Was Billy Martin a Hall of Fame Manager?
Not a lot of news today, so why not some links? Here’s one from MLB.com remembering Billy Martin in all of his complicated glory twenty years after his death.
Maybe it’s because he was in his managing heyday when I was introduced to baseball as a kid in the late 70s, but I always thought of Martin as a superstar. He was the Yankees’ manager and the Yankees were the best team in baseball, and that’s all there was to it. Sure, I eventually learned that it was more complicated than that -- he was an outrageously polarizing alcoholic sonofabitch who, while possessing a knack for making teams better by his presence alone, blew up clubhouses and pitchers’ arms in equal measure-- but I was shocked when Martin only got three of the necessary twelve votes from the Veterans’ Committee. If Billy Martin isn’t a Hall of Fame manager, who is?
Since he’s no longer alive, I can’t figure that the vote was some sort of punishment for his personal behavior. What would be the point? I just think that people didn’t think of Martin as as good a manager as I did. And still do. Heck, he even turned the mid-70s Rangers into a winning team the year after they lost 105 games.
Martin may have been an awful person in many respects, but the Hall of Fame is filled with awful people. He’d get my vote if I had one. How about you? Is he worthy?