Thursday, November 29, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #387 - New York Yankees / Billy Martin

  • Billy Martin started his major league career in 1950 as a second baseman with the New York Yankees. Martin was a favorite of manager Casey Stengel.
  • In 1953 Billy set a record for a six-game World Series with 12 base hits.
  • Martin played for the Yankees until 1957. Several Yankee players were involved in an altercation at the Copacabana nightclub during a celebration of Billy's 29th birthday. Martin was traded to the Kansas City A's on June 15.
  • Billy was heartbroken over being traded from the Yankees. He played for six teams from 1957-1961.
  • After his playing carer Martin went into coaching. He was the third base coach for the 1965 AL pennant-winning Minnesota Twins.
  • In 1966 Martin lost a $100,000 lawsuit brought by pitcher Jim Brewer. Martin had gotten in a fight with Brewer in 1960.
  • After the 1968 season Billy was hired to manage the Twins.
  •  The Twins won the AL West in 1969, but they were swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the AL Championship Series and Martin was fired after the season. Billy flattened one of his pitchers (Dick Bosman) after he had gone after pitching coach Art Fowler. Bosman was upset with Fowler after he had reported to Martin that Bosman hadn't run all of his sprints. Teammate Bob Allison was involved as well and sustained some damage while trying to break things up.
  • Billy was hired to manage the Detroit Tigers in 1971. He ran the club for three years and won the AL East title in 1972. Martin resigned as manager during spring training in 1973 but was talked into returning to the team. In September 1973 the Tigers fired Martin. Martin had been suspended for ordering his pitchers to throw spitballs against the Cleveland Indians in response to Gaylord Perry being "allowed" to throw the spitter.
  • A few days after Martin was fired by the Tigers, he was hired to manage the Texas Rangers. Billy finished the 1973 season and then managed the Rangers to a surprising second place finish in the AL West in 1974 and was named AL Manager of the Year.
  • The Rangers fired Martin in July 1975 after he clashed with owner Brad Corbett over personnel decisions. In August Martin was named the named the manager of the Yankees.
  • Martin had several difficulties with people in his managerial career.
  • The Yankees won the AL Pennant in 1976 but were swept by the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.
  • The 1977 New York Yankees got a lot of ink in the press. They were controversial and they didn't get along well, but they were a great team. The Yankees fought off late season challenges by the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles to win the AL East by 2 1/2 games. The Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals in the AL Championship Series and the LA Dodgers in the World Series to claim their first World Championship since 1962.
Billy and Reggie
  • In 1978 Martin continued to clash with Jackson. He suspended Reggie in July after Jackson had disregarded a bunt sign. Billy quit under pressure in late July but a few days later was hired to manage the club in 1980.
  • The Yankees had a rough year in 1979 and Martin was brought back to manage the team in June. Martin was fired again after the season after he got into an altercation with a marshmallow salesman in a Minnesota bar.
  • The Oakland A's hired Martin to manage the team in 1980. Billy injected new life into the club and the A's finished above .500 in 1980. The A's won the AL East during the 1981 strike season but were knocked out of the playoffs by the Yankees.
  • The A's faltered in 1982 as several pitchers were injured. Billy was fired by the A's after the season. Soon after his firing by the A's, Martin was hired to manage the Yankees again for the 1983 season.
  • During this stint as Yankee manager, Martin was involved in the infamous "Pine Tar Game" when he protested a home run hit by George Brett of the Kansas City Royals. The umpires upheld Martin's protest, which caused a memorable reaction by Brett. Martin was suspended twice during the season for run-ins with umpires. After the 1983 season Martin was transferred to an "adviser" for the Yankees and was replaced as manager by Yogi Berra.
  • In April 1984 Billy spent a few hours in jail for being drunk and disorderly in the front yard of a house. Later that year Martin was acquitted of the charges.
  • Billy became manager of the Yankees again in 1985 after the controversial firing of Yogi Berra. He missed some time while recovering from a punctured lung suffered when he was getting an injection for back spasms. Martin suffered a broken arm during an altercation with pitcher Ed Whitson in a hotel barroom in September. Even with all of these incidents, the Yankees won 97 games and finished second in the AL East.
  • Martin was fired again after the 1985 season. He had demanded a new contract.
  • After broadcasting Yankee games for two years, Martin managed the Yankees again in 1988. Billy didn't make it through the season -- he was fired in June and became a special assistant for George Steinbrenner.
  • Billy was killed in an automobile accident on Christmas Day in 1989.
  • Team Highlights:
    • June 18 - Martin and Reggie Jackson almost come to blows in the dugout during a nationally televised game. Jackson didn't hustle while retrieving a base hit and Martin sent Paul Blair out to replace Reggie in the middle of the inning. Martin came close to losing his job because of the incident and because of feuds with several players, but he survived and finished the season with the club.
    • July 19 - Reggie Jackson is accused by a 13-year-old boy of roughing him up after the All Star Game in New York.
    • Record: 100-62, .617, 1st in AL East, 2 1/2 games ahead of Baltimore and Boston
    • Attendance:  2,103,092 (1st in AL)
    • Team Batting: .281 (2nd in AL)
    • Team HR: 184 (3rd in AL)
    • Team Stolen Bases: 93 (7th in AL)
    • Team ERA: 3.61 (3rd in AL)
    • Team Fielding: .979 (3rd in AL)
    • All Stars: Willie Randolph (starting 2B), Reggie Jackson (starting RF), Thurman Munson (C), Graig Nettles (3B), Sparky Lyle (P)
    • Awards: Sparky Lyle (Cy Young Award), Graig Nettles (Gold Glove - 3B)
    • AL Leaders: Don Gullett (Winning Percentage - .778); Sparky Lyle (games - 72)
    • Batting Leader: Lou Piniella (.330)
    • Home Run Leader: Graig Nettles (37)
    • RBI Leader: Reggie  Jackson (110)
    • Stolen Base Leader: Mickey Rivers (22)
    • Victories Leader: Ed Figueroa / Ron Guidry (16)
    • Losses Leader: Mike Torrez (12)
    • Strikeout Leader: Ron Guidry (176)
    • Saves Leader: Sparky Lyle (26)
    • ERA Leader (starters): Ron Guidry (2.82)
    • ERA Leader (relievers): Sparky Lyle (2.12)
    • Players who could have had Yankees cards in 1977 (batters with over 100 AB, pitchers with over 40 innings) :
      • Cliff Johnson (pictured with the Houston Astros) - .296, 12 HR, 31 RBI in 56 games
      • Paul Blair (pictured with the Baltimore Orioles) - .262, 4 HR, 25 RBI in 82 games
      • Mike Torrez (pictured with the the Oakland A's) - 14-12, 3.82 ERA in 31 starts
      • Ken Clay - 2-3, 4.57 ERA in 21 games (3 starts)

1 comment:

  1. No shortage of stuff to write about concerning the 1977 Yankees. Just a correction, it was Dave Boswell not Dick Bosman (who was with the Senators at the time) that Martin got in a fight with in 1969.