Cooperstown Chronicles – Billy Martin
Billy Martin will forever be associated with being fired by George Steinbrenner and his habit of kicking dirt at umpires when he was mad. What he should be remembered for is his ability to win. He won division titles with four different teams (Minnesota, Detroit, the Yankees, and Oakland). He won the A.L. pennant in 1976. He won back-to-back World Series titles with the Yankees in 1977 & 1978. He ranks 31st on the all-time managerial wins list with 1253. His winning percentage was .553. He was named the manager of the year four times.
He even had a few good seasons as a player, winning the Babe Ruth Award (World Series MVP – he went 12 for 24 with 5 runs, 1 double, 2 triples, 2 home runs, and 8 RBI) and making the All Star team in 1956. In all, he won four World Series titles as a player. His fiery temper and drinking hurt him both as a player and a manager. His behavior led to him being traded from the Yankees to the Royals. The Yankees thought he was a bad influence on Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford. Despite his successes as a manager, he would let his words or his fists get out of line, which led to his dismissal. He wasn’t a model citizen or a good role model, but he was a winner. I don’t hold his drinking against him. He obviously had a problem with it. What he did as a player and a manger merit a spot in Cooperstown.
Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)