinbrenner was there to catch him. Martin was hired for the third time in '83, a fourth in '85 and finally a fifth in '88.
  • The Reggie and Billy Show during the Yankee years was more entertaining than pro wrestling. Still remember the NBC Game of the Week in '78 when they almost fought in the dugout. Now that was reality TV.
  • So much to recount about Martin, but I'll leave you with a funny as hell story about him shooting some cows. You know, why don't I let Mickey tell it:



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